We love foods and drinks with real people and real stories behind them, and so we were interested to hear of the Belfast-based Wines With Stories, a wine importer with an online shop. The folks behind Wines With Stories source their wines from small, family owned, single vineyards — wines created with passion and respect for the land, using sustainable production methods. The long-term goal is to encourage people to drink better wines, through providing a channel where authenticity and provenance is assured.
I was lucky enough to try six of these fantastic wines (details below!); if you appreciate good wines, carefully sourced, I would highly recommend checking them out here.
Anselmi San Vincenzo 2018
Grapes: 70% Garganega, 30% Sauvignon Blanc, with a splash of Chardonnay
This was the first one I popped, and it was the perfect treat on a warm summer evening. It was almost green in the glass, with gorgeous aromas of passion fruit and pineapple. I’m a lover of very sharp, acidic whites, but this was every bit as crisp and refreshing as any New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc — without the same propensity to induce heartburn! Apparently Anselmi wines appear on the lists of most Michelin Star restaurants in Italy, and having sampled this one, I can see why. I loved the long finish and the full body, and would definitely choose this one again.
LA BULLE de La Coste Extra Brut Champenoise BIO Sparkling Rosé
Grapes: 80% Grenache, 20% Cinsault
Made from 40-year-old vines using the Champagne method, this was a truly special bottle of pink fizz, with fine bubbles and gorgeously flowery, fruity aromas. After months apart due to the lockdown, my mother and I celebrated our reunion by drinking this with great enthusiasm in her back garden, and it felt like a much more expensive bottle than its actual price point. Despite its deep pink colour, it’s beautifully dry, and would make a fantastic celebration wine.
Adhering to biodynamic principles, Château la Coste strives to preserve the terroir, protecting its fertility, safeguarding the essence of the soil. In 2009, these wines were given the French organic label “AB” in recognition of the respect shown to the land and nature throughout both growing and production.
The Perfect Provencal Biodynamic Rosé d’Une Nuit 2019 BIO
Grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Shiraz/Syrah
This was the second offering from Château La Coste, and if possible, I enjoyed it even more than the first. This was very dry and beautifully fresh, with a long finish that reminded me of strawberries and just a hint of spice. Provence is the largest rosé-producing area in the world and with good reason; this style is — thankfully, in my books — a world away from the sweeter, fruitier rosés of the New World. A friend and I savoured this one early summer’s evening in the garden, with a few nibbles alongside. If you’re in the mood for something heartier, a seafood stew would be fantastic.
Inalto Bianco 2017 CRU
Grapes: 85% Trebbiano Abruzzese, 15% Pecorino
We’ve all heard of the famous Italian pasta brand DeCecco, and this wine is a family offshoot. Apparently, after becoming a sommelier, Adolfo De Cecco was determined to create a world-class Montepulciano d’Abruzzo wine. Along with winemaker Thomas Duroux, he toured the entire region of Abruzzo until they found the perfect location for their vineyards, and Inalto was born. This is a single vineyard wine, with grape harvested by hand. Inalto uses no chemical fertilisers, pesticides or herbicides in anticipation of a conversion to organic farming.
This gorgeous golden wine was the perfect accompaniment to my dinner of garlicky, creamy prawn pasta. It smelled to me like peaches and white flowers, with a hint of citrus, and this was reflected on the palate, along with a lovely well-balanced acidity. The website mentions that this one is reminiscent of a good Chablis, and I can definitely see the resemblance.
Montagner Prosecco DOCG Valdobbiadene Superiore Millesimato Extra Dry 2018
Grapes: 100% Glera
I loved the unusual shape of this bottle almost as much as I loved the quality wine inside. This was crisp and fresh Prosecco at its best, pale and slightly green in colour and with a matching aroma of crunchy, acidic green apples and pears. The grapes are harvested by hand from a single vineyard, and apparently this one is listed on the wine menus of many top five-star hotels and leading restaurants.
Inalto Rosso Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2016 CRU
Grapes: 100% Montepulciano
This second Inalto wine was simply stunning. I followed the instructions given and let it breathe in a carafe for over two hours before I got stuck in, and it was absolutely worth the wait. On the nose, I could smell red berries and a hunt of anise; once sipped, this gave way to plum, blackberry and a touch of pepper. It was rich, luxurious and highly sippable, and I will absolutely be buying this one again.