Jamsheed

Ancient writings tell an endearing tale of Jamsheed, a Persian king who was said to be able to see his kingdom in a cup of wine, and whose fondness for fresh grapes lead him to store them in jars over winter where they would inevitably spontaneously ferment and be set aside as ‘poison’.

One of King Jamsheed’s harem, despairing of frequent migraines, chooses to commit suicide by drinking from a poisoned jar. She wakes to find herself miraculously cured, informs her king who is most pleased and sets about making many jars of ‘poison’ and thus wine was discovered.

Gary Mills is the visionary, brains and hands behind Jamsheed. Originally born in Western Australia, Gary completed a Bachelor of Literature, before moving to Japan to study and work as an English teacher. Upon returning to Australia he had an epiphany during a brief stint as a Japanese speaking tour guide in Queensland, and began work in the vineyards of Margaret River.

His passion took him to the States for what started as a five week harvest intern at Ridge Vineyards in Santa Cruz and turned into a 2 year full time position under the tutelage of winemaker Paul Draper. From there Gary worked his way around California a bit and continued his journey to Oregon only to eventually head back home to Oz.

Jamsheed represents the past and future of creative wines from down under. These wines break the mold of conventional philosophy toward Aussie wines. Not because he is doing something abnormal, rather the opposite. Gary views terroir as the sole focus of his wines and the expression is the goal. This is certainly not a 'new' concept. Moreover, Gary strives for flavor, precision and balance in his wines...again, nothing new here.

Harem La Syrah

The Harem range simply put is the second label for Jamsheed. It is a concept driven right back to the story of King Jamsheed and the discovery of wine through accidental trial and error. Harem is Gary’s way to experiment a bit with vineyards for future single vineyard programs. When Dr. Jamie Goode opines that "The less expensive Harem series deliver pure vinous pleasure", it's Le Syrah's kind of charm to which he is referring. That said, 2013 is the most structured vintage to date; really jubey, spicy and tightly wound with plenty of powdery, protein-loving grip on the finish. It comes alive with food. Really far too serious for the commercial price tag. But don't tell Gary!

 

The 2013 is a blend of Upper Goulburn (80%) and Yarra Valley (20%) Syrah, fermented incorporating 80% whole bunches and indigenous yeasts, aged in new and older 500L puncheons and bottled unfined and unfiltered 8 months after picking.

 

Region: Victoria
Varietal: 100% Syrah
Vintage: 2013
Vineyard: Two sites in Upper Goulburn & two sites in the Yarra Valley
Vine Age: Average: 27 years old
Yield: Average 2.5 tons per acre
Soil Type: Upper Goulburn (Granite & Sedimentary) - Yarra Valley (Grey Loam with Clay)
Alcohol: 13.2%
Oak: 8 months in French puncheons (25% new)
Production: 900 cases

Reviews:

"Bright purple. Highly fragrant scents of black and blue fruits, olive paste and smoky Indian spices. Shows textbook syrah character, with appealing sweetness, smokiness and spiciness to its cassis, cherry compote and licorice pastille flavors. The persistent, subtly tannic finish repeats the smoky note and shows very good focus. Fantastic value here, and a great introduction to winemaker Gary Mills' style." ~ 91, Vinous July 2014

 

"Made with fruit from the Pyrenees and Yarra Valley, using indigenous yeast and a high percentage of whole bunch, the 2013 Harem La Syrah has a medium to deep garnet-purple color and is scented of black berries and mulberries with a savory undercurrent of bacon fat and marmite toast. Medium-bodied with a solid backbone of rounded tannins and lively acid, it offers plenty of earthy/meaty flavors right through to a good, long finish." ~ 90+, Wine Advocate February 2015

Price: Fl $216.00, 2cs $200.00
 
Syrah 'Warner Vineyard' Beechworth

Handpicked from the esteemed Warner Vineyard (of Giaconda fame) in Beechworth, three hours north of Melbourne. The vineyard is situated in the foothills of the Alpine Valley of Victoria and is composed of granitic-loam over clay and areas of slate and shale. Fermented as 80% whole bunches, 40 day extended maceration, indigenous yeast, racked to one and two year old French puncheons, sur lees for 10 months, gravity racked and bottled unfined and unfiltered. No acid, enzymes or additives other than a small amount of sulphur dioxide was used in production.

