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, March 30, 2011

Gisselbrecht 'Alsace' Riesling 2009

Grape Variety: 100% Riesling

Growing Region: Dambach, Alsace, France

Owner/ Winemaker: Claude Gisselbrecht

TASTING NOTE:
If you ever find yourself in Alsace - I recommend that you make your way to this charming little village of Dambach, which is not usually in the main tourist destinations brochure, but will definitely be a truly authentic memory when returning home. Do visit the Gisselbrecht winery, simply turn left when you see the large village gates (don't drive through the gates) and the winey is 100m on your left.
Last week I had friends come over with a large bag of fresh prawns, so we found as many ways to cook and enjoy them. So what better wine match than something with natural citrus notes and a lively mouth feel to compliment the natural oils and flavours in shellfish than a bottle of Riesling.
This Alsatian Riesling is made in a dry style, but still packed with personality. A stunning expression and is probably the most elegant of Alsace varietals. The wine has a delightfully nose, fruity and floral, with hints of green apple, pear, and grapefruit. A bright mouth feel and the finish is fresh and delicate.
Serve at 10-11C.

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

SUGGESTED FOOD MATCHES:
Perfect wine match with most shellfish, vegetarian dishes and 'very young' Brie or Camembert, enjoy.

Classic Status Riesling.

Standard Drinks

A standard drink is a theoretical drink that contains a specified amount of pure alcohol. The standard drink is used in many countries to quantify alcohol intake. It is usually expressed as a measure of beer, wine, or spirits for convenience. One standard drink always contains the same amount of alcohol regardless of container size or type of alcoholic beverage. The standard drink varies significantly between countries: 7.62ml (6g) of alcohol in Austria to as high as 25ml (19.75g) in Japan.
The value of one standard drink does not necessarily reflect a typical serving size in a country. In the UK the term 'unit of alcohol' is used instead. For example, a typical drink of 1 pint of Ale of 5% alcohol by volume contains 2.8 units.

The Standard Drinks measure in New Zealand is a simple way to work out how much alcohol you are drinking. It measures the amount of pure alcohol in a drink. One standard drink equals 10grams of pure alcohol.

 

Standard Drinks Calculation:
ABV (alcohol by volume) x 0.789 x volume in litres = number of standard drinks.
e.g. for a 750ml bottle of wine at 14% alcohol by volume: 14 x 0.789 x 0.750 = 8.3 Standard Drinks.

It must be remembered that there is no level of drinking that is safe for all people all the time. Factors like health, age, and weight directly affect how much it is safe for you to drink. For some, no alcohol is the only safe option.

*Guidelines Only:
On any one drinking occasion you should drink no more than:
6 standard drinks (for men) & 4 standard drinks (for women).
In any one week, you should drink no more than:
21 standard drinks (for men) & 14 standard drinks (for women).

When drinking alcohol, always try to eat food at the same time.
If you are going to drink, always have an alternative way to get home rather than driving.
Research indicates that driving after consuming any level of alcohol impairs your ability.

Always Drink Responsibly!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Marques de Caceres Crianza 2007

Grape Variety: 85% Tempranillo, 15% Garnacha Tinta & Graciano

Growing Region: Rioja, Spain

Consultant Winemaker: Michel Rolland

TASTING NOTE:
Marques de Caceres is one of the leading producers in Rioja producing classical wines, typical of the region.
The winery is situated in the village of Cenicero, in the heart of the Rioja Alta. They are true pioneers in Rioja, with a philosophy to produce wines that are an expression of the fruit and terroir of the region, with their red wines enhanced by judicious ageing in French oak. This Crianza was aged in barrel for 12 months, then in bottle for 14 months before release.
Thanks to a rigorous selection from their best 'cuvees' for the 2007 Crianza, this wine retains in full the character of these top quality grapes. This wine has a deep ruby colour, powerful, well balanced with softness and structure. The wine has an expressive nose with notes of raspberries, bilberries and cherries, enlivened by a touch of spice and a hint of vanilla.
Bright fruit notes on the palate with good structure that highlights concentrated flavours and balanced tannins. The tannins are well defined, soft and silky smooth, which compliment the complexity, resulting in a lingering finish. Decant for 20 minutes and serve at 16-18 degrees.

CELLARING POTENTIAL:
Drinking well this coming season and will age nicely for another 3-5 years.

SUGGESTED FOOD MATCHES:
Perfect wine match with paella, chorizo, BBQ beef and mature cheeses, enjoy.

A Classic style Rioja Crianza.

