WineSmith Saint Laurent 3-Pack
Sold by: Winston Winery
$54.99 $123.00 55% off List Price
2014 WineSmith Saint Laurent, Ricci Vineyard, Carneros, Sonoma County
Here’s a continuation of my fascinating St. Laurent project. Although French in origin, its tight cluster makes it more suited to drier continental climates such as Austria and the Czech Republic. It’s a fascinating grape to work with, with amazingly plush, dense, soft tannins and complex flavors. It ripens very early (thus it’s namesake, who was martyred on August 10th) and this has wonderfully low alcohol when ripe.
In this second year working with Dale Ricci’s Carneros fruit, I opted to bring out more brightness in the nose through whole cluster techniques and abandoning the lees stirring we did in 2013, which I thought suppressed the wine’s fruit. Since 2014 was a cooler year, we also have a bit more acidity. I think it’s a real upgrade from 2013, but the style is certainly a little different, and some of you may prefer the 2013. I’m eager to hear from our Lab Rats about comparing the two vintages.
2014 WineSmith Saint Laurent
Clark was kind enough to send a bottle of this to me for sampling purposes.
PnP, the wine is deep purple in the glass with good clarity and no legs to speak of when swirled.
Black cherry, clover and dandelion on the nose. I remember the previous vintage as being fairly herbaceous and it seems like this is shaping up similarly.
I presume incorrectly as there is far less herbaceousness on the palate than there is on the nose. The wine is fruit forward - with black cherry, freshly-picked plum, cranberry and hints of clover. Juicy mouthfeel contributes to the fruit forward profile as well. Food friendly acidity and a clean, medium finish help make this an easy drinking wine.
I would say that the 2014 is more immediately accessible than the 2013 was. I liked the previous vintage once my palate became acclimated to it but I liked the current vintage right away due to the juicy, fruit-forward flavor profile. There is very little (if at all?) oak influence and tannins are very light but noticeable.
Overall the 2014 is similar to the 2013 in a lot of ways but the small differences make it the superior vintage, IMO. Crowd pleasing quaffability, food friendly style and fruit upfront with the herbaceousness as a complementary attribute rather than a nearly equal partner.
If you liked the previous vintage you will probably like this one even more. If you didn’t like the previous vintage, you should give it another try! If you have never tried a Saint Laurent, what are you waiting for?
2014 WineSmith Saint Laurent
Answering the doorbell at 6:30pm at 20 degrees on this winter evening, I noticed a UPS driver shivering his ass off on my porch, holding a box that contained a surprise bottle of Clark’s Winesmith 2014 St. Laurent…yay! I was so excited as I’ve uncorked three bottles of his 2013 St. Laurent during this last year to great feedback from novice to professional wine connoisseurs alike!
Upon the pour, the wine filled the large bordeaux glass with not only garnet/burgundy red juice, but a burst of floral awesomeness that my wife described as early summer in a glass (at least early summer here in the Pacific Northwest). Note: The 2013 was more inky in appearance with violet tones, both attributes not apparent here; similar nose…I prefer this new approach/vintage.
After sitting for twenty minutes, the juice was still exploding with ripe plum, candied cherry, cedar shaving and a super rich, mexican vanilla;…but still deeply floral in all respects.
It seems this wine was harvested relatively early as it had more of a Pinot Noir structure…but make no mistake, it was more than your typical PN. A slightly dry yet velvety smooth finish on the tongue made it difficult to not immediately pour another large sip past your lips. It was easy to drink with hardly a hot zone to speak of (12.6% al/vol), but instead delivered the bouquet of floral fruit directly up your orifices.
Due to poor meal planning in general, we happened to be in leftover food consumption mode this particular evening and started with a slightly smoked provolone with krispy saltine crackers. Dinner’s main course was simply a grilled turkey sandwich with a mixture of sharp cheddar and a little of the smoked provolone and spicy arugula. This wine is definitely a food wine…everything tasted great before and after! Note: Last time I uncorked a bottle of the 2013, it was with about eight wine snobs at a high end Thai restaurant…again, awesome pairing.
I highly recommend this wine, especially if you haven’t heard of it before…it’s a great discovery! I’ve only had one other St. Laurent wine and it was from the Okanogan Valley on the Canadian side of the border…not even close to the quality or artfulness that went into crafting this wine.
Thank you Clark and Mike for the opportunity to taste and report back on this wonderful wine. My wife, who is actually a tequila kinda gal said, “You should order a bunch of this”, which I will.
p.s. I listened to Maggie Rogers album Blood Ballet including her singles Alaska and Dog Years while imbibing…thought it went pretty well!
