"Die Lorenzitraube" made its way into Austria from France via Alsace and Germany in the mid 1860s. The name comes from Saint Lawrence’s day, the 10th of August, at which point the grapes become edible—so, it’s an early-ripener.
Certainly it is a very demanding grape, and one which is frequently mistreated by growers who attempted to wring it into shape by means of the French barrique. Recent ampelographic research is divided—one school of thought claims St Laurent to be a spontaneous crossing of Pinot Noir with an unidentified partner, but there is another side which attempts to refute the pinot connection. Sensitive to frost and liable to millerandange (shot berries), St Laurent is happiest on limestony ground, and produces variable yields, though rarely bountiful.
This is not a bad thing. These darkly-colored wines are characterized by a wildly fresh sour-cherry aromatic, coupled with high extract and solid tannins. A good example will show a certain degree of pinot-character, but with an angular edge to it, and more a bit of sass.
According to the excellent website of the Austrian Wine Marketing Board, plantations of Sankt Laurent are in decline. That’s too bad…