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.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Matawhero 'Gisborne' Chardonnay 2009

Grape Variety: 100% Chardonnay

Growing Region: Gisborne, New Zealand

Owners: Kirsten & Richard Searle

4 Stars, Bob Campbell MW.

Gisborne is known as the first region in New Zealand to see each new day, but along with this 'first light' - it is also known as the Chardonnay Capital of NZ. The grapes for this wine were sourced from Paul and Jenny Tietjen's vineyard on Ormond road in the heart of the 'Golden Slope' region in Gisborne.
When the fruit was judged ripe by viticulturist Jeremy Hyland the grapes were machine harvest at night - to retain as much varietal notes and fresh characters. Once in the winery the grapes were crushed and gently pressed. The juice was cold settled for 36 hours, allowing it to spontaneously ferment with indigenous yeast and then cool fermented until dry. Once dry the juice went through malolactic fermentation. Once in balance the wine was stabilized to ensure the desired 'malo' characteristic's were not lost. The wine was then filtered and bottled.
In the glass you are greeted by a bright straw colour with golden highlights. The wine has a good bouquet with ripe melon and peach abound with butterscotch and fig. The palate is well balanced and expresses rich ripe fruit, with peach and an inherent creaminess and a lengthy finish. Serve at 10C.

Drinking perfectly well this coming summer; and over the next 2-3 years.

Perfect wine match with grilled fish, chicken, risotto and with seasonal vegetables, enjoy.



Dionysus was the Greek god of wine and a major figure of Greek mythology. He represents not only the intoxicating power of wine, but also its social and beneficial influences. The geographical origins were unknown, but almost all myths depicted him as being foreign. In Greek mythology Dionysus was the son of Zeus and Semele; as Dionysus grew up he discovered the culture of the vine and the method of extracting its precious juice.
The way of the Romans was to adopt various elements from other cultures and civilisations - and this included the giving of Greek God names the equivalent Roman names. The Roman priests then adopted the mythology about the Gods and Goddesses like Bacchus. Greek and Roman religion and mythology therefore become closely entwined.


For the Romans, Dionysus became Bacchus, the son of Jupiter and Semele. A reflection on Greco and Roman philosophies regarding democratic government, Bacchus was a promoter of civilization, a lawgiver and peacemaker. Wine, it seems, began to come into its own.
The Roman Empire, though infinitely fallible, was not one to deprive its citizens of their favourite God. From 300 B.C. to the beginning of the Christian era, the population in Rome exploded from 100,000 people to over one million. The result was an equally sizeable increase in the demand for affordable wine, Rome drank 1.8 million hectolitres of wine per year. That was enough for every man, woman and child to have half a litre per day, every day of the year.
From the great vineyards of Italy to Bordeaux, Burgundy and Alsace, Bacchus single-handedly planted the first vines in what would become the world's most legendary wine regions. The Roman god of wine and intoxication, his festival was celebrated on 16 - 17 March.
The bull, the serpent, the ivy and wine are the signs of Bacchus, and strongly associated with satyrs, centaurs, and sileni. He is often shown riding a leopard, wearing a leopard skin, or in a chariot drawn by panthers, and may also be recognized by the thyrsus he carries.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Carmenere is a wine grape variety originally planted in the Medoc region of Bordeaux, France, where it was used for blending purposes to produce deep red wines.
A member of the Cabernet family of grapes, the name 'Carmenere' originates from the French word for crimson (carmin) which refers to the brilliant crimson colour of the autumn foliage prior to leaf-fall. Along with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet-Franc, Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot, Carmenere is considered part of the original six red grapes of Bordeaux.
It is rare to find Carmenere wines in France today, the Phylloxera plague in 1867 nearly destroyed all the vines, for many years the grape was presumed extinct. When Bordeaux was were replanted, Carmenere was extremely hard to find and more difficult to grow. The region's damp, chilly spring weather gave rise to 'coulure', plus with other ripening issues, Carmenere was progressively abandoned.

