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.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve NV

Grape Varieties: 34% Pinot Noir, 33% Chardonnay, 33% Pinot Meunier
Growing Region: Reims, France
Chief Winemaker: Regis Camus
TROPHY - Decanter World Wine Awards 2012
Charles Heidsieck is one of the great names of Champagne and produces some of the finest of all Champagne. Even though Thierry Roset is now the new Chef de Cave, and is working closely with Regis Camus - this particular cuvee was crafted by Regis and his relentless pursuit of quality. The base wines are made from a selection of the best vineyards of the region. Charles Heidsieck benefit from the largest collection of reserve wines in Champagne - building an exceptional relationship with the most experienced growers across the entire region, and can draw on a rich palette of crus - from 60 specific sites across the Champagne appellation.
After the first fermentation in stainless steel, each tank undergoes malolactic fermentation to soften the natural acidity. This unique blend is made up of an astounding 40% reserve wines (the maximum permitted) with an average age of 10 years. The blend is then bottled, selected yeast added to begin the second fermentation, then placed in the cellar at a temperature of about 10°C. In order to achieve the depth and complexity required by the house style, Charles Heidsieck age their Non-Vintage champagne for three years before disgorging, then kept another three to six months before they are ready to be enjoyed.
As you pour, your flute will fill with a luminous pale gold hue and a fine and graceful bead. On the nose a hint of crisp pastry, notes of cocoa, praline and fresh almonds, a delicious sensation of richness, voluptuousness and with hazelnut cream characters. Fresh notes of aromatic herbs just picked - such as dill or tarragon enhance the pastry impression. Experience a fully developed wine that is remarkably smooth and generous on the palate. Three years of maturation have given body and substance. As the wine opens up, it is full and intense with notes of warm bread blending harmoniously with subtle notes of ginger and coriander that linger on the finish. Dosage is 11.2g/l - chill and serve at 8-10°C.
Drinking perfectly well this summer; and over the next 4-5 years.
Perfect wine match with hors d'oeuvres, fish and white meat dishes and fresh cheese cake, enjoy.
Respected by “those in the know”.

Vienna Wine Region

Vienna - Austria’s capital has 621ha of vineyards within the city limits. Vines have been grown within the walls of Vienna since the middle ages, although they have now been pushed into the outskirts. Grüner Veltliner, Riesling, Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc are grown on the limestone soils towards Klosterneuburg, whereas red grapes do better on the rich soil to the south of the city.

36 different grape varieties for wine are grown in the Austrian capital; 86% are white and 14% red. The most prominent white variety is Grüner Veltliner, followed by ‘Gemischter Satz‘ - wine from a vineyard planted with two or more different grape varieties that are vinified together. There are strict guidelines, and this definition refers to the wine from any one vineyard, that is planted with a number of different varieties, that are harvested, pressed and vinified at the same time. In earlier times, this form of viticulture was often a precaution against irregular yields and variable harvests, yet today, this style of wine has become extremely popular, either as an easy drinking, medium-bodied style, or as a complex reserve wine with aging ability.
Fine wine from Vienna is now regarded among the classic wines of the world. There are 630 producers working beautiful urban vineyards - many reachable by tram or foot. Wine producers from the northern wine-growing villages of Strebersdorf, Stammersdorf and Jedlersdorf also have vineyards planted on the Bisamberg, north of the Danube, with its favourable conditions for Pinot varieties. In the 16th century the city’s Heurigen (wine tavern) culture sprang to life - through an imperial decree, which allowed growers to serve food with their wine. The wine tavern culture continues to thrive, though as the city grew, many vineyards were lost to development, but recently there has been a trend toward re-cultivation.
The quality of Viennese wine has increased significantly over the past years. The reason for this improvement is the focus now on quality rather than quantity, notably since the 1985 "wine scandal" caused by diethyline glycol detected in some Austrian wines. The increase in the quality of Viennese red wine is particularly interesting - as until quite recently, it was light- coloured and neutral in taste, but since the change that occurred in the eighties, Viennese reds grown in vineyards such as the Bisamberg area have even received awards in Burgundy. The reasons for this success can be found in a combination of excellent wine varieties and outstanding viticulture.

