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.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Henkell Trocken Dry Sec NV

Grape Variety: Cuvee of German & French grapes.

Growing Region: Rhine Valley, Germany

Director: Dr. Hans-Henning Wiegmann

Gold Medal - Vinalies Internationales, France 2011.

Founded back in 1856 - Henkell Trocken is not only Germany's favourite, but also their most exported sparkling wine, with more than 20 million bottles sold world-wide per year.
The taste is fresh, lively, with a subtle fragrant suggestion of tropical fruit on the nose. Its delicate pale straw colour is enlivened through the play of gold reflections around the edge. Henkell Trocken Dry Sec sparkling wine - sparkles with vivacious and long lasting effervescence. A fine bouquet of fruity notes, citrus characters make Henkell Trocken invitingly light and palatable. The taste is fresh, tingling, with a lingering finish, while a subtle fragrance entices you back for more.
This dry, fully matured sparkling wine owes its elegant character to a unique Cuvee of excellent wines originating from such classic grape varieties as French Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Blanc de Noir from French Pinot Noir and Chenin from Saumur. The finely blended, harmonious composition makes Henkell Trocken a well-balanced, consummate taste experience - and one to be shared. Serve at 7-8C.

Drinking perfectly well this coming summer season; or as an aperitif any time.

Perfect wine match with shellfish, seafood, fresh fruit and sorbet desserts, enjoy.



Muscadet is a white French wine, made at the western entrance to the Loire Valley, near the city of Nantes in the Pays de la Loire region. More Muscadet is produced than any other Loire wine. It is made from the Melon de Bourgogne grape, often referred to simply as 'melon'. As a rule in France, AOC wines are named either after their growing region or after their varietal (the latter Alsace only). The sole varietal used to produce Muscadet, Melon de Bourgogne, was initially planted in the region around the 17th century. It became dominant after a hard freeze in 1709 killed most of the region's vines. |

The generic 'Muscadet' appellation, officially established in 1937, contains three regional sub-appellations: Muscadet-Sevre et Maine, officially established in 1936, and produces 80% of all Muscadets.
Muscadet-Coteaux de la Loire, established in 1936, and Muscadet-Côtes de Grandlieu established in 1994.


Vineyards in the Muscadet region are scattered across a wide range of terroirs ranging from gentle slopes near the rivers to rolling hills to flat fertile land near the mouth of the Loire River. The most ideally situated vineyards are in the rolling hills Muscadet-Sevre et Maine sub-appellation located south and east of Nantes. The soil in this area is rich in magnesium and potassium, made up of clay, gravel and sand above sub-soils of gneiss, schist, granite and volcanic rock. The most common viticultural hazards in the Muscadet region is winter and spring frost and threat of mildew near harvest. The Melon de Bourgogne has adapted well to these condition being very frost resistant and capable of ripening early.

Muscadet wines are often light bodied and almost always dry with very little, if any residual sugar. Muscadet has been described by at least one wine critic as the "perfect oyster wine". The moderate alcohol (always under 12%) allows them to complement many dishes without overwhelming them. Most Muscadets should be enjoyed within three years, there are some exceptions - and served between 9-11C.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Jules Taylor Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2011

Grape Variety: 100% Sauvignon Blanc

Growing Region: Marlborough, New Zealand

Owner/ Chief Winemaker: Jules Taylor

Pure Gold - Air NZ Wine Awards 2011.

As soon as I began to pour the wine into my glass, I could sense summer thinking that it should get a wriggle on and turn up the heat. The 2011 Sauvignon harvest from Marlborough was not easy for many - but in this glass Jules has somehow captured some fantastic aromatics.
The fruit for this Sauvignon Blanc was grown in the Hawkesbury, Lower Wairau & Awatere Valley sub regions of Marlborough. If you have ever met Jules, she is one of the most approachable, relaxed people you will meet. But I would hate to be a Sauvignon grape waiting for the nod from Jules - as she is ruthless on quality and each parcel of fruit was chosen for its specific contribution to aroma, flavour and structure of the resultant blend. To retain as much natural freshness and varietal personality the winemaking was deliberately kept simple.
The grapes were harvested, pressed and cold settled over a period of 48 hours. After racking off juice lees, a long, cool fermentation with selected yeast strains took place. Post fermentation, the components were blended, stabilised and bottled. In the glass you will be greeted by a light lime colour. The wine has lively aromas of passion-fruit, citrus and capsicum notes. The palate is full of tropical and citrus fruits, nicely complemented by fresh herbaceous characters. The well balanced fruit and natural acidity ensures the flavours roll on to a lingering dry finish. Serve at 8C.

