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, April 26, 2011

Chapel Hill Grenache / Shiraz / Mourvedre 2008

Grape Variety: 61% Grenache, 34% Shiraz, 5% Mourvedre

Growing Region: McLaren Vale, Australia

Chief Winemaker: Michael Fragos

McLaren Vale is blessed with a select source of old bush Grenache and the predominant parcel of grapes featured in this wine are sourced from vines ranging from 10 - 40 years of age.
This carefully crafted blend of Grenache, Shiraz and Mourvedre are three grape varieties that typify the unique personality and character that is the McLaren Vale region.
When brought into the winery the grapes were gently crushed and fermented on skins for a minimum of 8 days to allow a long, slow, gentle extraction. Each vineyard parcel was fermented separately to ensure each parcel was fermented to achieve its optimum potential with regards to fruit and tannin development. The wine was then matured in a combination of 83% French oak and 17% American oak for 18 months to add further complexity, mouth feel and to ensure that the pure varietal flavours were nurtured and preserved.
In the glass this wine has perfumed and rustic tones of the Grenache backbone, which is perfectly enhanced by the opulent plum flavours and a hint of black pepper of the Shiraz and a subtle dusting of cinnamon and spice notes from the Mourvedre. On the palate this wine is multi-layered with a good balance of honest fruit and oak integration and it has an exquisite lingering finish. Decant for 20mins and serve at 18C.

Drinking well this coming season; and well over the next 3-5 years.

Perfect wine match with fresh pasta dishes, spicy pizza, tapas and rich cheeses, enjoy.

An honest, well balanced fruit driven wine.



Soave (pronounced So-Ah-Vay) is a dry white wine from the Veneto region in northeast Italy, found around the city of Verona. It is one of 41 Italian DOCG regulated wines as of August 2008. Soave is the name given to the white wine - Garganega is the principal indigenous white grape variety used the make this wine.
Soave is a small village located in the province of Verona, approximately 23km's east of Verona, a must stop on your way to Venice. The Soave wine production is situated in the eastern part of the hills and the region includes part or all of the vineyards belonging to the municipalities of; Soave, Monteforte d'Alpone, San Martino Buon Albergo, Lavagno, Mezzane, Caldiero, Colognola, Illasi, Cazzano, Ronca, Montecchia and San Giovanni Ilarione.


Soave is generally made to be drunk a year or two after vintage and is often vinified in stainless steel to retain as many fresh characteristics as possible. Soave Classico DOC, the use of this specification 'Classico' is reserved for wines made from grapes harvested and vinified in the municipalities of Soave and Monteforte d'Alpone, which are the original and oldest classic wine areas. This restricted production zone lies on the hills in the communes of Soave and Monteforte d'Alpone.
Recioto di Soave Superiore DOCG - is produced and limited to the hillside sites already noted in the regulations for the production. There are also new regulations for planting new vineyards; they must be trained using the 'Espalier' trellis system with at least 4000 vines per hectare. For those vines planted before 2002, the Pergola Incliante and Pergoletta Veronese systems are allowed. Soave DOCG can only be released to the market after the 1st September of the year following harvest and after bottle aging of at least three months so as to emphasize its characteristic maturity and complexity. Wines aged a minimum of two years may be labeled as 'Riserva'.
The Garganega grape with some help from subtle French oak can make white wines full of flavour and interest.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Ti Point 'Marlborough' Pinot Gris 2010

Grape Variety: 100% Pinot Gris

Growing Region: Waihopai Valley, Marlborough, New Zealand

Winemaker: Tracy Haslam

The Pinot Gris grapes were machine harvested and only lightly pressed; all the juice was fermented at a cool temperature in stainless steel tanks. The fermentation was then stopped before becoming completely dry so as to retain approx 4 grams/litre residual sugar.
A small portion of the pressings were kept separate and fined with a little casein, and then fermented in two and three year old French barrels. After fermentation the barrels were lees stirred once a week for 3 months. The free run juice was fermented at 14C in stainless steel tanks and then after fermentation the wine was racked immediately. The two parcels were blended, then stabilised, filtered and then bottled.
In the glass the wine has a pale straw colour. On the nose the wine has hints of citrus and pear. The wine has classic generosity of good Pinot Gris grapes. In the mouth the wine has a soft supple mid palate and a persistent length and structure from the ripe fruit, subtle acid, and nicely balanced clean finish. Serve at 8C.