Wine in Brief:





Sunday, December 23, 2012

Pol Roger Brut Rosé Vintage 2004

Grape Variety: 50% Pinot Noir, 35% Chardonnay & (15% Pinot Noir - red wine)
Growing Region: Epernay, France
Head Winemaker: Dominique Petit
I have had the pleasure to visit the house of Pol Roger on several occasions over the past 20 years - and each time, I learn something new about each vineyard and wine when I spend time with the dedicated team. Pol Roger only produces the Brut Rosé in vintage years. The wine is a blend of 50% Pinot Noir, 35% Chardonnay vinified white - and sourced from 20 Premier and Grand Cru vineyards in the Montagne de Reims and Cote des Blancs regions. The remaining 15% is Pinot Noir juive that has been vinified red - and then added to the final blend prior to the secondary fermentation.
The unblended juice undergoes primary fermentation in stainless steel tanks at cool temperatures. Each varietal, village and vineyard are always fermented and cellared separately until final blending. Secondary fermentation takes place in the bottle - deep in the cellars of Pol Roger at 9°C, where it is kept until time for riddling, disgorgement and labelling.
As you pour this wine into your flute - a deep salmon pink colour is highlighted by a fine bead of small bubbles. The nose has aromas of ripe fruits with elements of citrus fruits (blood orange), freshly cut pomegranate and small wild red berries. On the palate, a deep mineral character, supported by a subtle hint of vanilla. The wine is soft and smooth with a balance of delicate freshness, elegance and a precise refined finish. Dosage: 9g/l. Chill and serve at 8-10°C.
Drinking perfectly well this summer; and over the next 2-3 years.
Perfect wine match with salmon, scallops, prawn salads, and fresh fruit desserts, enjoy.
A sunset captured in a bottle with fine bubbles.


Piquepoul is a variety of wine grape grown primarily in the Rhône Valley and Languedoc regions of France, with a history dating back to the 17th century. It grape comes as dark-skinned (Piquepoul Noir) and light-skinned (Piquepoul Blanc) versions, as well as a very little grown Piquepoul Gris. Piquepoul Blanc is the most common of the Piquepoul plantings, with some 1,426 hectares cultivated in France as of 2007, and on an increasing trend.
Piquepoul tends to bud late and has some sensitivity to oidium. The grapes names loosely translating to “lip stinger”, Picpoul Blanc produces wines known in France for their bright acidity, minerality, and clean lemony flavour of the grapes.

Piquepoul had a reputation as a quality grape - being blended with Clairette Blanche to produce the wine named 'Picardan' - an historical sweet wine, popular in the 17th & 18th centuries. Following the invasion of phylloxera, plantings of the Piquepoul varietal dwindled. At the end of the 19th century growers planted hardier, more disease resistant varietals - due to its susceptibility to fungal diseases such as oidium and its tendency to low yield.
In the vineyard, Picpoul is not a difficult varietal to grow. It flowers early, making it somewhat susceptible to frost, but ripens relatively late. Picpoul is usually one of the last white varietals to be harvested. Picpoul Blanc as a single varietal wine shows a rich nose of pear, pineapple and spice. On the palate, bright flavours of pineapple and orange are balanced by crisp acidity, and a lingering finish.
In Languedoc, Picpoul Noir can produce wines high in alcohol, and richly scented, but have a very pale colour, which has made the variety more popular as a blending ingredient than as a producer of varietal wines.
Both the Blanc and Noir versions of Piquepoul are permitted blending grapes for the production of Châteauneuf-du-Pape - being found on the list of 13 permitted blending wines - though Picpoul Noir is rarely used. Picpoul Blanc is the basis of Picpoul de Pinet, a crisp, light green wine of the Pinet Region, one of the Crus of Coteaux du Languedoc.

Wine in Brief:


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Top 12 Articles in 2012

Below are the top 12 articles searched and viewed in 2012. Simply Click on Image to Read More.






Sunday, December 16, 2012

Quinta de la Rosa White Port

Grape Varieties: Gouveia, Ravigato and Malvasia Fina
Growing Region: Douro Valley, Portugal
Head Winemaker: Jorge Moreira
In the summer of 2011 - I had one of the most memorable of visits to Quinta de la Rosa - whose reputation for excellent port comes from a stunning location situated in the heart of the Alto Douro on the banks of the River Douro near Pinhao. Quinta de la Rosa produce small quantities of high quality ports - and this White Aperitif Port is a first class aperitif wine.
This white port was made in the traditional manner in their granite Lagares, the grapes are lightly trodden to give its distinctive golden colour, and before the free run juice is fermented and then fortified with clear brandy spirit to stop fermentation and retain natural sugars. The white port is then stored in small wooden casks and matured in the cellars at la Rosa. This port has been lightly filtered with no fining and requires no decanting.
This white port is made from traditional white port varieties, mainly Gouveia, Rabigato and Malvasia Fina. A first class aperitif wine, this is a beautiful amber/honey colour. Involving and perfumed nose, dominated by the fresh and floral aromas. It shows excellent fruit on the palate, tropical fruits especially pineapple, but at the same time has a long dry finish, typical of the house style you find at La Rosa. No decanting required and it should be served slightly chilled between 8 - 10ºC.
Drinking perfectly well this season; and over the next 2-3 years.
Perfect wine match with rich pates, fois gras, rich cheese and cold fruit desserts, enjoy.
Treat yourself to a Port-tonic this summer.
Once opened, when stored chilled - should be consumed within 4-5 months. Chilled White Port is an enjoyable aperitif or with a mixer, White Port and Tonic is a particular favourite on the terrace at La Rosa in the summer whilst nibbling on some homemade roasted almonds. Make it with ice and a slice of orange, lime, even kiwi-fruit. Place orange slice at the bottom of a tall narrow glass - half fill with ice, add one 1/3 white port and 2/3 tonic.