Drinking perfectly well this coming summer; and well into 2012.

Perfect wine match with shellfish, Asian & seafood cuisine and a feta cheese salad, enjoy.



Gavi is a fresh and lively style of Italian white wine, known as Cortese di Gavi, produced in a restricted area of the Province of Alessandria, Piedmont, close to the Ligurian border. Cortese di Gavi is made from vines within the commune of Gavi may be labeled Gavi di Gavi.
The name derives from Gavi a small town at the centre of its production area, located about 100 km southeast of Turin, and Cortese, the local variety of grape from which it is exclusively made and whose existence is reported from the 17th century. The current style of wine dates back to 1876, with the wine being awarded DOC status in 1974 and was made DOCG in 1998.


Wines made from Cortese (particularly those from the DOCG Gavi) have long been favoured by restaurants in the southern neighbouring port of Genoa as a wine pairing with the local seafood caught off the Ligurian coast. The wine's lively acidity and light, crisp flavours pair well with the delicate flavours of several fish. Cortese wines tend to be medium bodied with notes of limes and green apples and crisp pears. In vintages that are particularly cool, the wines can be assertive and lean but winemaking techniques such as malolactic fermentation and fermentation in oak barrels can temper this.

Cortese is widely cultivated in the Alessandria province of Piedmont where it is prized for its hardiness to grape diseases and ability to produce large crop yields as well as its high quality wine. There are significant plantings of the grape throughout southeastern Piedmont including the DOC wine producing areas of Colli Tortonesi and Cortese dell'Alto Monferrato located a few miles to the west of Gavi and of Monferrato Casalese Cortese which extends to the Basso Monferrato north of the Tanaro. Despite this close proximity; Cortese has a significantly more difficult time fully ripening in Tortona and Monferrato than in Gavi. Gavi is best enjoyed young - it is usually at its peaks after a year, through to 3 and best matched with seafood cuisine during the heat of summer.

Weekly Wine Picks:

Monday, December 12, 2011

Three Paddles Martinborough Sauvignon Blanc 2011

Grape Variety: 100% Sauvignon Blanc

Growing Region: Martinborough, New Zealand

Owner/Chief Winemaker: Roger Parkinson

Roger crafts his outstanding wines from vineyards that his family own or control. In this way he ensures that every decision having a bearing on the final wine is consistent with his focused objective of producing great Martinborough wine.
In the vineyard he prides himself on doing the little things well and it shows in each of his wines. I remember well Rogers first Sauvignon Blanc back in 1993 and have enjoyed his unique and subtle vinification techniques since - showcasing the 'terroir' from which this wine comes.
The carefully tended fruit came from the 'Home Block' vineyard just behind the winery; the grapes underwent cool fermentation in stainless steel tanks to retain the fruits aromatic notes and lively personality. In the glass you have a bright green/gold colour. The nose exhibits typical regional characteristics of ripe passion fruit and gooseberries. On the palate the wine is fresh and full-bodied and carries ripe tropical flavours through the palate to a crisp and persistent finish. Serve at 8-10C.

Drinking perfectly well this coming summer; and well into 2012.

Perfect wine match with shellfish, white fish, Asian cuisine and a fresh summer salad, enjoy.

A vibrant wine, with palate freshness.



Franciacorta is a sparkling wine from Lombardy - Italy with DOCG status produced from grapes grown within the borders of the region of Franciacorta, on the hills of a series of towns to the south of Lake Iseo in the Province of Brescia. It was awarded DOC status in 1967, the designation then also including red and white still wines. Since 1995 the DOCG classification has applied exclusively to the sparkling wines of the area.
Franciacorta became the first DOC to specify that its sparkling wines must be made by ‘Metodo Classico’. In 1990 the Consorzio per la tutela del Franciacorta was formed, instigating codes of self-regulation with a gradual reduction of yields and eliminating the use of Pinot Grigio, and responsible for the elevation of sparkling Franciacorta to DOCG in 1995. Since August 1, 2003, Franciacorta has been the only Italian wine not obliged to declare its DOCG appellation on the label.