 

Montepulciano

Montepulciano is an indigenous Italian red wine grape variety that is most noted for being the primary grape in the (DOCG) wine Montepulciano d'Abruzzo.
Montepulciano d'Abruzzo comes from the mountainous region of Abruzzi on the Adriatic coast of Central Italy. In Italy Montepulciano is also known as Cordisco, Morellone, Primaticcio, and Uva Abruzzi. It should not be confused with the Tuscan wine 'Vino Nobile di Montepulciano', which is made from predominantly Sangiovese and is named for the village it is produced in, rather than containing any Montepulciano grapes in the blend.

 

Montepulciano is widely planted throughout central and southern Italy, most notably in Abruzzi, Latium, Marche, Molise, Umbria and Apulia, and is a permitted variety in DOC wines produced in 20 of Italy's 95 provinces. Montepulciano is rarely found in northern Italy because the grape has a tendency to ripen late and can be excessively 'green' if harvested early.
Montepulciano likely originated in Tuscany and may be related to Sangiovese of which the two grapes are often confused with. After Sangiovese, Montepulciano is Italy's second most widely planted indigenous red grape variety.
The skins have a fair amount of pigmented tannins and colour producing phenols that with maceration can produce a deep ruby coloured wine. Compared to most Italian varieties, Montepulciano produces smooth, drinkable wines that can improve for three or four years after vintage. Montepulciano wines are typically fruity and dry with soft tannins, and so are often consumed young. Over time, the wine turns to garnet red during its maturation. With a fairly intense nose of strawberry and ripe plum fruit, combined with leather and fading red flowers, these smooth drinking wines are often peppery and spicy, making them the perfect complement to the region's sometimes spicy foods.
If aged by the winery for more than two years, the wine will be labelled 'Riserva'. You can pair them with hearty Italian cuisine or with sharp cheeses.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Brookfields 'Ohiti Estate' Gewurztraminer 2010

Grape Variety: 100% Gewurztraminer

Growing Region: Ohiti Estate, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand

Owner/ Winemaker: Peter Robertson

TASTING NOTE:
I know that Gewurztraminer is not always high on ones list when choosing wine for dinner and taking around to a friend's place for a BBQ. But if you just take a few extra seconds to think about your favourite foods and what is now common on many menus - you will realise that Gewurztraminer is more of a match than first thought. Many wok fried dishes, anything with a hint of spice or ginger, Thai chicken hot or cold, noodles dishes, fish and white meat dishes with a good amount of seasoning will all match well.
The fruit for this wine was sourced from the Ohiti Estate which is located in an inland heat trap on the bed of the old Ngaruroro River. It can easily be 3 degrees warmer than many parts of Hawke's Bay.
Harvesting began early in the morning when the fruit was still quite cool. The fruit was immediately trucked to the winery after harvest and pressed. The juice was then cold settled over night before yeast inoculation and careful fermentation.
In the glass you have a youthful straw-gold colour. On the nose this wine is dominated by fresh lychee flavours with a hint of rose petal. As this wine has a hint of residual sweetness - it will taste sweeter after having some time in the bottle and hints of 'Turkish-delight' characters will appear. On the palate the length is sustained by balanced alcohol, which also gives the wine a full mid palate feel and a lingering finish. Serve at 8-10C.

CELLARING POTENTIAL:
Drinking perfectly well now; and will age for another 4-5 years.

SUGGESTED FOOD MATCHES:
Perfect wine match with pan seared scallops with ginger infusion, Thai chicken salad and young cheeses, enjoy.

Classic style of Gewuztraminer.

  

Screw-caps

The screw-cap movement as we know it today - dates back over 40 years ago when Peter Wall of Yalumba contacted French manufacturer, Le Bouchon Mecanique in a quest to eradicate 'cork taint' in his wines.
Screw-caps have been used on food products since the middle of the 19th century, but it wasn't until 1959 when Le Bouchon Mecanique (Alcan) created a screw-cap that was specially adapted for wine bottles. However, whilst the French lead the way in the manufacturing of screw-caps, their commercial use was limited.
A great deal of research was done throughout the coming years - but it wasn't until 2000 when a pioneering group of winemakers in the Clare Valley decided to adopt this modern seal for their premium wines, that screw-caps gained widespread commercial acceptance, led by Jeffrey Grosset.

