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, September 24, 2012

Jules Taylor 'Marlborough' Chardonnay 2011

Grape Variety: 100% Chardonnay
Growing Region: Marlborough, New Zealand
Owner / Winemaker: Jules Taylor
The 2011 growing season in Marlborough was a challenge from all angles, though a defining factor to this vintage was that it all came together at the right time. As at the moment that matters most - harvest time, Jules and her team were able to get all the fruit into the winery in peak condition.
The fruit for this wine is sourced from two special blocks of Chardonnay that come from vineyards in Renwick and the Awatere Valley of Marlborough. After hand harvesting, the fruit was split into two portions. One portion was wild fermented in French oak barrels, while the other was fermented in stainless steel tanks. While in the barrel the yeast lees were stirred regularly over a nine month period to add palate weight and texture to the wine. Both portions underwent malolactic fermentation, then after time in barrel, the two portions were blended back together and bottled in March 2012. This is a wine that is fresh and has great fruit flavours that expresses the vineyard sites from which they were grown.
In the glass the wine has a pale gold colour with a lime tinge. This wine is showing ripe stone fruit and floral aromas with subtle hints of spicy oak. The partial wild & malolactic fermentations along with the extended lees maturation in oak barrel have added complexity and texture to the palate. A lovely balance of minerality, melon, stone fruit and citrus notes are enhanced with integrated flavours of French oak on the finish. Serve at 8-10C.
Drinking perfectly well this coming summer; and over the next 2-3 years.
Perfect wine match with grilled chicken, bbq pork, pasta dishes and creamy cheeses, enjoy.
A beautifully balanced, vibrant Chardonnay.


Sancerre is a French AOC for wine produced in the surrounding area of Sancerre in the eastern part of the Loire valley, southeast of Orléans. Almost the entire appellation lies on the left bank of the Loire valley, opposite Pouilly-Fume. Sancerre is primarily regarded for Sauvignon Blanc, though Pinot Noir is also grown, accounting for around 20% of the region's production, making mostly early drinking light red wines under the designation of Sancerre Rouge. A Rosé style wine from Pinot Noir is also produced in a style similar to Beaujolais.

White Sancerre was one of the original AOCs awarded in 1936, with the same area being designated for red wines on 23 January 1959. The AOC area has expanded greatly over the years, most recently on 18 March 1998. A series of small valleys cut through the chalk hills, each with their own soil profiles, microclimate and terroir. In the east are the flint soils that make mineral, long-lived wines. Between the town and Verdigny the soil consists of marl and gravel 'les caillottes' producing fruity, well balanced wines. And in the southwest, away from the river towards Menetou-Salon, the chalky 'terres blanches' (white ground) produce fuller wines.
As a cool continental climate region, one of the main viticultural threats in Sancerre is springtime frost. Throughout most of the growing season the nearby Loire River to the east and forest to the west help moderate temperatures. Herbaceous styles of Sauvignon Blanc are more common with large, leafy canopies, while producers wishing to minimize these qualities may need wide, open canopies.
The age of vine can also contribute to how much grassy/ herbaceous character the resultant wine may have as well as how early the grapes are harvested. The focus of Sancerre winemakers is usually to express the pure fruit flavours of Sauvignon Blanc and the natural terroir of the region with very little adjustments taking place in the winery during winemaking - with most of the wines in this area being produced dry and unoaked.

Wine in Brief:


Monday, September 17, 2012

Taylors 'St Andrews' Chardonnay 2008

Grape Variety: 100% Chardonnay
Growing Region: Clare Valley, Australia
Chief Winemaker: Mitchell Taylor
2008 was another year of challenges in the Clare Valley. As with previous vintages that Mitchell has over-seen - the aim was to craft a wine of delicacy and finesse that will age well. To this end, the juice was quickly extracted using gentle whole berry pressing and then chilled quickly to approx 8°C - to ensure varietal and regional characters were captured and retained.
Sourced from the St Andrews vineyards - 95% of the juice was barrel fermented with 5% of that using wild yeast. Batonnage (lees stirring) was employed over 10 weeks after fermentation and some parcels also remained on lees for around 4 months to build mid-palate structure. The other 5% was fermented in stainless steel and then blended back to give the wine vibrancy and freshness. The oak for this wine was 'Prestige' French barrels - 20% new, the remaining 80% being 1 - 2 years old. The wine stayed in oak barriques for approximately 10 to 12 months after which only minimal fining and filtration prior to bottling in September 2009.
An inviting shiny gold colour fills your glass. It has a fresh, lifted aroma of white peach, subtle pineapple and a hint of rock-melon - with the oak adding complexity to the bouquet. The mid-palate has a rich texture, whilst still retaining a slightly mineral backbone, giving it an overall elegant mouth feel and a touch of creaminess from maturation on lees. The flavours of peach, nectarine and cashew nuts are evident along with cleansing citrus notes on the finish - which has a wonderful persistence and length from the quality French oak. Decant for 15-20 minutes and serve at 10°C.
Drinking perfectly well this coming summer; and will age well for another 3-4 years.
Perfect wine match grilled white meats, subtle cream and butter glazed dishes, enjoy.
Gold Medal - Concours Mondial du Bruxelles 2011.


