The Story Wines – 2021 Halliday Wine Companion

Rory Lane and I are very excited to announce the release of the 2021 James Halliday Wine Companion reviews of his stellar R. Lane Syrah and R. Lane Pinot Noir alongside a superb Riesling, the delicious textured Marsanne, Roussanne, Viognier blend, and the incredible value Grampians Syrah.

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The Story Wines R. Lane Vintners Westgate Syrah 2017
The Westgate Vineyard, in the hills south of the town of Great Western in the Grampians, has been consistently and unquestionably Rory Lane’s highest quality grape source. Fruit for the R. Lane Vintners Syrah is only selected from the original 1969 plantings.

Before anyone gets too excited, let me tell you there were only 65 dozen bottles made, and Rory Lane had just enough room to move in deciding how to handle options normally too small to contemplate. The upshot is a wine made with endless patience from great parcels of grapes. Spicy, zesty black cherry, berry and plum fruits plus numerous secondary aromas and flavours“.
97 points
James Halliday

The Story Wines R. Lane Vintners Henty Pinot Noir 2018
The 2018 R. Lane Vintners Henty Pinot Noir was grown at the Rowan’s Lane Vineyard just west of Warrnambool, planted on black volcanic friable ashy loam over limestone and shells and sand. A unique site allowing Rory Lane to produce a unique Pinot Noir.

“Wild-fermented with 100% whole bunches. Highly fragrant and floral, the palate of similar complexity, utterly seductive, every cadence carefully built”.
97 points
James Halliday

The Story Wines Grampians Syrah 2017
After the earliest vintage on record in 2016, 2017 was the exception that proved the rule. The resulting wines are cool, classic, spicy and Rory’s favourite of the last 15 years. Dark, minerally syrah with regional pepper and luscious cassis. Westgate and Hyde Park Vineyards once more delivering beautiful grapes but this year with added depth and acidity.

As James Halliday notes, this wine is an exceptional value.

I’m mystified by the amazingly low price, which caused me to check twice to verify. It’s spicy, peppery, juicy, and a whole lot more tied in with its multi-berry fruits and supportive tannins“.
96 points
James Halliday

The Story Whitlands Riesling 2017
The Croucher Vineyard is set at close spacing on red volcanic soils, 800m above sea level, and was planted in the mid-1980s. 2017 was a very cold, long season that enabled a full flavour spectrum to develop yet retained considerable acidity. The abundance of flavour and structure led Rory to ferment half of the wine in 1000lt oak foudre to soften the wine, without losing precision.

This is the first vintage from the close-planted vineyard, balanced oenologically by 9g/l of residual sugar. It’s elegant to the point of ethereal. It beguiles you into relaxing to the point of not focusing on all that’s there.
94 points
James Halliday

The Story Marsanne, Roussane, Viognier 2017Grown at Westgate Vineyard, Rory convinced the owner to pull out Cabernet and plant 3 rows of Marsanne and one each of Roussanne and Viognier. All varieties were picked and pressed together and allowed to ferment with wild yeasts in old French puncheons and barriques. Almost paradoxically the malo contributes to the transparency and unforced feel of the wine without sacrificing line. It is held on gross lees for a full 11 months, neither cold stabilised nor fined and unfiltered. Mid-weight, leaner but more intense than 2016, possibly closest to 2011 in style, but with more malo character.

“The three varieties are grown, harvested and fermented together, with an approximate 60/20/20% blend. The juice was fermented in very old French oak, followed by mlf. There was so little intervention it easily crossed the bridge to natural wine (the deep colour a guide), with texture and structure the highlights”.
93 points
James Halliday