Grapes for Franciacorta are grown in strictly delimited vineyards in the communes, Adro, Capriolo, Cazzago San Martino, Cellatica, Coccaglio, Cologne, Corte Franca, Erbusco, Gussago, Iseo, Monticelli Brusati, Ome, Paderno Franciacorta, Paratico, Passirano, Provaglio d'Iseo, Rodengo Saiano, Rovato and Brescia, with soils mineral-rich, granular-sized, calcareous gravel and sandy morainal soils that cover a limestone bedrock.
The DOCG vineyards cover 2,200 hectares (5,400 acres) and the distribution of permitted grape varieties are 85% Chardonnay, 10% Pinot Nero and 5% Pinot Bianco. From 1996 to 2006, sales of Franciacorta grew from 2.9 to 6.7 million bottles.
Non-vintage Franciacorta may not be released until at least 25 months after harvest, of which 18 months must be in contact with yeast in the bottle. Franciacorta Vintage or Millesimato may not be sold until at least 37 months after harvest, of which 37 months must be in contact with yeast. A Franciacorta Rosé must contain at least 15% Pinot Nero, Franciacorta Satèn must be a Blanc de Blancs with only the use of Chardonnay and/or Pinot Bianco. The designations for dosage are exactly the same as for Champagne.

Weekly Wine Picks:

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Winemaker Series:

Welcome to my summer series of winemaker interviews.


Dean Hewitson completed his wine making degree at Roseworthy College, South Australia, in 1986. After vintages in Western Australia and the Hunter Valley, Dean worked at one of Australia's most prestigious wineries in South Australia from 1987 to 1997. During this decade Dean completed numerous vintages overseas in Beaujolais, Provence, Bordeaux and Oregon. He also achieved his Master of Food Science in Enology at University of California, Davis, from 1990 to 1992. Dean founded Hewitson in 1998 with his wife Louise - and they now share it with their three children; Ned, Henry and Harriet.
Dean Hewitson must surely rank as one of the most talented winemakers of his generation. Dean sources fruit from up and down the rich terra-rossa Barossa Valley, notably from the Old Garden Mourvedre bush vine site planted back in 1853 and the Three Corner Grenache, Rawlands Flat vineyard dating back to 1890. He has made it his life's work to propagate the next generation of these fabulously old, living monuments by grafting their buds onto 30 year old rootstock.

I have had the pleasure to enjoy a glass of wine or two with Dean over the years - looking forward to sharing many more. Each time I open one of his wines in the glass you are treated to something special, as Dean has a rare ability to be able to capture the essence of history and the magic in old vines and bottle it. His passion for wine is undeniable and his desire to share this passion is even greater.

What first attracted you to the wine industry and as a winemaker?
Chance to combine inside and outside, art and science, tradition and progress.

Where and when did you study winemaking?
1984-1986 Roseworthy, South Australia
1990-1992 UC Davis, California

What is your favourite grape variety(s) to work with and why?
The Old Garden Mourvèdre (planted 1853) - humbling to work with grapes from a vineyard so old it is beyond human’s conventional thinking.

Which grape variety would you most like to work with in the future and why?
Some exotic white - haven’t found it yet!


With each new vintage what do you most look forward to?
The first grapes coming into the winery is always a time to celebrate.

To date what has been you most interesting/challenging vintage and why?
2011 - I had to make tough, hard decisions. No place for the faint-hearted.

Which person has influenced you the most as a winemaker and why?
Brian Croser - my boss for ten years. Guided me and gave me the opportunities to understand what makes great wine.

Which person ‘current’ or ‘past’ would you most like to have met or meet and why?
Assuming you mean in the wine industry it would have been really cool to have met Dom Perignon. It would have been so fascinating talking to him and watching him as he experimented with his techniques. Discussing the results would have been intriguing.

