When Ned and Carl were first introducing this whole new wave of exciting Australian producers to Japan, one of the first names that came up was Gary Mills. A friend of Bill Downie, Gary was producing Syrah from different sites throughout Victoria.
With low yields, high concentration and little intervention, the focus here is on vineyard site, soil and climate. These wines are serious, full of structure and have a stylistic ‘polish’ to them which makes them an excellent proving ground for the natural movement.
Similar to Bill Downie, who produces Pinot Noir from three different sites, Gary Mills produces Syrah (and a small amount of Roussanne and Riesling) from four different sites, notably;-
Seville Vineyard - from the cool Southern vales of Yarra Valley - grey loam over deep red volcanic clay soils - coolest site with highest rainfall - a maritime influenced climate.
Pyren Vineyard - formerly called Moonambel Vineyard - from the Warrenmang townsip in the Pyrenees region of Victoria - quartz laced pink granitic soils - warmer and lower rainfall than Seville.
Garden Gully Vineyard - from the Great Western Region of Central Victoria - 'Concongella' (clay over ironstone) soils - warmer again and lower rainfall than Pyren.
Beechworth Vineyard - from three hours North/Northeast of Melbourne - granitic loam over clay with some slate and shale - with the warmest average temperatures and lowest rainfall - a continental influence climate.
The new ‘Illaj’ Syrah is the exception to the rule, being a blend of barrels selected from the above core vineyards.
Annual production: 2,000 cases