We like a good business model innovation here at From The Producer. There’s just something we like about having a go at changing the status quo and finding an alternative way of doing things that seems to ring true with us for some reason (can’t think of any reason why). To this ends, we are thrilled to welcome a very different type of producer; The Story Wines.
The story of The Story wines is very different indeed. The traditional story goes something along the lines of “Joe Blogs the Chemist/Engineer/Doctor/Lawyer falls in love with XYZ wine and has a dream of starting his/her own thing. They sell the house in the city, buy a small plot of land in a wine growing region, plant some vines and start making wine”. Well, the story of The Story couldn’t be further from this. Founder, winemaker, marketer and proprietor, Rory Lane has none of the typical attributes of a wine brand founder. He has no family connection to wine, he didn’t study Oenology (winemaking) or Viticulture, he’s not old and wealthy and he isn’t even a sommelier or such from “the trade”. In fact, he owns no vineyards, doesn’t have a cellar door or a big fancy winery and he makes all his wine in the suburbs of Melbourne – how different can you get?
The innovation and guile it has taken Rory to get The Story off the ground is one thing, but it’s the quality of the wines themselves that’s the real talking point. Rory’s aim is to bring wines into the world that have personality driven by the stories that surround the people involved in the process; hence the name. The wines are made from predominantly Grampians and Henty fruit from growers who Rory has established close working relationships with over the years. I have been watch the evolution of The Story for many years now so it’s fabulous to introduce you to some of these difficult to find and highly regarded wines.
The Story “R. Lane Vitners Westgate Vineyard” Shiraz 2014 ($75) – Usually when I do a producer review, I start with the whites and work my way up to the big guns at the end, but in this case I’m going to drop the bomb right off the cuff. This first time release represents the pinnacle of winemaking and fruit quality for The Story. Recently having taken out a spot in James Suckling’s (wine critic and writer for the worlds largest wine publication, Wine Spectator) Top 100 Australian wines of 2016, this fantastic release had me intrigued from the first moment I first saw it. It’s a full and rich wine on the nose with that unmistakable interest of whole bunch evident from the get-go. Savoury fruit, herbs and violets. I found it a bit full on when I first opened it; a bit like a colt at the gates. It really settled into its groove and was still running very strongly through blueberries, blackberries, black pepper, cloves and spice well into its second day open. Terrific wine and one for the cellar for sure – 96+points (will get better with time)
The Story Grampians Shiraz 2014 ($29) – This is a belter of a release of the Grampians Shiraz. Has world beating quality stamped all over it and at this price….. it’s just such a good proposition. I opened this late in the night at our Summer Drinking session this year and it was a BIG hit with the crowd. Coming from three great sites in the Grampians, this wine is quite simply GORGEOUS. Nice carry and great balance of spice and sweet blooded fruit. My wine of the night and one of my finds of the year truth be told, there’s no possible way you could regret a 6-pack purchase of this wine. It’s great now but will improve with a few years – 95 points
The Story Port Campbell Pinot Noir 2014 ($29) – Another well priced little gem here. With fruit coming from a tiny, unirrigated, isolated vineyard inland from the 12 Apostles in south western Victoria. Has a really inviting nose of jubey raspberry and boysenberry. It’s quite a lovely wine and one that I think a mother in law who doesn’t drink red wine would really get into. Such a great wine for just sipping and enjoying. Go on, grab a couple – 92 points
The Story Marsanne Grenache Rose 2015 ($28) – A very different style of Rose we have here. Atypical in that it’s not as straight forward and just plain forgettable as many Roses can be. It’s barrel fermented and aged on lees, giving a complex nose with very slight sherry-like character. This continues on the palate with a wine of great texture and interest. Definitely a rose looking to say something – 92 points
The Story Westgate Vineyard Marsanne Roussanne Viognier 2015 ($30) – Not a blend that many Australians are familiar with but one of the great white wine blends of the world. Classic examples hail from the Rhone Valley in France and every time I have one I remind myself to drink more of it…. and then promptly forget because we see soo little of it here down under. I loved this wine. It’s rich and complex and nothing like anything we usually see. I’d love this with a whole fish on a bed of buttered greens. Delicious – 94 points
The Story Whitlands Riesling 2015 ($29) – I haven’t personally tasted this yet so will refer to the tasting note: “From a 30yr old vineyard up at 800m elevation on the Whitlands plateau in Alpine Victoria. Water-white, pure lemon and lime flavours, subtle blossom and notes of fennel, with a gentle hint of residual sugar (8g/l)that adds balance to the acidity”
We also have a range of back vintages listed on From The Producer for those of you who might want to look at how these wines go over time. I’d recommend picking up a few of these and opening one next to a current release so you can check out what happens with time in the bottle.
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