Carmenere has been thriving in Chile; growers unintentionally preserved the grape variety during the last 150 years, Carmenere cuttings were imported from Bordeaux in the 1850's prior to Phylloxera, where they were frequently confused with Merlot. Chile has the world's largest area planted, with more than 8,800 hectares (2009).
Due to Chile's unique geography growers produce healthy crops of Carmenere. In 1994, Professor Jean-Michel Boursiquot confirmed that these vines were the Bordeaux Carmenere, not Merlot. The Chilean Department of Agriculture officially recognized Carmenere as a distinct variety in 1998. Today, Carmenere grows chiefly in the Colchagua Valley, Rapel Valley, and Maipo Province.
Carmenere wine has a deep red colour and aromas of red fruits, spices and berries. The tannins are softer than those in Cabernet Sauvignon. Although mostly used as a blending grape, wineries do make a pure varietal Carmenere which, when made from grapes at optimal ripeness, imparts a smoky, spicy and earthy notes and on the palate, dark chocolate, tobacco, and leather. The wine is best enjoyed young.

Barros Ruby Port

Grape Variety: 30% Tinta Roriz, 30% Barroca, 20% Tinta Cao & 20% Touriga Francesca

Growing Region: Douro Valley, Portugal

Owner: Manuel Angelo Barros

A well balanced, versatile Ruby Port.

Located in the heart of Portugal's famed Douro region, Barros is one of the largest and most respected Portuguese-owned port houses. Established in 1913, Barros has won an international reputation for producing the finest ports.
The traditional varieties from the Douro region were use to made this ruby style port. The vines are cultivated on a combination of terraces supported by stone walls, and on platforms held by natural slopes on the contours of the hillsides - that line the Douro River.

After hand harvesting, the grapes were crushed and underwent an extended maceration on skins in order to obtain a rich wine both in colour, aroma and flavour. Fermentation was arrested by the addition of grape spirit in order to produce a naturally sweet wine. The resulting wine was matured in wooden casks (pipes) for up to 3 years.
Serve in small glasses, at 14 to 16C.

Drinking perfectly well at any time, but when 'open' store in a cool place and check it regularly as it will age over 3-4 weeks.

Perfect wine match as an aperitif, with dessert or cheese selection, enjoy.


Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Appellation d'origine controlee (AOC), which translates as 'controlled designation of origin', is the French certification granted to certain French geographical indications for wines, cheeses, butters, and other agricultural products, all under the control of the government bureau 'Institut National des Appellations d'Origine' (INAO).
The French system of appellations, begun in the 1930s and considered the wine world's prototype. To carry an appellation in this system, a wine must follow rules describing the area the grapes are grown in, the varieties used, the ripeness, the minimum alcohol strength, the vineyard yields and the methods used in growing the grapes, vine density limits and making the wine. For France's several hundred geographically defined appellations, this can cover entire regions, individual villages or even specific vineyards, and AOCs vary dramatically in size.

'The premise of the AOC - is based on the concept of terroir.'

A rigorous set of clearly defined standards, stress that AOC wines will be produced in a consistent and traditional manner with ingredients from specifically classified producers in designated geographical areas. The products must further be aged at least partially in the respective designated area.
AOC products can be identified by a seal, which is printed on the label in wines. This strict label policy can lead to confusion, especially in cases where towns share names with appellations. While the process of label approval is enforced to the millimetre, the quality control for the wine in the bottle is much less strict. While a blind taster must approve the wine for it to receive AOC classification, this tasting often occurs before the product is even bottled, and by a local expert who may well have ties to the local vintners. Even if the taster is objective, the wine sample may not be representative of the actual product, and there is almost no way to verify that finished bottled product is the same as the original AOC sample.


Nugan Estate 'Parish' Shiraz 2008

Grape Variety: 100% Shiraz

Growing Region: McLaren Vale, South Australia

Winemaker: Daren Owers

Trophy - Decanter World Wine Awards 2010.

