About Me


Gavin Hubble - (BSc & Post Grad. Business Marketing) - I started working in the wine industry over 23 years ago in New Zealand. Working in; wine retail, sales, wine production, label & packaging design, marketing, wine buying, consulting and wine education. I am responsible for the Brand Health of 60+ wine brands distributed here in New Zealand. Wine Brands from New Zealand, Australia, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Chile and Argentina. I work closely with the Trade Industry - (Retail Stores & Restaurants) introducing, educating and positioning exciting and unique brands to wine enthusiasts all over the world.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Punt

A punt, (also known as a flat-bottomed boat and an upward kick in Rugby), with regards to wine - refers to the conical indentation at the bottom of a wine bottle and especially Champagne bottles. It doesn't seem to matter whom or in which wine drinking country you ask this question, there is no consensus explanation for its purpose.
Most agree that a bottle with a punt rests more easily on a table, because with a flat-bottomed bottle it would rock around as it would only need a small imperfection to make it unstable in the table surface. With the ring of the punt being the only surface contact, it helps the bottle sit more stable.

   

In modern times, bottles are not handmade or mouth blown as they were in the day. They are now made in molds. So they could easily be made without punts! Many white wine bottles (example: the tall Riesling bottle) are in fact made with a nearly flat bottom. However, for historical reasons, most red wine bottles are made with punts. That's because one theory of punts is that the punt helps to collect sediment into a thicker ring, so that it does not as easily slide down the inside of the bottle and out into the glass.

The more commonly cited explanations include.

It increases the strength of the champagne bottle, structural integrity, allowing it to hold the high pressure of sparkling wine and champagne.
The larger the punt, the larger the external size of the bottle can be made while still holding 750ml on the inside. This can give the illusion that a wine is of high quality because of the weight/size of the bottle. It is thoughts by many that the deeper the punt the more expensive the bottle and the wine inside. It is often used (along with a slight inwards taper to the bottle) as an indication of a 'better' bottle of wine.
I have poured a lot of wine, from bottles both with and without punts, and I'm still not sure if we will ever find the definitive answer to this question, but it is definitely a conversation starter.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Stonyridge 'Larose' - Waiheke, NZ

Over the past 20 years, I have had both the opportunity and pleasure to visit many wine regions, meet the winemaker/owner and taste some of the finest wines and vintages in the world. I can imagine that right about now, most of you will be thinking about; Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Alsace, Tuscany and many other classic wine regions and Chateaux around the world.
But I think it important to remind each of us, that the opportunity to visit and taste one of the finest wines in the world is located here in our own backyard, on Waiheke Island.
Stonyridge-Larose is an outstanding achievement by Stephen White (owner/ chief winemaker) and the team at Stonyridge to have 27 years of world-class, benchmark quality Cabernet predominant wines here in New Zealand.

     

Stephen planted his vines and started producing these true varietal expressions of Bordeaux grapes, of a quality and with a personality that shows true respect for what one looks for and understands in each of these grapes from Bordeaux and other unique regions around the world. Stephen has embraced and taken on the challenge to express these sophisticated, classic varietals and produced wines of such quality and of interest to so many - we are able to pull the cork on 20 plus years of Stonyridge - and put them through their paces and score them as hard as you would any ‘First Growth’ or vintage wine at prices considerably higher.
It is a credit to Stephens’s foresight, kiwi ingenuity and his passion for excellence in the art and science of wine, and in the blending of ‘terroir’ and the Southern Hemisphere personality into each wine.

I had the pleasure to host a lunch with Hugh Johnson, his wife Judy, Stephen White, John Hawkesby and ‘Grahame Haggart’ at the winery sometime ago, and to have Stephen talk us through each growing season/ vintage and to have Hugh describe his thoughts on the finished wines in turn was another experience that will not be forgotten by all who shared that day for a very long time.
Wine is such a personal experience - it’s such a pleasure to know that we have a library of quality wines from Stonyridge that each of us and many other wine enthusiasts can go to and choose from, to make any occasion, cuisine and conversation with friends come alive.

Eau-de-vie

An 'eau de vie' is a French expression that means 'water of life,' it is a clear, colourless fruit brandy that is produced by means of fermentation and double distillation. The fruit flavour is typically very subtle.
Eau-de-vie are typically not aged in wooden barrels; hence they are clear in colour. Eau de vie production starts with harvesting then gently crushing the fruit, inoculating with yeast, and fermenting the must for several weeks. The resulting fruit wine is then heated in a still and the vaporized alcohol is cooled back down into a liquid. The spirit is placed in a neutral container (steel or glass) for a few months. Finally, the spirit is mixed with water to arrive at the desired alcohol percentage and quickly bottled in order to preserve the freshness and aroma of the chosen fruit, and then sold.