If you were stranded on a desert island and you could take one bottle of wine with you – what would it be and why?
A Sauternes - a mature Yquem. The flavours of the ripe tropical fruits I am eating would go wonderfully well with the wine.

If you could make wine anywhere else in the world – where would it be and why?
Right now I wouldn’t mind Spain. The wines and the place seem to have that rusticity and naturalness that I crave.


What advice would you give a young person starting out as a winemaker?
Travel and in particular go to your opposite World - work out why they make the wines they do.

If you weren’t a winemaker - what would you like to be and why?
Film Producer. I was accepted to do that before Wine Making but got scared at the last second.

In the future, what exciting changes can you see, or would like to see for your wines, wine styles, vineyard or winery?
Lots of things happening for us at the winery - we are well on our way to carbon neutrality for one. Also I can see an acceptance of Barossa Valley as the rightful home of Mourvèdre and blends thereof.

Hewitson Wines are available in New Zealand and around the world from quality wine retailers and restaurants. Or visit their website: Hewitson

Monday, December 5, 2011

Domaine Laroche Chablis 2010

Grape Variety: 100% Chardonnay

Growing Region: Chablis, France

Chief Winemaker: Denis de la Bourdonnaye

Both Michel Laroche owner and Denis the chief winemaker aim to work in tune with nature, encouraging low yields and use gentle viticulture to produce ripe fruit, typical of the vineyards origin. The gentlest possible methods are used in the winery to protect this natural personality. Each wine as with this one - are a pure expression of its specific vineyard area and of outstanding quality.
After gentle fermentation and 4 to 6 months on lees in stainless steel tank, this wine underwent 100% malolactic fermentation, and then had minimal filtration to preserve the maximum inherent character of the wine.
As part of their aim to retain purity and minerality in the finished wine, Laroche was the first Burgundian producer to move to screw-caps in 2002. So don't be surprised when you find that you only have to twist to enjoy this classic wine.
In the glass this Chablis shows a bright yellow colour. Precise fresh pears and apple fruit dominate the nose, with hints of mineral notes and white honey in behind. The palate is medium to full; with a complex mix of those pears, honey and citrus fruits, and excellent balancing acidity that gives the wine an elegant persistent finish. Serve at 8C.
Drinking perfectly well this coming summer; and will age nicely for another 4-5 years.
Perfect wine match with oysters, shellfish, any firm white fish and a fresh green salad, enjoy.

Guaranteed to bring a smile to your taste-buds.



Flor - Spanish and Portuguese for 'flower' is a winemaking term referring to a film of yeast on the surface of wine and which is important in the manufacture of Sherry. The flor is formed naturally under certain winemaking conditions, from indigenous yeasts found in the region of Andalucia in southern Spain. Normally in winemaking it is essential to keep wines away from exposure to air, to avoid infection by bacteria and yeasts that tend to spoil.
However, in the manufacture of Sherries, the slightly porous oak barrels are deliberately filled only five-sixths full with wine, leaving a space of two fists empty to allow the flor yeast to take form and the bung is not completely sealed. The flor favours cooler climates and higher humidity, so the Sherries produced in the coastal Sanlucar de Barrameda and El Puerto de Santa Maria have a thicker cap of flor than those produced inland in Jerez. Depending on the development of the wine, it may be aged entirely under the flor to produce a Fino or Manzanilla sherry, or it may be fortified to limit the growth of flor and undergo oxidative aging to produce an Amontillado or Oloroso Sherry.


During fermentation of Sherry production the flor - the physiology of the yeast change, as a result of their higher fat content compared with other yeasts, they float - a property which is especially important if they are to contribute to a healthy surface film. Flor survives between a narrow alcohol range of 14.5 to 16%. Below 14.5%, the yeast does not form a protective waxy cap and the wine oxidizes to the point of becoming vinegar. Above 16% and the flor cannot survive, the wine essentially becoming an Oloroso.
These unique yeasts are responsible for the production of the green almond, granny smith and nougat characters that characterise great Fino Sherry. The chemistry of flor goes far beyond this, but to say, the flor film is primarily responsible for most of the complex characters seen in these wines. They wouldn't be remotely the same if they lacked its influence.