Garganega is a white Italian wine grape widely grown in the Veneto region of North East Italy, particularly in the provinces of Verona and Vicenza. It is Italy's 5th most widely planted white grape. It forms the basis of Venetian white wine Soave DOCs - as well as the Soave Superiore DOCG - and is also a major part of the blend used to make Gambellara.

In the Soave region, Garganega is the primary grape and can compose anywhere from 70 to 100% of the blend with Trebbiano and Chardonnay being its usual blending partners. In the Classico zone of Soave, where yields are most often kept in check, the grape can produce a delicate wine with lemon, almond and spicy notes. Outside of Veneto, there are some plantings in the Umbria and Friuli wine regions. When grown in Sicily under the name Grecanico Dorato, it ripens late and can produce a wine with tangy acidity. The acid levels in Garganega lend itself well to the production of sweet recioto wines that have the potential to improve with bottle age for a decade and more.
The parents of Garganega have not been identified; the exact nature of the relationship between seven grape varieties that are spread from north to south Italy and Trebbiano Toscano, which indicates that Garganega is a key variety in the pedigree of white Italian grape varieties. Garganega reflects the environment and the manner in which it is grown. In cooler sites it exhibits flinty, apple-like characteristics as well as good structure derived from its well-defined acidity. Warmer sites produce wines with a delicate expression, with citrus and stone-fruit flavours. However, all of these characteristics can be easily diluted if the vines are allowed to follow their natural inclination to over produce.
Further south in Umbria, the hills of Colli Amerini and Colli Perugini are home to some Garganega vines whose grapes are used as a minor blending ingredient for dry white and sparkling (spumante) wines. Garganega is also a key component in Bianco di Custozaand Colli Euganei.


Wine in Brief:


Monday, September 10, 2012

Matawhero 'Gisborne' Chardonnay 2011

Grape Variety: 100% Chardonnay
Growing Region: Gisborne, New Zealand
Owners: Kirsten & Richard Searle
If you are looking for a bright, honest, fruit forward and refreshing style of white wine, to match with a wide variety of light cuisine and varied occasions, then look no further than this unoaked Gisborne Chardonnay.
The vineyard from where the fruit was grown, not only see's the first light of each new day, but some of the best care and attention in the vineyard. The grapes for this wine were sourced from Paul and Jenny Tietjens vineyard located on Ormond road in the 'Golden Slope' region of Gisborne.
When Jeremy the viticulturist was happy with the fruit quality - the grapes were machine harvested at night. No antioxidants were added to the fruit in the grape hoppers, allowing Chardonnay's natural phenolics to oxidise on there short journey to the winery. Once in the winery the grapes were crushed, gently pressed and cold settled for 36 hours. The juice was then allowed to spontaneously ferment with indigenous yeast and cool fermented until dry. Once dry the wine went through malolactic fermentation, when in balance the wine was sulphured and stabilized to secure the desired 'soft' fruit characters.
In the glass you are greeted by a straw colour with golden highlights. On the nose, ripe melon and peach notes with a hint of butterscotch and fig. The palate is alive, full of rich, ripe fruit, with peach, watermelon and an inherent soft mid-palate and a clean finish. Serve at 8C.
Drinking perfectly well this coming summer; and for another 2-3 years.
Perfect wine match with chicken salad, turkey, light pasta and vegetarian dishes, enjoy.
Fruit forward, with a clean finish.



Aligoté is a white grape used to make dry white wines in the Burgundy region of France, and which also has significant plantings in much of Eastern Europe - and was first recorded in Burgundy in the 18th century.
A crossing of Pinot Noir and Gouais Blanc are the parents of Aligoté and 15 other French varieties, including Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Cultivated in Burgundy, Aligoté nearly disappeared altogether when Chardonnay took the region by storm, Aligoté makes up approx 6% of the vines planted as of 2010. It is a hardy, early-ripening variety that thrives on steep sites and yields must be limited for Aligoté in order to maintain quality. It produces light, fresh white wines with more lively acidity than Chardonnay.