Daren Owers has made a positive impact on the wines coming out of Nugan Estate over the past few years. In June of 2003 Daren took on the position of chief winemaker when it became available, after only being with the company since 1999. Just 2 years into the role he was named the winner of 'The Wine Society Members' Choice Award in 2005, and since then has produced a number of outstanding wines, and this award winning Shiraz is another in the long line of achievements both Daren and Nugan are achieving on the international stage.
The fruit for this wine was sourced from their McLaren Vale 'Parish' vineyard. After harvest, the grapes were crushed, yeast added and then carefully pumped over in the traditional manor to avoid the extraction of bitter tannins. The wine was then transferred into a combination of new and seasoned French and American oak for fermentation, followed by 24 months maturation prior to the final blending and bottling.
In the glass you are greeted by a deep red with a bright purple hue. The wine has a confident bouquet - packed with ripe cherry and plum notes melded with dark chocolate, vanillin and a hint of spice. The palate is rich and full bodied; this Shiraz displays a powerful concentration of juicy dark plum characters, mocha chocolate, black pepper and earthy notes, and a persistent finish. Decant for 20-30 minutes - serve at 18C.

Drinking perfectly well this coming summer; and will age for another 4-5 years.

Perfect wine match with prime meats, BBQ'd or well seasoned dishes and a ripe cheese, enjoy.


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Arrogant Frog 'Organic' Cabernet / Merlot 2009

Grape Variety: 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot

Growing Region: Languedoc, France

Owner / Chief Winemaker: Jean-Claude Mas

Gold Medal - Concours General Agricole 2010.

This charming and approachable wine from Arrogant Frog comes from the sun-drenched hills of the Languedoc region, between the Mediterranean Sea and the Herault valley. As with every wine Jean-Claude makes this is exceptional quality for the price and bound to impress if you haven't tried his wines before.
For the first time, Jean Claude Mas is releasing his 'organic' Cabernet / Merlot, made from organically grown grapes.
Each grape variety was vinified separately. The fruit under went cold maceration at 10C for approx 3 days prior to 6 days fermentation at 24-26C with daily pumping over, followed by 9 days maceration for the Cabernet and 8 days for the Merlot. The 'assemblage' was then made in November before putting the wine in barrels. With 25% of the blend being aged in new oak barrel for 4 months. The other 75% gently matured in stainless steel vats. After taking the wine out of the barrels - it was then aged for a further 2 months in vats prior to bottling.
In the glass you have a deep purple, garnet red with ruby, red tints around the edge. The nose is full of bright blueberry notes, with hints of red pepper and spicy characters. The palate is well balanced, fruit driven, with smooth tannins, integrated oak and a long finish of ripe plums.
Decant for 20mins and serve at 16-18C.

Drinking well this summer; and will age for another 4 years.

Perfect wine match with barbecues, poultry, pasta, terrines and medium to strong cheeses, enjoy.



Barbera is a red Italian grape variety, and the third most-planted red variety in Italy (after Sangiovese and Montepulciano). It produces good yields and is known for deep colour, low tannins and high levels of acidity (which is unusual for a warm climate red grape).
Century-old vines still exist in some areas - producing long-aging, robust red wines with intense fruit and complex tannins. The best known appellation is Barbera d'Asti in the Piedmont region.
When young, the wines offer a very bright aroma of fresh red and black berries. In lighter styles you find notes of cherries, raspberries and blueberries; and notes of blackberry and black cherries in wines made from riper grapes. Many winemakers use oak barrels, which provide increased complexity, aging potential, and hints of vanilla.


Barbera is believed to have originated in the hills of Monferrato in central Piedmont, Italy (around the towns of Asti and Alba), where it has been known from the thirteenth century. Documents from the cathedral of Casale Monferrato between 1246-1277 detail leasing agreements of vineyard lands planted with 'de bonis vitibus barbexinis' or Barbera, as it was known. In the 19th and 20th century, waves of Italian migrants took Barbera to the Americas where the vine took root in California and Argentina.
Upgraded to its DOCG classification in 2008, by regulation this wine must consist of at least 85% Barbera and the remaining 15% can comprise of Freisa, Grignolino and/or Dolcetto. The wine must not be released until March 1st of year following harvest and must be at least 11.5%.
There is also a 'Superiore' designation which requires a minimum of twelve months ageing with at least six months in oak. This is a particularly age worthy wine with the potential to age up to eight years. Aged Barbera is denominated as 'Barbera Superiore' and is sometimes aged in French barriques to become 'Barbera Barricato'.