Weekly Wine Picks:

Monday, November 28, 2011

Isabel Estate 'Marlborough' Chardonnay 2007

Grape Variety: 100% Chardonnay

Growing Region: Wairau Valley, New Zealand

Head Winemaker: Patricia Miranda

It is always interesting to taste a wine made from different clones of Chardonnay and due to the unique cool climate location of the vineyards - this wine is made from 6 sometimes 7 clones. To craft such a complex wine the fruit from selected sites and rows was hand-picked and then gently whole bunch pressed. A portion was placed into stainless steel tanks for fermentation and then transferred into French oak barrels.
The other portion was fermented in second and third year old French oak barrels using different strains of yeast. Both were lee stirred regularly while ageing for over 12 months. Twenty percent of the barrels underwent Malolactic fermentation while being closely monitored. Each parcel was fermented in separate batches in an effort to highlight flavour diversity of clonal character and thereby enhance complexity.
In the glass you are greeted by a fairly pronounced yellow colour, the nose has developed considerably, but still showing a bright nutty bouquet. The palate has a concentration of fresh fruit, integrated toasty oak with firm, balanced acidity. The wine has layers of citrus and green apples, subtle floral notes as well as honey rounding out the palate complexity and adding to a lingering finish. Serve at 8-10C.

Drinking perfectly well this coming summer; and over the coming 12-18 months.

Perfect wine match with bbq pork, creamy chicken cuisine and mature brie, enjoy.

Layers of flavour and personality.


Cru Bourgeois

The Cru Bourgeois classification lists some of the high quality wines from the Left Bank Bordeaux wine regions that were not included in the 1855 Classification of Classed Growths, or Grands Crus Classes. The first Cru Bourgeois list was drawn up by the Bordeaux Chamber of Commerce and Chamber of Agriculture in 1932, selecting 444 estates for the classification, and it graced the labels of these wines for more than six decades, even though the system was never officially ratified by the Agriculture Ministry.
A substantial revision of the classification, dividing it into three tiers, was initiated in 2000 and finalised in 2003. Following several legal turns, the 2003 Cru Bourgeois classification was annulled by the French government in 2007, resulting in a ban of all use of the term. The classification reverted to the 1932 with the tiers ‘Exceptionnel’ and ‘Superieur’ removed, and the original 444 estates equally classified Cru Bourgeois.


The Alliance des Crus Bourgeois responded to create a new certification adopting the term Label Cru Bourgeois from the 2007 vintage to be released in 2009, 'not as a classification, but as a mark of quality' open to all Medoc wines, based on production and quality standards, with nearly 300 estates opting in to this new, annual review. This new seal of quality would first appear with the 2007 vintage, the decisions as to which wines had qualified to be released just before the bottling in 2009. By mid-2009 this was looking unlikely, and the system only became fully active with the 2008 vintage, assessed by a panel in early 2010.
The benchmark that constitutes the minimum level of acceptability for a cru bourgeois is adjusted every year according to vintage quality. Thus in a poor vintage the number of labels is expected to drop. Any chateau can apply; all wines are re-tasted between March and July every year for the new listing. Wines are tasted in barrel, with a percentage re-tasted after bottling in anonymous 'shelf tests' - chosen at random from retailers' shelves.

Wines in Brief:


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Winemaker Series:

Welcome to the second in my summer series of winemaker interviews.


Tony Bish - his sense of self-mastery for winemaking ignited in 1981 while working in Gisborne alongside Doug Wilson, Corban's winemaker at the time. Tony embarked on a six year correspondence degree in Oenology at Charles Sturt University in Australia, while continuing to work full time in the wine industry.
Tony began working at Sacred Hill at the beginning, in 1985, and the first vintage, 1986, was just 350 cases, which included the launch of Sacred Hill's first wine - a Fume Blanc. The wine sold out almost immediately, confirming the viability of the Sacred Hill venture.
After the launch, Tony moved on to hone his skills at a number of acclaimed wineries, including Brown Brothers in Australia, Rippon Vineyards in Central Otago and Martinborough Vineyards in the Wairarapa. He returned to work with the Mason family in 1994, and his nose for detail has seen Sacred Hill wines accelerate to the front of the New Zealand & International wine scene. Tony has now amassed more than 100 Trophies, gold medals and 5 Stars - an achievement that makes him one of New Zealand's top winemakers.

