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.

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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.

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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.

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