Drinking perfectly well this season; and over the next 4-5 years.

Perfect wine match with chicken, Thai fish cakes and light pasta dishes and young cheese, enjoy.

A bright aroma, balanced palate and a silky finish.


Nero d'Avola

Nero d'Avola - pronounced 'Neh-roe Dah-voe-lah' and translated "The black (grape) of Avola" in Italian - thought to be the most important red wine grape variety in Sicily, and is one of Italy's most important indigenous varieties. It is named after Avola, a small town in the far south of Sicily.
Until the 1980s, commercial use of Nero d'Avola was dedicated almost exclusively to fortifying weaker reds in northern Italy and even in France - to add colour and weight to lighter reds, prompting some French producers to nickname it 'le vin medecine'. In the past Nero d'Avola, like other Sicilian reds, was often syrupy, with an alcohol content reaching 18% - too strong as table wines, but very suited to make Marsala.


New viticulture techniques and night harvesting - placing the grapes in cooled vats to prevent premature fermentation have been used to retain flavour without producing an overpowering wine. The result is often compared to Syrah, made in the 'New World'.
Boasting a singular climate, Sicily is blessed with consistent growing seasons, typified by lots of warm sunshine and very little rain. Vintage quality varies, of course, but not as much as it does in Piedmont or Burgundy.
In Sicily, Nero d'Avola is also called 'Calabrese', - which is likely to be an 'Italianization' of ancient vernacular name of Nero d'Avola, being 'Calaurisi,' which literally means 'coming from Avola'.
As recently as the 1980s, plantings of Nero d'Avola declined in Sicily as many growers switched to international varieties thought more commercial. But now Nero d'Avola is coming back as the native grape earns a growing reputation in its own right, making wines from 100% of the variety rather than blended.
The vine likes hot arid climates, these grapes make a rich, perfumed and velvety red wine that's easy to drink, works well in blends with other grapes, and can benefit from the careful use of oak, and able to age for quite a few years, although most are good drinking upon release.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Akarua 'Central Otago' Pinot Noir 2009

Grape Variety: 100% Pinot Noir

Growing Region: Bannockburn, Central Otago, New Zealand

Winemaker: Matt Connell

Trophy Winner - Royal Easter Wine Show 2011

I have watched with anticipation every step Akarua has taken since first planting vines in 1996. Wine is very much like children, their personality is influenced greatly by their environment and then you wait to see how they express these influences: the climate, soil and the guidance from the vineyard team. Akarua is now in a strong position under the leadership of David Skeggs, award winning winemaker Matt Connell, and supported by the experience of viticulturist Gillian Wilson.
As with any good wine, this Pinot Noir has had nothing but the best care and attention from the time of day when the fruit was picked, pre and post fermentation macerations, oak treatment in various levels of toasted French barriques sourced from different forests.
In the glass you find it hard not to fall into the deep inviting red colour. A wine this young would be expected to have a slightly reserved nose, slowly deciding whether or not to show its full potential and to some degree this is true with this wine, but with a little time in the glass, or even better decanted, more than you were prepared for comes to your senses, with a bright aroma of violets, and dried herbs.
The palate is soft and enticing with ripe berry fruit flavours, but again with a little time it reveals a velvety texture and generous length to the finish. A wonderful vintage is evident in the concentration and balance of this wine. Decant for 1 hour. Serve at 16-17C.

With decanting drinking this winter; and over the next 4-5 years.

Perfect wine match with Pork & Lamb with roasted seasonal vegetables and mature cheeses, enjoy.



Mourvedre, (Monastrell or Mataro) - is a red wine grape variety used to make both strong, dark red wines and roses. It is an international variety grown in many wine regions around the world.
Mourvedre can produce tannic wines that can be high in alcohol, and is very successful in Rhone-style blends. It has a special partnership for Grenache, softening it and giving it structure. Its taste varies greatly according to region, but often has a wild, gamey or earthy flavour, with soft red fruit flavours, deep in colour, jammy blackberry characteristics, and frequently a herbal, almost sage-like characteristic.