I have had the pleasure to know Tony since 1994, when I was visiting my family in Hawke’s Bay, knowing the Mason brothers (the owners of Scared Hill) for several years - I made my way over the hill from Taradale to visit the winery and the infamous cliffs that set the scene for a dramatic vineyard location, plus for a select few - one of the world’s best places to practice clay-bird shooting. Over the years it has been a unique opportunity to see at such close quarters a winemaker and his vines develop and grow together, while at the same time crafting wines that excite and stretch the palates of local wine enthusiasts and international wine aficionados. Tony has truly mastered his own domain i.e. unique terroir and different grape varieties and shaped internationally respected wines.

What first attracted you to the wine industry and as a winemaker?
“First attraction as seasonal work over vintage. 84 hours a week was a great way to fund my winters skiing! After two or three vintages, I got the wine bug bad, and realised the industry had significant potential to make premium and super premium wines”.

Where and when did you study winemaking?
“I enrolled in Wine Science by correspondence at Charles Sturt University in Australia, and spent 6 years commuting twice a year to residential schools. This was 1984-1989”.

What is your favourite grape variety(s) to work with and why?
“Chardonnay - I love its complexity and the way it expresses great terroir. Power, elegance and finesse, a wine that can be so completely satisfying.

Syrah - It such an exciting variety here in Hawke’s Bay! Fun to work with as we are on a steep learning curve while producing better and better wine each year. It’s very dynamic. The wines from Gimblett gravels are so amazing, richly flavoured and smooth textured, ultimately drinkable!

Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot blends - Here in Gimblett gravels we are making world class blended red wines that are rocking the world. I love the complexity of the blending process, and getting Cabernet ripe and balanced is very rewarding”.


Which grape variety would you most like to work with in the future and why?
“Petite Verdot would be a great additional variety to work with our Gimblett gravels red blends. We love Cabernet Franc, and its small but crucial role in great blends, but I would love to add Petite Verdot to the blending table”.

With each new vintage what do you most look forward to?
“The vineyard walks, the critical picking decisions, the buzz when you know you have just picked some really good fruit. The influx of new and keen vintage staff is awesome too. The sense of teamwork and camaraderie is great”.

To date what has been you most interesting/challenging vintage and why?
“The last vintage (the last one is always the most interesting and challenging!). Vintage 2011 was such a vintage of extremes. Brilliant in Marlborough for us, we have already won many Gold medals, but super challenging in Hawke’s Bay, where untimely rain destroyed all our best Chardonnay. But we were able to rock on, and have made some outstanding red blends from later ripening fruit”.

Which person has influenced you the most as a winemaker and why?
“To be frank, no one single person, but many. Mike Grgich, ‘The King of Chardonnay’ in Napa Valley was a positive influence. He was interviewed in his 70’s and asked a question about his winemaking philosophy. He said then that he was just getting the hang of it! Humble, determined, and constantly pursuing quality. Paul Pontallier of Chateau Margaux. I heard him speak about making great red wines many years ago at a Cool Climate Winemaking Symposium. Very articulate, and very clear about what attributes great red wine should possess. Inspirational, as are his wines”.

Which person ‘current’ or ‘past’ would you most like to have met or meet and why?
“I would like to meet and taste wines with Peter Gago of Penfolds Australia. His work with Yattarna and Bin 08A along with his legendary reds, he would be fascinating to talk to and learn from”.

If you were stranded on a desert island and you could take one bottle of wine with you – what would it be and why?
“Well, it would be hot and dry and kind of beautiful. So providing I had ice and a Riedel flute….a Methuselah of 1990 Cristal Brut Millenum cuvée”!
If you could make wine anywhere else in the world – where would it be and why?
“Burgundy, Bonneau du Martray, Corton Charlemagne. Awesome as Chardonnay (& Pinot!)”.

What advice would you give a young person starting out as a winemaker?
“Educate, travel, and find what inspires you”.


