Grapevine & Wine 03/10/2011

The ancient Saint Laurent vine has been recovered

Cited even by Goethe, this variety characterized by a fruity aroma of sour cherry arrived in Trentino, Italy, from Austria during the second half of the nineteen-century

The researchers of the Edmund Mach foundation of San Michele all’Adige completed another successful recovery of an ancient vine of Trentino. After the Casetta, Lagarino, Verdealbara and the last reborn Maor and Paolina, now also the Saint Laurent, known there as San Lorenzo, once present in Valsugana and valle di Cembra, has been recovered and it is now ready to be cultivated. This is now possible because of the registration of the variety in the National Registry of vine varieties for wine making (D.M. 22nd of April 2011) and the consequent publication of the decree on the Gazzetta Ufficiale number 170 and the provincial law that allowed the cultivation of Saint Laurent and of the other varieties recovered by San Michele.

The researchers of the project for the genetic improvement of vines of the San Michele research and innovation Institute, actively involved in sampling the data for the registration, showed their satisfaction. With Saint Laurent, the number of vines they contributed to recover is now 19.

Cited even by Goethe in Ampelografhie in 1887, this variety characterized by a fruity aroma of sour cherry arrived in Trentino from Austria during the second half of the nineteen-century. As Marco Stefaninin and Tiziano Tomasi say, “however in Trentino it had a quite limited diffusion. At the end of the nineteen-century the production was around 7,000 hectoliters of wine. The name is derived from the feast of Saint Laurence, the 10th of August, which normally marks the beginning of the maturation. The Institute San Michele introduced this variety in the high areas of the Valsugana and Valle d’Isarco valleys in 1871, with excellent results. The areas in which it lasted until recently were the Cembra and the Valsugana valleys.”

At the moment it is cultivated in some vineyards in Valsugana. Saint Laurent is a strong variety that sprouts quite early; it presents a big and round grape with a medium thickness dark blue skin. It withstands very well the winter temperatures and shows a pronounced resistance to downy and powdery mildews. Saint Laurent is particularly indicated for the production of fresh red wines, with a sour cherry aroma and intense and fruity organoleptic characteristics. The resulting wines are characterized by a medium body and alcohol content, strong consistence and medium acidity. This vine is suited for the production of both new and medium aged still red wines.

In 1990 the Mach foundation realized a dedicated experimental vineyard in San Michele, where they tested the growing and productive behavior of the Saint Laurent vine, and its resistance to parasites like downy mildew, powdery mildew and Botrytis cinerea. The production rate and total amount, the fertility of the buds, the number of grapes, the sugar content, total acidity and polyphenols were also assessed. The researchers produced since the first harvests very limited wine quantities that where presented on several occasions at professional tastings with winemakers and producers.

di R. T.