The wines of Jamsheed, Victoria, Australia
Gary Mills' naturally made, terroir-driven wines are some of Australia's most interesting


Gary Mills of Jamsheed

The name Jamsheed comes from the story of a Persian king. Apparently he had a fondness for grapes, and stored them in jars. Occasionally, they would spontaneously ferment and be set aside as ‘poison’. One day one of his harem decides she wants to top herself (she’d been banished by Jamsheed), and drinks this jar labelled ‘poison’, only to find out it is wine, and is pleasurable rather than lethal. She presents this discovery to the king, he’s chuffed because wine has been discovered, and she’s let back into the harem.

Gary Mills’ wines certainly deliver pleasure: they are some of Australia’s most compelling. His previous existence was as a teacher in Japan, from where he found his way into the world of wine. He has worked in Western Australia, California (with Ridge, for two years) and Oregon. In 2003 he decided to make his own wines, sourcing fruit from interesting vineyards in Victoria and working naturally in the cellar.

This is the new face of Australian wine: wines that are made from interesting vineyards, with a sensitive hand, yielding elegance, complexity, finesse and a sense of place. The less expensive Harem series deliver pure vinous pleasure, while the Jamsheed range yields the same pleasure but with added depth and complexity.

There are no acid additions, no enzymes and no fining or filtering with these wines.


Jamsheed Great Western Riesling 2011 Victoria, Australia
From a centenarian vineyard that until 2005 was mothballed. Gary retrellised it, formed new heads on the vines, and this 2011 was the first commercial crop. It’s not 100% Riesling, because the vineyard has some Muscat, Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc in it. It’s barrel fermented in 800 litre barrels. Fine limey and fresh with nice rounded texture. Complex and rounded; fine and expressive. 92/100

Jamsheed Garden Gully Riesling 2012 Great Western, Australia
From a warmer vintage on a high acid site. 15 g/litre residual sugar. pH is under 3 and TA is 13 g/litre! Rounded and pure, with lively fruit and nice texture. Some sweet melon and ripe peach notes. The extra degree of alcohol gives a rounded sweetness to the fruit. Nice finesse. 92/100

Jamsheed Warner Vineyard Roussanne 2011 Beechworth, Victoria, Australia
Decomposed granite soils. Lively and fresh with a hint of mineral/matchstick character, as well as melon and tangerine fruit, finishing with some lemon. Lovely purity and freshness here. 93/100

Jamsheed Warner Vineyard Roussanne 2012 Beechworth, Victoria, Australia
Lovely ripe, smooth pear and white peach fruit with a lemony edge. Pure and precise, but has richness too. Some nuts and herbs to the rounded (but not fat) fruit, with an attractive spiciness. 92/100

Jamsheed Pepe Le Pinot 2012 Mornington Peninsula, Australia
This comes from Mornington, and it’s 50% whole bunch. Lovely sweet, open, elegant Pinot with a  bit of meatiness and some warm spicy notes. Rounded, natural and delicious with some grippy, herby savoury notes. 92/100

Jamsheed Ma Petite Francine 2012 Yarra Valley, Australia
No added SO2. Cabernet Franc from granite. Warm meaty, spicy nose. Lovely vivid, fresh, natural palate with spicy, animal undertones to the berry and black fruits. Joyful. 90/100

Jamsheed La Syrah 2012 Victoria, Australia
Declassified Syrah, mostly from a Pyrenees vineyard planted in 1969, but also some fruit from the Yarra Valley. 80% whole bunch, 25% new oak. Fresh, supple, lively and peppery with nice cherry and berry fruit. Sweet, warm, lively and drinkable. 90/100

Jamsheed Moonambel Syrah 2011 Pyrenees, Australia
From a 1969-planted vineyard on quartz-laced rocky granitic soils. Extended skin contact of more than 40 days. Peppery, fine and supple with smooth red cherry and berry fruits. Lovely open, smooth personality to the elegant fruit. So pure. 94/100

Jamsheed Moonambel Syrah 2012 Pyrenees, Australia
Supple, sweet black fruits with some spice, olive and meat notes. Lovely precision to the attractive fruit here with a savoury, spicy edge. Richness and freshness combined. 93/100

Jamsheed Seville Syrah 2012 Yarra Valley, Australia
100% whole bunch, made in a two ton tank that was capped and left. Smooth, supple and pure with elegance to spare. Fine-grained tannins and lovely warmth to the fruit, but also freshness. Textured and very precise. 94/100

Jamsheed Yarra Glen Syrah 2012 Yarra Valley, Australia
Supple, ripe and smooth with nicely textured black cherry fruit and some plumminess, with smooth grainy tannins. Sweet fruit and good acidity. 93/100

Jamsheed Warner Vineyard Syrah 2012 Beechworth, Victoria, Australia
Amazing stuff: rich, fresh, with lovely weight of fine-textured black fruits. So fine with nice depth and fine chalky hints. 96/100

Jamsheed Garden Gully Syrah 2011 Great Western, Australia
Lovely mint, herb, black cherry and blackberry notes. Supple peppery palate has smooth texture and real elegance. Ripe but fine. 93/100

Jamsheed Garden Gully Syrah 2012 Great Western, Australia
Gary thinks this vineyard was planted in 1892. Sweet, rounded and berryish with a hint of pepper. Nice texture and weight with some smoothness. Still restrained and structured, this is fabulous. 94/100

UK agent: Indigo Wine

See also:

Mac Forbes

Ochota Barrels

Wines tasted 09/13  
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