Independent website Wine Story celebrates links to producers and regions
The site’s back story is really just a love story, explains founder Thibault Lavergne.
What’s great about independent wine sellers is that there is usually a good story to tell about why they got into the business. In the case of Thibault Lavergne, he’s taken that a step further – he calls his company Wine Story.
“It’s a love story,” he told me. “Beyond a wine there is a person, a region, perhaps a connection with art, architecture, something else. I like to make the link.”
Those links have helped Wine Story become a wine success story. It began 10 years ago, after Lavergne moved to London (initially to Hornsey) from Paris. He’d trained in wine after taking the decision to do something “more fun” than being involved in the family food businesses and London, he decided, was the place to set up his own wine import business.
Lavergne is understandably proud of the list of restaurants he supplies as a major part of his sales – Michelin stars abound. But what’s more relevant here is that Wine Story’s whole range is available on line at www.winestory.co.uk, with some bottles also sold through such respected wine shops as Theatre of Wine (a branch in Junction Road, Tufnell Park) and Philglas and Swiggot (ditto in New Quebec Street, Marylebone).
Most of the wines are French, but there are many gems beyond such classics as bordeaux and burgundy – the Languedoc-Roussillon choice, for example, is particularly strong and innovative. “It’s me, I’m very French,” Lavergne explains.
The prices are tempting, with decent wines below £10, great examples in the £10-£20 range where serious wine-lovers usually find best value, and pricier bottles spot on for very special occasions. A lot are organic, with plenty of biodynamic and natural wines too.
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Working through those price brackets, my picks are: below £10: a crisp, flavoursome Loire chardonnay from Château du Coing de St Fiacre, Aurore 2013 (£8.95) and a wine as full of interest as it is of lively, appealing fruit, Cotes du Rhône Les Galets 2013 (£8.50) from the tiny co-operative Les Vignerons d’Estézargues, where the emphasis is on single cuvées and natural wine-making – the antithesis of the usual co-operative approach.
Spend a little more, and delight in another Loire white, La Grange Tiphaine Clef de Sol 2011, 100 percent chenin blanc from venerable vines, delicate, lingering, lovely (£19), or richly flavoured and generously aromatic Domaine de Nizas Languedoc blanc 2012 (£15). Another aromatic glassful, developing enjoyably, is biodynamic Domaine Montesquiou L’Estela Jurançon sec 2013 (£11.50).
To prove that the range has successes beyond France, one of the red stars is the fascinating, tasty !Me Gustas Tù! 2013 tempranillo from Viyna Ivo, made by Ivo Pages in a happy, easy-drinking style with a label created by artist friends in his Catalan village of Cadaqués (£12). The red Clef de Sol 2012 (£18), a cabernet franc/cot (malbec) blend is concentrated and smart, and Domaine Patrice Barraud Fleurie 2013 (£14.50) is a prime example of exactly what good beaujolais should be.
And for those special occasions, try a very fine barolo, Coppo 2009 (£65) or a dark, dense, beautiful Roussillon red, Domaine Seguela Planète 2010.
Tempted to learn more? On the website you’ll find the stories behind all these wines.