   
Although this is the usual practice, some variations do exist, and some distillers age their products before bottling.
Some regularly available flavours are eau-de-vie de poire (pear), eau-de-vie de pomme (apple), eau-de-vie de mirabelle (yellow plum), and eau-de-vie de peche (peach). When made from pomace, it is called pomace brandy or marc.
The French apple flavoured spirit 'Calvados' is made by aging it in wooden barrels before bottling. Although eau de vie is a French term, similar distilled beverages are produced in other countries, for example; German Schnaps, Balkan Rakia, Romanian Tuica, Hungarian Palinka, Sri Lankan Coconut Arrack, and Georgian Chacha.

Serving preferences vary by individual, but here are some general guidelines:

Temperature: Eau-de-vie are usually served chilled.
Serving size: Usually served as a digestive. The typical serving size is 30-60mls, owing to the high alcohol content of the spirit and to the fact that it is typically drunk after a meal.
Glassware: Some connoisseurs recommend a tulip-shaped glass; others recommend a snifter glass.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Limoncello

Limoncello - is an Italian lemon liqueur predominantly produced in Southern Italy, mainly in the region around the Gulf of Naples, the Sorrentine Peninsula and the coast of Amalfi and the islands of Procida, Ischia and Capri, but also in Sicily, Sardinia, Menton in France and the Maltese island of Gozo. It is made from lemon zest (traditionally from the Sorrento lemon, though most lemons will produce satisfactory limoncello), alcohol, water, and sugar. It is light to bright yellow in colour, sweet and lemony, but not sour in taste - since it contains no lemon juice.
Unlike many other liqueurs, limoncello is relatively easy and inexpensive to produce, requiring only sugar, water, lemon zest, alcohol, and time to mature. Limoncello is made by extracting the essential oils from the lemon zest by soaking them in high proof neutral spirit, then diluting the result with simple syrup. Small batch limoncello often has a stronger, more pronounced lemon flavour than many commercial brands.

 

Different varieties of lemon are used to produce different flavours. The variety of lemon used is usually dictated by the region. Various alcohols can be used to give distinct flavours. A higher proof alcohol maximizes extraction of the lemon flavour, whereas darker alcohols add complexity of flavour. Higher quality sugars used in the infusion process can also create a sweeter liqueur.
Limoncello is traditionally served chilled as an after dinner digestive. Along the Amalfi Coast, it is usually served in small ceramic glasses themselves often chilled, the Amalfi coast being a center of both ceramic and limoncello production. This tradition has been carried into other parts of Italy and around the world, in New Zealand it is served in small chilled dessert wine or liqueur glasses.
Limoncello is also delicious served direct from the freezer, poured over ice, or as a fresh ingredient in a range of new and specially crafted cocktails. It is a fresh, unique taste that is sure to inspire you.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Resveratrol

Resveratrol has been in the media a great deal over the past few years because it is a powerful antioxidant with unique health benefits we have only now been discovered.
Resveratrol is most densely found within red grape skins; and as red wine, is made from grape skin contact it offers a percentage of Resveratrol within its ingredients and consumers are taking advantage of Resveratrol in this way.
Plants naturally produce this antioxidant known as 'phytolexin', as an antibiotic to fight bacteria and fungus, found in: grapes for wines, raspberries, mulberries, blueberries and peanuts.

     

If you would like to consume natural amounts of Resveratrol, the best way to do so is through drinking red wine or eating peanuts. The problem is; you will have to drink 1,000 glasses of red wine per day or eat thousands of peanuts, to get the adequate amount to have any effect. This could be problematic for most people and have unwanted effects. Because of the studies completed on mice, Resveratrol has already been created into a natural supplement.
Resveratrol has the ability to clear your arteries by creating good cholesterol and eliminating many of those that clog your arteries. Resveratrol can also create a smoother flowing blood stream; reduce the risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
Adults require 30-100mg of resveratrol, on a daily basis. Resveratrol supplements have up to 100mg of resveratrol. Thus it is prescribed to take only the required amount as an overdose can cause dizziness and some circulation disorders. Resveratrol, has been demonstrated to be a potent anti-oxidant (approx 20-50 times as effectively as vitamin C alone). The incidence of heart disease and cancer among populations who consume a lot of red wine is dramatically less than those that don't. Resveratrol has also been demonstrated to promote the formation of new dendrites in the brain.
There are many pros and cons to deciding which option is best for you and your health - please consult your health care professional first.