 
This captured the attention of winemakers in New Zealand, particularly Marlborough, where, due to increased cork related problems, research was already underway. In February 2001 during a meeting, sponsored by Marlborough winemakers, the screw-cap seal was identified as the most promising alternative to cork. They delegated the task of investigating the technical viability of screw-cap wine seals to three experienced winemakers. Dave Pearce - (capsules), John Belsham - (bottles), and Dave Knappstein - (application machinery). This was done in liaison with the appropriate industry participants, including suppliers.
It cannot be stressed enough that this decision was made for quality reasons, not economics. In the closing speech of the International Screw-cap Symposium in Blenheim in Nov. 2004, John Belsham confirmed the creation of the International Screw-cap Initiative (ISI) that would incorporate Jeff Grosset as Vice President and Michel Laroche as European representative.
Winemakers who use screw-caps do so because it allows them to bottle their wines in optimum conditions, knowing that the airtight seal will guarantee that their wines arrive on the consumer's table in pristine condition.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Salon Champagne 1999 launched with Fish 'n' Chips.

Salon Champagne launched its 1999 vintage with a fish 'n' chip lunch in London, at 'Geales' fish restaurant in Notting Hill. The ultra-exclusive Salon, of which there have been only 37 vintages since being founded in 1905, was launched with a traditional British lunch of battered Haddock and chips with mushy peas and tartare sauce.

Didier Depond the winemaker and president of Salon described the 1999 as a 'mature, rich and abundant' year, and the wine as 'sophisticated' and 'tamed'.
London-based journalists and wine critics, tasting the Champagne, found it variously 'opulent, with flavours of brioche, white bread, white flowers, earth and delicate yeast flavours.'
It was suggest the wine can be drunk from 'now until 2050', with magnums set to last until 2060, Didier said for him it was too young, and would not be ready for five to 10 years.

 

Salon is made only from Chardonnay from the 'Clos de Mesnil' vineyards and is matured for at least 10 years in bottle. The 1999 was bottled in 2000 and will be disgorged in batches of 2000 bottles every six months. A total of 50,000 bottles are produced. Vinification is entirely in stainless steel - and there is no malolactic fermentation. The dosage is a bone-dry five grams per litre of residual sugar. The 'Clos le Mesnil' terroir is characterised by thin topsoil, with the vines rooted in deep chalk, 'which accounts for the minerality,' Didier said.
The next vintages of Salon to be released will be the 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2008. The last, Didier says, is possibly “the finest Salon he has ever tasted”.

As for the fish 'n' chip match - Didier was delighted. “It's the first time I have ever had Salon with haddock and chips”, he said. “For me the match is perfect”. The creamy mousse and opulent minerality of the wine did indeed cut through the batter and robust, perfectly-cooked fish.
There are still 3000 bottles left un-disgorged of the 1996 in Salon's cellars. The current vintage of Salon in New Zealand is the 2007 at RRP NZ$690.00 - very limited availability. No news as yet on the 1999 release in New Zealand.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Waipara Hill 'Waipara' Riesling 2010

Grape Variety: 100% Riesling

Growing Region: Waipara Valley, New Zealand

Winemaker: Simon McGeorge

TASTING NOTE:
Well I had to end my summer series of wine reviews - as I started back in November last year, with a lip-smacking and ever so refreshing Riesling. This wine, region and style of Riesling when it comes to marrying with Kiwi summer shellfish dishes, or even a sushi pack from your favourite Japanese outlet is a taste bud sensation.
The fruit for this wine was sourced from 'The Mound' vineyard in the Waipara Valley. Riesling is ever so reflective of its surroundings and this wine is a fine example of the 2010 vintage, showing generous fruit balanced with crisp acidity and a touch of fruit sweetness. This wine was made 100% in stainless steel tanks; from fermentation through to bottling.
In the glass you have a pale green and yellow hue to the wine. The nose is full of ripe melon, apple and wild flowers. On the palate the wine is rich and generous - with those flavours of apple, lime and rock melon, beautifully balanced with firm acidity. This wine will definitely revive the senses.
Enjoy at 8-10C.

CELLARING POTENTIAL:
Drinking now; and will age nicely over the next 3-5 years.

SUGGESTED FOOD MATCHES:
Perfect wine match with shellfish, sushi, Thai dishes and fresh salads, enjoy.

Consistently setting the standard.
 

 

Pinot Meunier

Pinot Meunier is a black wine grape variety most noted for being one of the three main grapes used in the making of Champagne (the other two; the black Pinot Noir and the white Chardonnay). Until recently, Champagne makers did not acknowledge Pinot Meunier, preferring to emphasize the use of the other noble varieties, but now Pinot Meunier is gaining recognition for the body and richness it contributes to Champagne.
Indigenous to northern France, Pinot Meunier's occupies slightly less than half the Champenois vineyard, particularly the cold northern valleys. The name Meunier (French) / muller (German), or 'miller', is taken from the downy, floury aspect of the underside of the vine's leaves.

