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15 February 2006

St. Laurent's Lizard

No, this isn't a "white salamander situation."

I have a feeling that had I visited Zantho's Website before sampling its wine, I still would have been drawn to this Austrian outfit. You see, contra annoying wine consultant in Mondovino (micro-oxygenate!), the folks at Zantho tell us that they macro-oxygenate.  So there.

Actually, what initially drew me to Zantho was its bottling of St. Laurent. Until a few days ago, I had yet to taste this Austrian native. Some have posited that this red grape is related to Pinot Noir. However, upon further review, the consensus seems to be that St. Laurent aint no Pinot relative. Saint L is most commonly grown in two Austrian wine regions: Lower Austria and Burgenland. How does it taste? Let me tell you..

The Skinny
Zanthostl Zantho St. Laurent 2003 ($13-$15)

  • Inky, dense purple in color
  • Mighty youthful from my nose's perspective. Scents of black & red cherry, blueberry and some black pepper. Nothing wrong with a little youthful exuberance
  • In the mouth, Zantho is quite well-mannered. It's medium-bodied (13% alcohol) with just-barely-noticeable tannins and crisp acidity. The dominant flavor is a fresh fruity-spicy combo that doesn't go overboard. Some say the wine is Pinot-like.  I, however, was reminded of a young Rhône blend.  Either way, it's tasty

Overall, this is a very versatile wine that paired perfectly with homemade chicken kiev (some chicken kiev hints: use Panko, lightly toast the Panko beforehand, bake the chicken on an elevated baking rack, hide some bacon in the chicken).

And by the way, there's a lizard on the bottle.

*Although, "The White Salamander Situation" would be a killer band name. Remember, when TWSS tops the charts, you heard it here first.

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Love the grape.
Must know.


Actually, there is some rhyme & reason to the lizard. From Zantho's site:

"The “zootoca vivipara pannonica”, or Pannonian woodland lizard is found above all in the Hansag nature reserve located to the south of Andau. Being a cold-blooded animal, its preferred habitat is the warm, stony soil of the vineyards of Andau, a preference it shares with our foremost grape, the Zweigelt.

We have chosen this genus of lizard to be our symbol of origin and of our nature-friendly cultivation of the vineyards. An ecologically-sound approach to vineyard work not only stimulates the growth of the vines, it preserves the habitat of numerous animals and microorganisms."

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