The Story winery was named one night over a few drinks with friends back in 2003. It was explained to them that they had no clue what to call it because they seemed to lack all the usual core ingredients to a grand winery name. “We owned no vineyards, so couldn’t name it after that, or a hill, creek, valley or river. Our family had no history in the wine game, so the Lane name would have meant nothing to anybody, and we didn’t have any children or even a dog to name it after. A good friend concluded that you really just have the stories that go along with how you make it, and we loved the way it connoted a connectedness to others, a sharing, and a present tense. It felt current, and it felt like a way to talk to people. And that’s what we want to try and do with our wines. Each vintage there is a new story to tell, and each year our label changes to reflect that story. Every wine is a story.”
Winemaking here is a little different from many, the winery is located in the southern suburbs of Melbourne, some two to three hours from the vineyards in the Grampians and Henty. The Story’s harvest decisions are usually amongst the earliest in the region, emphasising acidity and freshness and attempting to maintain moderate alcohol levels and bright aromas. Once they get the grapes to the winery, they are gently destemmed (or not) and moved by gravity to small open fermenters where they are fermented with ambient yeasts and as few additions as possible. Many of the wines have no additions other than sulphur dioxide, and for the reds, they are usually bottled without any fining or filtration.
The 2017 R. Lane Vintners Henty Pinot Noir is, like its 2016 younger sibling, from the Rowan’s Lane Vineyard at Warrnambool, planted on black volcanic friable ashy loam over limestone and shells and sand. The vineyard is a mix of two clones, the workhorse MV6 and the slightly earlier ripening 115. The vineyard is very free draining and produces tiny berries on tiny bunches, which we usually ferment as 100% intact whole bunches in 1000lt oak fermenters over 3 weeks with indigenous yeasts. I’ve trumpeted the quality of our 2017 wines for a while now, and this site revelled in the cooler year, giving lovely red fruits, Turkish delight and pink flowers which explode on the palate. it’s juicy but deeply savoury at the same time. The unmistakable ashen, coal tar character we see every year is still there, but this year it’s just a foil for the pure pinot fruit. Unquestionably the best wine we have made from this site, and worthy of carrying the eponym. It’ll age well, but its delicious now with a short decant.
This is Simple, hands-off winemaking.