 

In the early 1990s, research conducted by plant geneticist Carole Meredith at the University of California at Davis revealed a common heritage between Pinot Meunier and a number of other grape varieties. Based on DNA, she concluded that an original Pinot prototype and Gouais Blanc are the parents of Pinot Meunier and fifteen other Gallic varieties, including Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
Pinot Meunier's overriding advantage is its resistance to frost and coulure (the failure of the flowers to develop into berries). It buds and flowers late and ripens early, also an advantage in cold growing areas. Well-suited to chalky clay or loam soils, it is susceptible to rot due to the compactness of its bunches. The berries are deep blue and oval and the fruit high in acidity, moderately high in alcohol, low in tannin and full of sweet fruit flavour.
In the blend of Champagne and other classically styled sparkling wines, Pinot Meunier primarily contributes fruitiness to the cuvee. On its own it does not age well, but does yield bright, fresh, fruity light red and rose wines of crisp acidity and slightly smoky character when produced as a still wine.
inot Meunier is grown principally in Australia, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and the Loire Valley and also grown in Alsace, New Zealand and Slavic Eastern Europe.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Kaesler 'Avignon' G/S/M 2007

Grape Variety: 46% Grenache, 39% Shiraz, 15% Mourvedre

Growing Region: Barossa, Australia

Winemaker: Reid Bosward

Gold Medal - Royal Adelaide Wine Show 2009.

TASTING NOTE:
The Barossa Valley from where the fruit for this wine is grown is a major wine-producing region and tourist destination of South Australia, located some 60 km northeast of Adelaide. If you were ever looking for a vineyard location that will push vines to their ultimate limit of survival with resulting grapes of immense concentration of fruit, palate weight and some good alcohol along the way, there are few places in the world that can compare to where Reid grows his fruit.
The wine was fermented relatively hot between 26-30C in stainless steel tanks and was then transferred to old oak barrels. Typically the oak for 'Avignon' is older than 5 years old but the structure of the Grenache form this vintage warranted some fresher 3-5 year old barriques. The wine also demanded a much longer maturation than usual with components of the blend being held in barrel for up to eighteen months. The blend was eventually bottled in September 2008.
In the glass you have an intense cherry red with a garnet edge. The aroma is filled with black Doris plum, plum skin, musk, and rich, ripe cherry. The palate is more gentle and approachable than in previous years. An elegant, savour palate balanced with dark Satsuma plums and fresh mulberry. Good mineral and tangy acidity with a lingering finish. A very moreish wine. Serve at 18C.

CELLARING POTENTIAL:
Drinking perfectly well now; and will age well for another 5-7 years.

SUGGESTED FOOD MATCHES:
Perfect wine match with BBQ or roasted lamb, fillet steak, rich pasta dish and hard cheeses, enjoy.

 

Sustainable Winegrowing NZ

Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand (SWNZ) was established in 1995 as an industry initiative directed through New Zealand Winegrowers and was commercially introduced in 1997 and adopted by growers from all grape growing regions.
Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand was developed in order to guarantee better quality assurance from the vineyard through to the bottle. Address consumer concerns regarding products which are made taking care to respect the environment.
The New Zealand wine industry has a strong commitment to sustainable production in both vineyards and wineries, and it is my belief that more should be said about sustainability in the New Zealand wine message in the worlds wine markets.

 

New Zealand has a high level of commitment to sustainable production, as is evident by the fact that the greatest proportion of our electricity is produced from renewable resources. In the early 1990's the wine industry recognised that the natural resources of NZ, and the industry, were of significant value and needed to be protected. The industry was undergoing rapid vineyard expansion. Along with this growth there was new pressure on land and water resources, accompanied with issues related to changing land use. It was felt that developing guidelines for sustainable viticulture would help establish good practice, and would also provide a valuable education tool by which results from research could be shared.
In 2002, a new module was launched to provide guidance on sustainable management of wineries. Following wide industry consultation, in 2007 New Zealand Winegrowers (the industry body) announced a bold Sustainability Policy aimed at having all New Zealand wines being produced under independently audited environmental programmes by 2012.
It is estimated that over 94% of the producing vineyard area is participating in SWNZ. Although it was developed recently, the SWNZ winery programme has been adopted relatively quickly approx. 90% of the winery productive capacity is included in the programme.

Website: Sustainable Winegrowing NZ - Click Here