I wrestle with what to include/exclude on our menu of
drinking options. There are so many
wonderful wines, brews and spirits. I
see the list changing often and with emphasis on the more limited production
and owner operated products. This alone
is worthy of its own post.
My time at Pike & Western wine shop and their new sister,
Soul Wine, helped open my palate in ways I can never repay. I often rely upon recommendations from their
spirited team to introduce me to the latest and greatest.
Meet the 2009 Sattler St. Laurent from Burgenland, retails
for around $20 +/-. I had never heard of
Burgenland before this wine and I couldn’t be happier to know such a place
exists after trying it. Burgenland is
Austria’s most Eastern province and joined the Republic only in 1921. Before that, they were under Hungarian
administration and referred to as “Western Hungary” or “Vierburgenland”, that
means four castle land.
Erich Sattler is part of a fourth generation winemaking
family taking the helm around 1999. If
you’re ever in the neighborhood and want to visit them check out http://www.erichsattler.at/Default.aspx
A bit about the grape: St. Laurent is a highly aromatic dark-skinned wine grape from the same family as Pinot Noir, originating in France. It is the most widely planted red variety in the Czech Republic. In Austria, it is primarily found in the regions of Niederosterreich and Burgenland. A small quantity is also grown in New Zealand and the varietal is also finding a small foothold in Canada.
The wines are part of the Terry Theise Collection and his
write up was too priceless not to share…
“Three days’ bottled when I saw it, but its juicy velvety
texture was lovely and the sweet plum fruit gives a forthright tasty wine
with substance and discretion. Though the texture is almost creamy, the
quality of fruit is dry and leans in the Mourvedre direction.
I had a jar of some truffle goop and wanted to make use of
it. Then I thought of Bouloud’s black-truffle and foie burger, and I
thought I too can be decadent, so we got some ground veal and made us some
slutty patties with the truffle stuff, and just to totally gild the lily
we stuffed a pat of Dartagnan black truffle butter in the middle of each,
tomelt as the burgers cooked. Oh yeah baby, it tastes as good as it
sounds – and the wine to drink with it is precisely, absolutely specifically
and particularly a “basic” St. Laurent, assuming you can’t find a decent basic Chorey-Les-Beaune,
or would rather pay half its price.
The bigger “reserve” St. Laurent would have too much fruit,
and maybe oak would show, and these wicked little burgers don’t need all
that mojo – they have their own. What they need is a yummy wine that knows
how to be a straight-man and let the food get the laughs.
We’re all insanely busy stretching towards the stellar; we
really got to rawk the carafe, but if I stand for anything in this lil’
wine-life of mine, it is to insist we learn to cherish wines of modesty.
It will make us more kind. It will help us understand the beauty of the
humble. It will save us money!
I have a fantasy that somewhere up on a stage, some international wine
mega-star, Guigal comes to mind, is getting a big ostentatious trophy for
attaining an average “score” of 98.3 points for his $300+ wines, but back
in the big general tasting they’re cleaning up, and a guy approaches some
Rhône grower whose $12 Cotes-du-Rhône gave him pleasure, and he says to
the grower, “Thank you for this wine, it makes me happy.” No question
in my mind where I’d rather be, and who I’d rather be.