I never have tried this, maybe I will listen to Chip. Maybe I can get in on some future lab testing, hint hint. This sounds pretty awesome, especially for appx $20/btl.
Since this grape is an unknown for many, I thought I’d include another review by Dwight Furrow of Three Quarks Daily, a wonderful wine and food scribe and Professor of Philosophy at Mesa College in San Diego. (I particularly like his blood orange descriptor.)
My junior partner and assistant winemaker Mike Faulk and I made this wine together and split it into two bottlings from the same tank. Dwight’s review is of Mike’s Engracia label - same wine. Mike may woot his later on, so you may be able to reload then.
[LABRAT]2014 Winesmith St Laurent
PnP: light ruby in color, nose is fragrant right away with dense herbal dark fruit. reminds me of an Oregon Pinot in a lean year. Palate is a bit tart with red fruit, light body. Slight mineral buzz on the cheek. The tartness reminds me of cran-raspberry.
After 10 minutes the nose has opened up a bit and has an added unsweetened dark chocolate note. palate is already calming down as the acid lets up and the body picks up a little heft. Finish is medium in length and has a nice mouthwatering acid. Also getting minor hints of maybe white pepper and clove.
This wine went well with food due to the acid. As time went on started getting dark fig and plum on the palate, followed by some dark cherry on the finish.
Day 2 was mostly unchanged, but I preferred the fruit slightly better day 1. Finished is medium + to long now and still mouthwatering.
Overall I really enjoyed this. I enjoy leaner pinots, and if someone gave me this wine blind I would have guessed Oregon Pinot.
Interested to hear what others thought as well. I haven’t had the 2013 in a notetaking situation, so I can’t compare/contrast.
You guys got me, geez.
Well that answers one of the questions I had! I was thinking it would have been great to do a side-by-side wooting of the two had they been different.
2014 Winesmith St. Laurent
Due to a random mishap I was lucky enough to have a bottle of this arrive yesterday and five of us sampled it tonight.
Interestingly enough, molarchae and I recently went tasting through Burgenland, Austria plus plenty of sampling in Vienna and Bratislava. Sankt Laurent (along with Blaufrankish and Zweigelt) made frequent appearances. Those and the 2013 vintage of this wine give me a bit of context for this grape.
I will state up front that I think I am one of the minority that enjoyed the 2013 more than this vintage. Probably for the same reason that more people are going to prefer the 2014 - it’s more laden with fruit. This is also what distinguishes this version from those made in Austria/Slovakia - they just don’t get this kind of density of fruit over there for dry reds.
I agree with trifecta that this in some ways reminds me of a lighter side Oregon Pinot Noir, but it’s still got more of the woodsy characteristics I associate with this grape than Pinot.
We had some initial fun with this also, as one of the glasses showed a nose that was overwhelmingly fruity while the others came across as more balanced between the fruit and herb notes. I much preferred the more balanced version. Both tasted roughly the same, however. Lots of red fruit that has darkened somewhat over the evening into more of a bright plum. Plenty of acidity that keeps your mouth watering. Medium finish that helps bring out the woodsy and herbaceous notes. And yes…like last years, if I wait long enough there is a hint of basil on the finish as well.
For me, if I have a glass that doesn’t make this put out overwhelming fruit, this is a great wine. Surprisingly good pairing with onion rings - this cut the oil nicely while the onion actually did something for the wine too.
This is a buy again…not sure how many sets. Nice alternative to a cool climate or rustic Pinot Noir if you’re in to that sort of thing.
For most of my wines, I follow what I was taught in Bordeaux, that acidity is the enemy of good tannin mouthfeel. This is because astringency is caused by the reaction of the tannins with salivary protein, so the less acidity you have, the less saliva comes into the mouth to neutralize it, so you end up with softer, more refined texture. If you acidify a Cabernet, for example, it gets much harsher.
But St. Laurent has such plush, soft “enrobed” tannins already that its acidity doesn’t have this effect. Instead, you have the nice penetrating and palate cleansing effects you get with white wines. Beaujolais behaves this way too. Combine this with its low alcohol and you have a perfect quaffable food wine.
We were part of the Klezman tasting group. We were excited to try a varietal we had not tried (or heard of) before. The color was a beautiful deep red and the aroma was a pleasant combination of some cranberry and herb notes.