The variety was probably introduced to Catalonia by the Phoenicians in around 500BC. The name Mourvedre comes from Murviedro (Morvedre in Catalan) near Valencia and the name Mataro comes from Mataro, Cataluna. It arrived in France sometime after the 16th century, and spread eastwards towards the Rhone where it is a notable component of Chateauneuf-du-Pape. It was once the most popular grape in Provence, but is now much less planted. One exception is Bandol on the Mediterranean coast of Provence, where Mourvedre produces powerful red wines in the style of Chateauneuf-du-Pape. It is sometimes used to produce a fortified red wine in Languedoc-Roussillon.
Mourvedre is a slow-ripening variety that develops tight bunches of grapes that need good ventilation to avoid rot. It seems to do best in windy climates like Southern France, in parts of Spain (coastal regions such as Almansa, Valencia, Alicante and Jumilla) and Algeria, and in Australia and Portugal, where it is known as Mataro. It craves heat and survives in locations too windy for other varieties, but can be drought-sensitive.
There is approx 12 square kilometres of Mourvedre in Australia, with the most significant plantings in South Australia (e.g. Barossa, McLaren Vale) and New South Wales. It is usually found in Rhone-style GSM blends of Grenache, Shiraz, and Mourvedre. It also has found its way into Australian fortified wines.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Matawhero 'Gisborne' Viognier 2009

Grape Variety: 100% Viognier

Growing Region: Gisborne, New Zealand

Owners: Kirsten & Richard Searle

Viognier is the 'new' (but old) grape variety that has been exciting the adventuress amongst you here in New Zealand over the past few years. Not that there is anything too difficult with regards to the style of wines being made, but for those trying to pronounce the name and knowing what cuisine to best match. A large proportion of the enjoyment of wine comes from the aroma, and this particular wine has a very expressive and inviting bouquet, that puts all your senses on alert.
This wine was sourced from the Patutahi area across the Waipaoa River from Matawhero in Gisborne. When ripe the grapes were machine harvested in the cool of evening, to retain as much delicate notes as possible. The fruit was immediately transferred to the winery - where the grapes were pressed and the juice cold settled for 36 hours. Once clear the juice was inoculated with an aromatic yeast and cool fermented until dry. A small portion of Gewurztraminer was added to give breadth to the palate before stabilization and filtering.

In the glass, the wine has a pale straw colour with golden highlights. The bouquet is packed with ripe melon and peach abound with butterscotch and fig. The palate is no less rich, full of ripe fruits, with peach and an inherent creaminess to the finish. Serve at 8-10C.

Drinking perfectly well this season; and over the next 18 months.

Perfect wine match with Thai fish cakes, herb chicken salads and vegetarian cuisine, enjoy.

Very approachable, easy drinking style.


The word Cremant is used for sparkling wines from France that are made outside the designated Champagne area, but employ the same methods as those used in Champagne. Several sparkling wine appellations in France were given the use of this word in the 1980s with an agreement that they would no longer use the term 'Methode Champenoise', which has now been replaced with the term 'Methode Traditionnelle', or 'Traditional Method'.

Sparkling wines designated Cremant have to fulfil strict production criteria. In France, there are 7 appellations for the designation Cremant:

Cremant d'Alsace - (AOC 1976)
Cremant de Bordeaux
Cremant de Bourgogne - (AOC 1975)
Cremant de Die
Cremant du Jura
Cremant de Limoux
Cremant de Loire - (AOC 1975)

There is also a Cremant designation outside of France: Cremant de Luxembourg.


French appellation laws dictate that a Cremant must be harvested by hand with yields not exceeding a set amount. The wines must also be aged for a minimum of one year. The Loire Valley is France's largest producer of sparkling wines outside of the Champagne region. The majority of these 'Cremant de Loire' are a blend of; Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Franc. AOC laws do allow cuvees with Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Gamay, Cot, Pineau d'aunis and Grolleau but those grapes are rarely used in a significant amount. In Burgundy, AOC laws require that Cremant de Bourgogne be composed of at least thirty percent Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc or Pinot Gris.
The Languedoc wine Cremant de Limoux is produced in the 41 villages around the village of Limoux in the south of France. The wine is composed primarily of the indigenous grape Mauzac with some Chenin Blanc and Chardonnay.
Since the designation Cremant is not reserved exclusively for French use (as a result of it replacing Methode Champenoise), it may also be used by producers in other EU countries which fulfil the production criteria, although such usage is rare.