The Story Wines is oddly located in a drab, southern suburb of Melbourne, Australia. There we receive grapes from some fabulous Grampians and Henty vineyards, and turn them into wine. Each vintage there is a new story to tell, and each year our label changes to reflect that story. Small budgets, small vineyards, engaging subjects.

Wine Keeper Reds Dozen

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As winter approaches, we turn our attention to the darker wines for shorter days and longer nights.

We’ve put together a sample pack of our Pinot, Syrah and Grenache – some that need time and air and others that just need a glass.


A few words on the wines:

2018 Whitlands Pinot Noir – whole-bunchy, high-altitude pure Pinot.
2017 R. Lane Vintners Henty Pinot Noir – volcanic Pinot, unquestionably the best wine we have made from this site.
2019 Grampians Grenache – mid-weight. vibrant red. Grampians Pinot?
2016 Grampians Syrah – otherwise sold out, a touch rounder than the 2017 below.
2017 Grampians Syrah – cool, classic and spicy – dark, minerally Syrah with regional pepper and luscious cassis. It will certainly reward patience in the glass and the cellar.

and a special appearance from the museum…

2013 Westgate Vineyard Grampians Shiraz – old-vine, a long time on the vine, in barrel and then bottle. Clean, grapey tannins, ironstone earthen, and at the same time spicy and structured. Pretty special.


This wine is also available in 6 packs – see the link below.

2013 Westgate Vineyard Grampians Shiraz × 2

Probably my favourite vineyard in the region. Its oldest vines are now well over 40yrs old. It is a cooler site on an easterly aspect which loses the sunlight an hour or two earlier than nearby sites, delaying ripening by a week or two, and is planted to the old St. Ethel clone which tends more to the floral than the structural. That said, 2013 was consistently warm and hence the earliest we have picked this vineyard. The picking of the 3 acres (approx) that we harvest had to be broken up over 2 days, due to extreme heat, and the second pick had increased in ripeness by half a baume in a single day! Five separate, small ferments were trialled, one at 100% Whole bunches, two at 50% whole bunches, one at 20% whole bunches and two small, open puncheon ferments all destemmed. Wines were held on skins for approximately three weeks. After 11-12 months in a mixture of French puncheons and barriques (all light toast these days), and another 3 months in tank the final barrel selection ended up with a whole bunch percentage of 40% (or so) and around 30% new oak. This is the highest whole bunch percentage we have given this vineyard, and the warm year warrants it. Clean, grapey tannins, ironstone earthen, and at the same time spicy and structured. Layers are apparent at this early stage, but will age very harmoniously I think. Unfined and unfiltered.

- Vine Age 43yrs
- 14.0% alc.
- pH 3.47
- Total Acidity 6.8g/l
- 250 dozen produced.
- 31% new French oak
11 months in oak, 3 in tank prior to bottling

2019 Grampians Grenache × 2

The second of our Grampians Grenache wines to be released. It should have been our third however the 2018 vintage was completely destroyed by the frost of late 2017, which was the worst for decades around Great Western. Such is farming. This year however, the vineyard owned by Paul Dakis had grown that little bit older and handled the weather well. It is a lower elevation, warmer site on a gentle northeasterly facing slope just south of Great Western. I am convinced that Grenache can do very well on the right site in the Grampians, and should get ripe with a good long hang time. The 2019 year was warm but not overly hot, and yields were moderate. The harvest was in very late March, when we decided the birds were getting to hungry to delay any further. Winemaking was simple: all destemmed, a natural, three week fermentation on skins then maturation in 1000lt old oak vats and old 500lt puncheons for seven months. It is light, pure and delicious. Grampians Pinot, if you like.

- Vine age: 5 years
- 13.3% alc. pH 3.58
- Total Acidity 5.8g/l
- 330 dozen produced

2016 Grampians Shiraz × 2

Vintage was the earliest in my career, all shiraz picked in February. Unheard of in the Grampians! Even with average to large crops, the regular small bouts of rain and continual warmth and mild diurnal differential gave perfect conditions for growth and ripening - nothing to stop the ripening other than picking. Grapes were in fantastic condition, sugars fractionally higher than normal, but flavours were full and earthy, unmistakably regional. To add finesse and spice I fermented with a higher than usual percentage of whole bunches, around 60%. I decided in the warm early year to declassify all our Westgate Vineyard material into this wine to firm up quality, so it is predominantly from that site, with the balance being from Hyde Park. This year's label is an ode to the small winemakers out there that had to fight to retain their equal tax status against the threat of a government convinced by larger companies that only vineyard or winery asset ownership meant legitimacy. The established wineries driving this view may have land and tanks, but that's not the only type of skin in the game.

2017 Grampians Syrah × 2

After the earliest vintage on record for us in 2016, 2017 was the exception that proved the rule. We have become used to compensating, dealing with heat and working to get elegance into our wines. However a cool spring and summer with above average rainfall has us thinking we were in for 2011 all over again (which was a really trying, cold and wet year). Luckily the gods and the sun smiled on us and mild, dry conditions persisted into April to ensure a long ripening period with moderate sugar levels and generous natural acidities. Some no doubt got caught trying to ripen excessive yields but our vineyards performed admirably, and the flavours were full and peppery and juicy. The resulting wines are cool, classic, spicy and possibly my favourite of the last 15 years. They remind me of the wines we used to get before the climate was changed. Dark, minerally syrah with regional pepper and luscious cassis. It's great for its youthful verve now but it will certainly reward patience. Westgate and Hyde Park Vineyards once more delivering beautiful grapes but this year with added depth and acidity. We toned back the whole bunches as there was already plenty of spice, so the fruit really sings.

2017 R. Lane Vintners Henty Pinot Noir × 2

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.

- Vine age: approx 19 years
- 13.0% alc. pH 3.54
- Total Acidity 5.9g/l
- 110 dozen produced

2018 Whitlands Pinot Noir × 2

We have made Riesling from the Croucher Vineyard at Whitlands for 5 years now, and when offered the chance to secure a little of their very cool climate Pinot Noir I jumped at the chance. A warm vintage called for a significant percentage of whole bunches I thought, so we opted for 75%. A two week maceration followed pressing and maturation in old French puncheons, for 8 months only to preserve freshness and aromatics. It is an alpine spice chest! Thyme, lavender, dried pine needles and nutmeg are immediately apparent, then the soft, red fruits flood through. Gentle stemmy grip to close. Super fragrant, super delicious. Drink now.

- Vine age 8 yrs.
- 13.5% alc.
- pH 3.65
- Total acidity 6.0g/l
- 340 dozen produced.

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