Wines that Rock: Saint Laurent - A high fashion take on wine
In a never-ending search for something amazing, something that will blow my mind, or something that will put everything that has come before it behind me, I came across a little known Austrian / Czech wine called Saint Laurent. Could it be? Have I finally found the wine that would put Pinot Noir in the past? Have I found a high fashion alternative to Burgundy?
It makes sense to think of Saint Laurent in a similar light to Pinot Noir, seeing as the two are very closely related. The grape is shrouded in mystery, but it is believed that its parentage is derived from Pinot Noir. It is a light-bodied red wine with a beautiful aroma and a vibrant taste of dark cherries. Saint Laurent wines are easy to drink, refreshing, but also have this refined and sophisticated quality that just seems to put them on a whole new level.
A bespoke wine for discerning tastes
You really need to take Saint Laurent out of the context of Pinot Noir, maybe stop comparing it to the magnificent Pinots of Burgundy, and start to appreciate it on its own. The wines are super rare, making up just 1,960 acres of vineyards in its native Austria. It may Austria's third most planted red variety (behind Zweigelt and Blaufränkisch) but it feels like a distant third. There are very few winemakers who want to work with this grape, but that number is increasing due to its increasing demand around the world. But the grape needs great attention to detail, and the careful guidance of a master winemaker who knows how to bring out the best in the grape. It can be demanding to grow and fussy to manage, but this has inspired a think tank who gather to share its secrets.
Those who know how to handle Saint Laurent are richly rewarded for it, as are those of us who manage to stumble across these rare creatures. They exude an elegance akin to a high fashion house. Not a brand focused on churning out massive amounts of different pieces all baring the same dull pattern, but something bespoke. Perhaps these wines are bespoke. They seem almost tailored to those with a discerning palate. Not for those who demand more, but for those who appreciate the finesse, the fine craft, and the attention to detail.
To me, Saint Laurent has been a wine of affirmation. Each sip made me feel as if I had stepped off of Saville Row in a suit cut to my form and specifications. Fine cloth expertly tailored by experienced hands. Nothing brash, over the top, I'm not a peacock after all, but sharp, simple, and striking. Saint Laurent is not over the top, but it is still refined and elegant. It is a wine that shows you care about the little things, the details, with its wonderful aroma and complexity that sways between spicy and fruity. In expert hands, there is probably no wine in the world that is better put together, or as rewarding, as Saint Laurent.
Wines to try
Forlorn Hope Ost Intrigen Saint Laurent is something worth seeking out. Matthew Rorick has a knack for making exceptional wines from rare grapes. His wines under the Forlorn Hope label are a collection of fine and rare pieces that show their exquisite nature in very careful detail. His Saint Laurent from a rare planting in California is one such wine that feels like a rare silk imported from lands far away that have come into a new realm of taste and fashion.
Of course we cannot mention Saint Laurent and leave out Austrian wines. That would be a sin. Schloss Gobelsburg has always made an exceptional Reserve Saint Laurent. It brings together everything you desire from a red wine into an elegant package. It is simply delicious, and a great introduction to the world of bespoke, couture wine.