I think Trifecta and Klez are right on point that this could be mistaken for a light Oregon pinot noir. I didn’t find it extremely fruit forward and thought it was balanced with a good structure and not tannin-y (as we call it). RHWMBO thought it was more fruit forward than I did. We both thought it got better as it sat in the glass for a while and enjoyed the second glass more than the first. I think Trifecta’s pairing with dark chocolate would have been a good one also. We had it with various empanadas and onion rings (yes, odd combination). All in all, it was a nice introduction to a new varietal for us and Wine Smith never disappoints.
2014 Winesmith St. Laurent
Up north from SD with the larger SoCal gang while attending classes at JPL this and next week created a bit of a shift in plans for a shipped bottle from WS to rat, so a replacement ended up headed off to Klez.
Thought this was going live tomorrow night, and then found it was this evening; another change of plans…
So, a bit late to the party with notes after returning to the Holiday Hotel, and find it difficult to add much more.
I pulled the cork, very light color as one might expect, and was greeted with a nose of fruit. The bottle sat for ~30 minutes or so before we poured a glass. Mine, first pour, initially had a bit of good funk, but that blew off after a few minutes leaving that nice, but for me a bit nondescript, fruit others have better described and reminded me of the earlier '13 vintage.
Entry was pleasant, and aerating it produced a warm full mouth with a nice tinge of acidity lacking any ethanol burn. The fruit seemed to constantly evolve, both short and long term, and I kept going back for additional in an attempt to quantify the flavors, well described as a lighter PN with a lot of pigment.
This did well with both the mozzarella-tomato-basil and lamb empanadas I had as well as the caprese salad. A versatile bottle.
While not the first sucker, the last word sums up my impressions:
Last Wooter to Woot:
What is the drinking window on this
Nice to see so many rats reporting on this one.
In preparation for today’s woot, we enjoyed a bottle of our 2013 last night (our next to last bottle!), and confirmed that’d if the 2014 was anything like the '13, we’re in. The ‘soft tannnin’ description was very apt for the 2013, and it is delightfully different-- this really should be a more popular grape. We’re just glad to have Clark hooking us up.
Looking forward to trying out the new vintage. For those who haven’t ordered yet, don’t miss out.
I’m not experienced with the aging potential for St. Laurent. I believe the Austrians seem both to drink them fairly young and to age them extensively, while in Prague, it is offered as a substitute for Cabernet Sauvignon.
Austrian Wine says: "St. Laurent delivers dark, sturdy and fruity red wines with morello cherry notes. They are of high quality and have good ageability. "
I certainly think the wine will shed its youthful funk with a little bottle age, and the acidity is likely to integrate and smooth out. The tannins are already so well resolved that there’s not much need for softening, but on the other hand, they are so well formed that there seems no danger of drying out for a very long time. The trade-off will be a tamping down of its bright, juicy youthful edge, replaced with something more civilized and sophisticated.
Cruising the web, I find the following:
Wine Monger: “The St. Laurent sports juicy berries, velvety tannins and it is often quite mouth-filling. Its color leans towards a deep, dark red. St. Laurent wines tend to be fruity and multi-layered, and with just a little bit of age, a St. Laurent wine can develop an exceptionally smooth texture. However, it is the wine’s bright sour-cherry aromas and flavors, which are typically offset by subtle tartness, that has its fans raving.”
any chance we can work out a way to ship this to NJ? thanks!
I believe that St. Laurent is not a cross, but a natural seedling of Pinot Noir. Most people don’t realize that the seeds in a tank of any variety such as, say, Pinot Noir, are not themselves Pinot Noir, but rather its children. They can exhibit a wide variety of characteristics, with improvements quite rare, about one in 1,000. Because grapes don’t breed true, we propagate them from cuttings. So you could say that a vast vineyard is really all the same vine, chopped up and replanted.
In general, the flowers of domesticated grape flowers contain both male and female parts so they can fertilize themselves. This hermaphroditic property is very convenient for viticulture, because fruiting is not dependent on insects, wind and proximity to other-sex plants.
From time to time, breeders will dissect flowers and introduce the pollen of other varieties, plant the seeds and look for useful new varieties. This is incredibly tedious and expensive work. Famous examples include Cabernet Sauvignon, with Cab Franc as the father and Sauvgnon Blanc as the mother, crossed by an unknown Francais about 300 years ago, and Petite Sirah, crossed by a guy named Duriff around 1880 from Syrah on Peloursin.
St. Laurent was crossed onto Blaufräankisch to obtain the newly popular Austrian variety Zweigelt.
Well, I was banned from the so cal gathering but had the previous vintage. Loved it.
WineSmith Saint Laurent (3)
Speed to first woot: 1m 9.554s
First sucker: catcoland
Last wooter to woot: losthighwayz
Last purchase: a few seconds ago