2018 Filomena Wine Company, St. Laurent, Ricci Vineyards, Carneros.
Morgan Twain-Peterson MW is not only turning out amazing wines at his Bedrock Wine Co. in Sonoma, he is also turning out to a launching pad for great young winemakers, like Cody Rasmussen who’s Desire Lines Wine Co. made a huge splash last year and now Luke Nio and this Filomena Wine Co. label, which looks set to be one of this years big hits, especially after trying his latest offering, this beautiful and intriguing St. Laurent. This wine made from this rare Austrian red grape was sourced from the Ricci Vineyard in the clay based soils of Carneros that allow loads of expressive fruit to flow on the medium bodied palate and the cool marine climate keeps a nice freshness and detail to shine here, making for a dark and flavorful wine with smooth tannins and a supple mouth feel with delicate spice, earth and mineral notes. Led by a deep purple/ruby color and a seductive nose of florals and crushed vine berries the Filomena St. Laurent flows with blackberry, mulberry, plum, candied sour cherry and tart blueberry fruits along with black olive, a faint bell pepper, cedar and minty herbs, all of these layers and light elements give this wine a profile somewhere between Pinot Noir and Cabernet Franc, but with a expressive carbonic openess that is like Gamay and or Barbera, it’s a brilliant example of this grape and a wildly fun wine. This tasty stuff with go great with loots of foods and can be slightly chilled like a Cru Beaujolais, but is serious and structured too allowing it to stand out for its personality and quality, this is a new winery to watch, with this wine being a great value too, Luke also does a powerful Syrah from Griffin’s Lair Vineyard, which I’ll write about soon.

Nio has really crafted a super little wine here using about 50% whole cluster and the mentioned carbonic maceration, with a natural indigenous yeast fermentation in tank which allows this wine to deliver its forward and vibrant fruity quality, while staying dry, fresh and tangy with a light stemmy crunch. The Filomena Wine Co. St. Laurent was then aged, as Nio notes, half in a stainless steel barrel and half in a neutral 400L French oak puncheon for 9 months before going to his bottles. When you think of cool and alternative grapes you now have another one to check out, this wine joins the likes of Arnot-Roberts Trousseau, Martha Stoumen’s Nero d’Avola, Sheldon Wines’ Graciano, Sandland’s Cinsault, Russell Joyce’s Gamay, Michael Cruse’s Tannat (note he also does a St. Laurent sparkler from this vineyard), Jaimee Motely’s Mondeuse and Pax Mahle’s Mission (Pais) to name a few. St. Laurent, the third most popular varietal in Austria plus also found in the Czech Republic and Germany is one of the parent grapes along with Blaufrankisch of Zweigelt. The St. Laurent which is planted widely in Austria, but is hard to find a stand out version and especially in recent years has taken a backseat to the more serious Blaufrankisch (also known as Lemberger in Germany and interestingly in Washington State), but St. Laurent looks to have a new champion here with Nio, and this wine is absolutely delicious. As noted, St. Laurent also known as in German as Sankt Laurent is a highly aromatic dark-skinned wine grape variety and while Its origins are somewhat mysterious, it is believed to have resulted from a (maybe natural?) crossing of Pinot noir with an unknown second parent grape. There’s not much of Filomena’s St. Laurent, so be sure to get on their mailing list and get their latest releases as soon as you can!
($24 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

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