Canaiolo - (also known as Canaiolo Nero) - is an indigenious Italian red wine grape grown in central Italy, but is most well-known in Tuscany. Other regions with Canaiolo vines include; Lazio, Marche and Sardegna. Together with Sangiovese and Colorino it is often used to create Chianti wine and is an important though small component of Vino Nobile di Montepulciano.


In the history of Chianti it has been a key varietal and during the 18th century may have been the primary grape used even more so than Sangiovese. Required by Italian law to be one of the grapes in every bottle of Chianti - Canaiolo is a high-producer and is very resistant to disease. The best sites can produce a nice combination of very ripe strawberries and leather characters. Another note for its popularity is the grape's ability to partially dry out without rotting for use in the ‘governo’ method of prolonging fermentation.
Ampelographers believe that Canaiolo is most likely native to central Italy and perhaps to the Tuscany region. In the 19th century, the Baron Bettino Ricasoli created the modern Chianti wine recipe that was predominantly Sangiovese with Canaiolo added for its fruit flavours and ability to soften the tannins of Sangiovese. Wine authority ‘Hugh Johnson’ has noted that the relationship between Sangiovese and Canaiolo has some parallels to how Cabernet Sauvignon is softened by the fruit of Merlot in the traditional Bordeaux style blend.

After the phylloxera epidemic at the end of the 19th century, Canaiolo vines did not take well to grafting onto new American rootstock and the grape began to steadily fall out of favour. As of 2006, total plantings of Canaiolo vines throughout Italy dropped to under 3000ha. Today there are only a few vineyards in the Chianti Classico region specializing in Canaiolo - though there are renewed efforts by Tuscan winemakers to find better clonal selections and re-introduce the variety.

Wine in Brief:


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Matching Wine with Pizza:

When matching food and wine - simply think of matching the strength of flavours and weight of the dish with the wine. Wine and food are meant for each other; each enhances and strengthens the experience of the whole.
Consider whether a dish is ‘heavy’ or ‘light’ in nature - in general, look to pair a light-bodied wine to go with a light dish, a medium-bodied wine to match a fuller dish, and a full-bodied wine to go with a heavy dish.
Other factors to take into account when looking at pairing potentials is the foods acidity. Acidic foods, like a Greek salad or lemon-based sauce work well with wines that share a natural undertone of acidity (e.g. Riesling or a Pinot Grigio). While foods that lean to the sweeter side - tend to pair well with wines that are just a bit drier than the food they are to compliment (e.g. off-dry Riesling).
Think about the flavours in a dish the same way you think about the flavours in wine - as families of flavours. If a dish has mushrooms, it has an earthy flavour; if it has citrus or other elements of fruit, it has a fruity flavour (and so on). Then consider which wines offer earthy flavours, fruity flavours, herbal flavours etc. Take notice of a foods texture that is similar to that of the wine - and wines whose intensity of flavour match.
So as my friends like to do - they set me a challenge and asked me to make some wine suggestions with a range of everyday Pizza’s - so here are a few to enjoy at lunch or dinner with good friends.
More wine and food matches to follow...

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Cecchi Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG 2008

Grape Varieties: 90% Prugnolo Gentile (Sangiovese) and a 10% mix of Colorino & Cabernet Sauvignon
Growing Region: The hills of Montepulciano, Italy
Head Winemaker: Andrea Cecchi
This is one of the great wines of Tuscany, predominantly crafted from the indigenous Sangiovese varietal, fully expressing all the personality of this confident grape. The 2008 vintage was a vibrant mix of seasonal variables - but in the end, developing fruit will good character and ripe flavours. The weather was fine throughout the harvesting period, from the last week of September to the first week of October.
In the winery Andrea and his team cared for each unique parcel, extracting excellent balance in flavour and inviting aromas - with vinification at controlled temperatures for approximately 21 days. This was then followed by 24 months of aging in a mix of French and Slovenian oak barrels and an additional time of development in the bottle for 3 months before release.
In the glass you will be greeted by an intense ruby red colour, with hints of garnet around the edge. The wine has a bright bouquet - characteristic of Sangiovese, with an intense aroma of wild violets and fresh herbs. On the palate, this 'Vino Nobile' delivers layers of ripe, dark summer fruit characters, supported by integrated tannins, giving balance and a wonderful structure and length to the rich, earthy finish. Decant for 30-45 minutes and serve at 18°C.
Drinking perfectly well this summer season; and over the next 4-5 years.
Perfect wine match with game dishes, BBQ and roasted red meats and aged cheeses, enjoy.
Strength and balance in a classic Tuscan red wine.