If you weren’t a winemaker – what would you like to be and why?
“Tough one. Wine buyer for the rich and famous, advising on what to load the cellars with, travelling and tasting the wines from the great regions of the world (by private jet naturally). Well you did ask!”

In the future, what exciting changes can you see, or would like to see for your wines, wine styles, vineyard or winery?
“Syrah will become a NZ rock star. It’s happening, and the next ten years will be exciting. Chardonnay will make a comeback if there is any right in this world. Marlborough Sauvignon is still the best in the world, so when global market recovery happens and supply tension returns, better times will return for our most important commercial variety. Sacred Hill will be more and more globally recognised as a premium producer of NZ wines, whilst remaining an awesome place to work!”

Sacred Hill Wines are available in New Zealand and around the world from quality wine retailers and restaurants. Or visit their website: Sacred Hill Wines.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Fallen Angel 'Marlborough' Riesling 2011

Grape Variety: 100% Riesling

Growing Region: Marlborough, New Zealand

Chief Winemaker: Steve White

As the longer and warmer days start to stretch across this fare land, I'm sure many of you like myself are thinking about enjoying shellfish and prawns on the bbq, summer salads and alike and what better match than a fresh, citrus driven glass of Riesling.
The fruit for this wine came from two vineyard blocks owned by the Wiffen family in the Omaka sub-region of Marlborough's Wairau Valley. Each individual parcel of fruit was separately crushed and pressed early morning in Marlborough, with the chilled juice then being transported to the winery to complete its transformation. The first parcel added incredible citrus lime and lemon characters. This made the palate focused and concentrated, and a pure minerality was revealed. The next two parcels were broad in their palate weight, with extremely rich tropical aromatics.
100% fermented in stainless steel, using three different yeast strains and a range of ferment temperatures, to retain varietal expression. The components were then blended together, producing a wine that expresses vibrant citrus characters and a ripe stone fruit balance between fruit sugar and acid minerality. On the nose a beautifully focused wine that exhibits intense citrus fruit characters of lemons and limes, overlaid with riper tropical hints of mango and pineapple. The palate is balanced perfectly with the sweetness/acid symmetry, with the richness and fruit weight in harmony with the mineral backbone, giving a persistent fresh finish. Serve at 8C.

Drinking perfectly well this coming summer; and right through 2012.

Perfect wine match with shellfish, prawns, sushi, crisp salads and more, enjoy.

Packed with citrus flavours and freshness.


Calories in Wine

Most people have a general idea how many calories they consume when it comes to food groups, although it is quite common to forget that when drinking wine that we are still consuming calories. So how many calories are in wine?
The answer depends on your wine choice - though most wines come in around the 100 calorie mark per glass. Assuming you are using the appropriate serving in the correctly shaped wine glass. There are fewer calories in wine than most other alcoholic beverages. Sauvignon Blanc can come in at 80 calories per serving. Chablis is a mild 85 calories, Riesling, Chardonnay and Cabernet all round out at 90 calories per glass. With just 5 additional calories you can sip Red Burgundy, Red Bordeaux, Beaujolais, Merlot, Rhone, or Rose and dry Champagne comes is in at approx 105 calories. Other wines weigh in much heavier in the calories - Muscatel and Madeira come in at 160, Tokay sneaks up to 165 while White Port hits 170 and Ruby Port tops the list at 185.


While a single glass may only add about 100 calories to an evening, those who drink wine regularly tend to do so with a certain amount of vigour, consuming between 3 and 5 glasses in an evening. It's not just about the calories in wine when trying to maintain a low calorie lifestyle and still participate at social events. Some calories are easier to burn while others are easier to store. Wine comes from fruit which is a form of sugar. The sugar in wine, even dry wines, makes calories harder to burn off. Sugar that comes from fruit is a natural and healthy energy, although once the fruit has been fermented, the sugar content changes and becomes more fructose-like than its original form. The calories in alcohol are metabolised first by the body, ahead of burning fat - which is not desirable if on a diet.
Now, keeping in mind that an average gin and tonic is around 280 calories and that most frozen alcoholic drinks can average 800 calories or above, needless to say red or white wine is certainly a low calorie choice given the options.