 

Region: Beechworth
Varietal: 100% Syrah
Vineyard: Warner Vineyard
Vine Age: 46 years old
Yield: 2.1 tons per acre
Soil Type: Pink Granitic Loam over Clay with Shale
Alcohol: 13%
Skin Contact: 40 days on skins
Oak: 10 months in 1st & 2nd year French puncheons
Production: 530 cases

Reviews:

2013 Vintage

 

"Deep garnet-purple, the 2013 Beechworth Syrah offers a broody nose of tar, charcoal and fertile soil over a core of crushed blackcurrants, black cherries and chocolate, plus a waft of peach blossoms. Medium to full-bodied, it fills the palate with rich, ripe black berry flavors plus earthy accents and a fair bit of chewy texture, finishing long with that lovely, lingering floral element." ~ 92+, Wine Advocate February 2015

 

"Glass-staining purple. Heady aromas of candied blackcurrant, blueberry and cola are complicated by hints of licorice, violet and allspice. Lush, intensely flavored and focused, offering deep dark berry and cherry compote flavors and an exotic floral touch. Finishes smooth and very long, with resonating spiciness, a hint of licorice and subtle tannins." ~ 93, Vinous July 2014

 

2012 Vintage

 

"Inky ruby. Heady aromas of spicy dark berries, anise, olive and incense, with a hint of cracked pepper gaining strength in the glass. Shows excellent focus on the palate, offering juicy black raspberry and cherry-cola flavors that put on weight with aeration. Finishes sweet and extremely long, with resonating spiciness and fine-grained tannins." ~ 94, Vinous July 2013

Price: (6 packs) Fl $220.00
 
Syrah 'Pyren Vineyard'

The Pyren Syrah is sourced from vines planted on the quartz laced pink granitic soils of the Pyren vineyard in the township of Warrenmang in the Pyrenees region of Victoria. 100% whole bunch fermentation, 40 day extended maceration, indigenous yeast, racked to one and two year old French puncheons, sur lees for 10 months, gravity racked and bottled unfined and unfiltered. No acid, enzymes or additives other than a small amount of sulphur dioxide was used in production.

 

Region: Pyrenees
Varietal: 100% Syrah
Vintage: 2013
Vineyard: Pyren Vineyard
Vine Age: 14 years old
Yield: 2.1 tons per acre
Soil Type: Quartz Laced Pink Granitic Loam
Alcohol: 13.8%
Oak: 10 months in first and second year French puncheons
Production: 170 cases

Reviews:

"Vivid purple. Heady, spice-accented aromas of cassis, boysenberry, violet pastille and licorice, with a smoky topnote. Dark berry liqueur flavors show real depth and intense sweetness but maintain vivacity thanks to zesty minerality and a touch of cracked pepper. This generous yet lively wine finishes with lingering black and blue fruit qualities, silky tannins and excellent persistence." ~ 93, Vinous July 2014

 

"Deep garnet-purple, the 2013 Pyren Shiraz is intensely scented of baked blackberries, blueberry compote and stewed plums with hints of potpourri, sandalwood and cloves. The medium-bodied palate reveals surprising elegance for the ripeness of the nose with a firm frame of chewy tannins and uplifting acidity giving it freshness through the long, spicy finish." ~ 91+, Wine Advocate February 2015

Price: (6 bottles) Fl $220.00
 
Syrah 'Seville Vineyard'

This hails from a north facing vineyard that sits on the west bank of the Yarra River in the foothills of the upper Yarra. Traditional Yarra Valley grey loam with seams of volcanic red clay that typifies the cooler upper southern reaches of the Yarra Valley. Farmed with sustainable practices, no systemic fungicides or pesticides, organic practices although not certified. The fruit is handpicked, fermented with a high proportion of whole bunches and receives no additions other than a small amount of sulphur dioxide at picking and bottling. It is then aged in older French barrels before being bottled unfiltered and unfined.

 

Region: Yarra Valley - Seville Subzone
Varietal: 100% Syrah
Vintage: 2012
Vineyard: 1,000 Candles Vineyard
Vine Age: 12 years old
Yield: 2.1 tons per acre
Soil Type: Grey loam intermixed with red rhyolite clay
Oak: 10 months in neutral French tonneau
Production: 130 cases

Reviews:

"Bright purple. Explosively perfumed aromas of red and dark berries, Asian spices, minerals and incense. Deeply concentrated black raspberry and cassis flavors show very good energy and focus thanks to juicy acidity and a core of minerality. Nicely racy, focused wine with pure dark fruit qualities carrying through a long, sappy finish." ~ 93, Vinous July 2013

 

"Deep garnet-purple, the 2013 Seville Shiraz has a vibrantly scented nose of black cherries, mulberries, redcurrants and plums with hints of black pepper, clovers and dried Provence herbs. Medium-bodied, it is youthful and taut in the mouth with a good core of muscular fruit framed by firm tannins and just enough acidity, finishing with long-lasting pepper and spice nuances." ~ 91, Wine Advocate February 2015

Price: (6 packs) Fl $220.00