2009 Juris Saint Laurent Selection
As a sales rep, you never know what to expect when you taste with an account for the first time. Fortunately, my first tasting this past week with Prima Ristorante & Wine Merchants in Walnut Creek, CA was a pleasant surprise. John Rittmaster, Wine Director and Owner, has been with the restaurant and adjoining wine shop since 1994. He has developed one of the most dynamic wine lists in the area. A well respected palate, to say the least. I was pleased when he and his partner Frank Rothstein got excited about our ’09 St. Laurent from Juris, one of our Austrian producers based in Gols, Burgenland. John was so impressed that he passed along the write up below that he sent to his customer base. Thanks John for allowing us to use your wonderful post. Cheers!
“Want to know how we wine merchants spend our own hard-earned dollars? Here’s a wine that I can guarantee you will find in all of our own cellars.
Winemaker Axel Stieglmar
Saint Laurent (Sankt Laurent locally) is one of those grapes you typically have to experience in situ, maybe from a pitcher, ever so slightly chilled, alongside one of those oversized schnitzels you can get for a few Euros in one of Vienna’s many outdoor dining establishments. It’s grown throughout Burgenland and the Niederosterreich in Austria and across the border in what’s now the Czech Republic where it is believed to have originated, perhaps as a rogue clone of Pinot Noir. St. Laurent is also known as one of the parents (along with Blaufrankisch) of the now-better-known hybrid grape Zweigelt. Identity crisis notwithstanding, there isn’t much St. Laurent exported, and what is, is often relegated to the bottom of the importer’s roster after the far more popular Austrian varieties of Gruner-Veltliner, Riesling and Zweigelt. But we recently tasted a St. Laurent right here in America that got our attention- big time- from one of the variety’s acknowledged masters, Juris.
Frank, our Sommelier and Northern European wine specialist, and I, at the same time, compared Juris’ unoaked, beautifully nuanced St. Laurent to a fine Cabernet Franc from the Loire Valley, like a great Chinon. There’s a dark, grapy snap to the wine that helps set off its amazing array of violet, peppercorn, black earth and cardamom aromas in sharp relief. On the palate it has ample weight and succulence but will always stand out more for its impressive zip on the finish. We loved the idea of serving this cellar temperature with a simple roast but agreed we can’t wait for a warm spring day with which to chill it off a bit and serve it with braised sausages and lentils or anything with wild mushrooms. The bottom line is that this is very, very delicious.”
Pallets at the Juris Estate waiting to be shipped
By the way: The JURIS St. Laurent Selection is also on the wine list by-the-glass at Edi and the Wolf, THE Austrian Heuriger (bistro) in New York.