Aligoté is a fairly vigorous white grape, its berries are larger and more numerous than those of the Chardonnay and, consequently, it is higher-yielding. It can be found almost anywhere in soils which, though good for vines, don’t quiet suit either Pinot Noir or Chardonnay. Aligoté produces wine with elevated acidity that can be drunk young. It is not suited to oak contact, which masks its delicate aromas. As a still wine, it is clean, fresh and light to medium-bodied, but can also be found in sparkling Crémant de Bourgogne and in Eastern Europe, where it is used primarily for the production of sparkling wines.
In Burgundy, where it often loses land to more prestigious grape varieties, Aligoté is often planted only in the poorer vineyard sites at the tops and bottoms of the slopes. This variety is more tolerant to the cold. Its aroma includes elements of apples and lemons. The village of Bouzeron which is considered to represent the region's finest examples of the variety with the appellation Bouzeron-Aligoté AOC restricting the yields to 45 hl/ha compared to the Bourgogne Aligoté AOC limited to 60 hl/ha. In Russia it is used to make sparkling wines with varietal wines being made along the coast of the Black Sea around Gelendzhik. There have also been small, experimental plantings in Chile.

Wine in Brief:


Monday, September 3, 2012

Lake Chalice 'The Raptor' Chardonnay 2011

Grape Variety: 100% Chardonnay
Growing Region: Marlborough, New Zealand
Winemaker: Matt Thomson
This style and expression of Chardonnay is one that will give confidence to wine enthusiasts that there is a strong future for quality well made white wine here in New Zealand. Made in small quantities and representing the best from each vintage, the Raptor Series is their fine dining/restaurant range. Identified by Phil Binnie in the vineyard and Matt and Chris in the winery as wine that is considered of superior quality with cellaring potential, this range of wines is usually made exclusively from their own vineyards and often a single vineyard wine.
This 2011 'Raptor' Chardonnay was sourced from two vineyards. Two thirds from Peter and Ann Reeds in the Wairau Valley and one third from Hamish and Fiona Turners Awatere vineyard. After careful harvesting and then crushing and a light pressing the juice was barrel fermented in a mixture of new and one year old French oak barrels. Two thirds of the barrels were allowed to 'wild ferment' without the inoculation of a cultured yeast. Full malolactic fermentation followed with 10 months maturing on light lees in oak before blending and bottling in March 2012.
A full bodied Chardonnay with flavours of white peach, nectarine and underlying hints of nuts and spice, very aromatic on the nose. The palate is full, elegant and a creamy mid-palate with well balanced acidity and subtle oak that leads to a warm and lingering finish. Decant for 15-20 minutes and serve at 9-12C.
Drinking perfectly well this coming summer; and over the next 3-4 years.
Perfect wine match with fettuccini, pork, smoked ham and creamy mature cheese, enjoy.
A classic style, full flavoured Chardonnay.


Pouilly-Fumé is an (AOC) for dry white wine from the Loire Valley wine region of France. Pouilly-Fumé is made from the Sauvignon Blanc grape variety. It is characterized by smoky flavours and minerality. The vineyards are located in the communes Pouilly-sur-Loire, Saint-Andelain, Boisgibault, Tracy-sur-Loire (Nièvre).
The Pouilly Fumé grape is derived from the Sauvignon Blanc, when mature these berries are covered in a smoke-coloured, grey bloom, which explains why the Pouilly wine growers talk about Blanc fumé (smoked white) to describe the Sauvignon grape or wines produced from it. The word fumé also refers to the unparalleled aromas and bouquet (smoky aroma - the famous gun flint aroma), which comes from the outstanding land of Pouilly/Loire vineyards.


Several million years old, the Pouilly land, made up of Kimmeridgian marls and hard calcareous rock and flint, gives Pouilly Fumé its minerality, finesse and its rather fresh and lively character, clear-cut and long in the mouth, with hints of fruit always present. These may include citrus fruits from the area and elsewhere (redcurrant, bush-peach, passion fruit, lychee), white flowers (acacia, lily); as well as hazelnut and quince. Pouilly Fumé can be kept for 5 to 10 years, depending on the year and vintage. It normally peaks in its second or third year. It exists as a white wine only and should not be confused with the similar-sounding Maçon wine, Pouilly Fuissé, made from the Chardonnay grape.

Situated just across the river from Sancerre, Pouilly-Fumé is known for balanced, structured white wines. There have been vines planted on the hillsides of Pouilly-Fumé since the 5th century AD, although they were destroyed twice: in the late 9th century by a battle between King Charles the Bald and Lothaire, and a thousand years later by phylloxera. Until that time, most of the grapes grown in Pouilly-Fumé were of the Chasselas varietal, which were sent to Paris as table grapes. Once trains began to transport less expensive table grapes from other parts of France, the growers of Pouilly-Fumé turned to wine production and saw a bright future in the Sauvignon Blanc grape which is now the dominant varietal in the region. Fish, shellfish, and white meats are all excellent complements to the smoke and flint aromas for Pouilly-Fumé, whose structure and balance make it a good match for richer foods.

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