Gary Mills didn’t learn how to make wine from any studies or books, he learned by doing. After falling into the wine industry in his home state of Western Australia, he got an opportunity to work in California for one of the most fabled vintners in the state, and his fate was sealed. He eventually returned to Australia and settled in Victoria, where he has become one of the most sought after single-vineyard winemakers in the country.
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Gary Mills from Jamsheed Wines, photo courtesy of Hawk Waka Waka Wine Reviews
In my recent exploits attempting to gain employment back home in Melbourne I trialled at the now 18-year-old Punch Lane Wine Bar & Restaurant. The venue is a staple in the city centre, having been an early proponent of the now famous lane way culture here. Whilst here I met with James Dossan, a certified sommelier originally hailing from Sydney, who is managing this venue. James runs a monthly tasting group for friends who are in the industry, which includes sommeliers and wholesalers alike. Each of them has is or will study wine and thus the tastings are designed to improve everyone’s skills in analysis. A theme is chosen and each member brings a bottle to be tasted blind. Continue reading
Although still part of the Napa AVA, Los Carneros is a very different beast. It is closer to San Pablo Bay so has more coastal breezes, and the fog is pushed into the Napa Valley from here. So although it is a lot cooler, there are more sunshine hours for a much more even ripening. There are two major varieties here, pinot noir and chardonnay. Countless wineries in the Napa Valley source fruit of these varieties. In fact every chardonnay I tried came from Carneros. The region feeds into the Sonoma Valley, and thus Carneros actually has feet in both Napa and Sonoma County. Hyde de Villaine is a partnership between Larry Hyde who planted his famous vineyard back in 1979 in Carneros, and Aubert de Villaine who married Larry’s first cousin Pamela, and is the winemaker at Domaine de la Romanee Conti. Their goal is to find a truly iconic and unique expression of California, and the winemaker since 2002, Stephane Vivier, is succeeding at this in spades. The winery itself is located in Napa town, but the vineyard is in Carneros. It is difficult not to compare the wines to their French counterparts, but in style they reflect their origins significantly.
|HdV Vineyards tasting