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, October 29, 2012

Cookoothama 'Botrytis' Semillon 2008

Grape Variety: 100% Semillon
Growing Region: Darlington Point, Riverina, New South Wales, Australia
Head Winemaker: Daren Owers
Trophy - Royal Melbourne Wine Show 2011
Those of you that have even the slightest sweet tooth - I encourage you open and share a bottle of this 'Cookoothama 'Botrytis' Semillon' with someone special and enjoy it with your favourite grilled stone-fruits and fresh desserts. Known by those who know good sweet wines - this is something slightly special and delicious.
The Semillon fruit for this unique dessert wine was sourced from their own Cookoothama Vineyard on the banks of the Murrumbidgee River at Darlington Point in Riverina. The Riverina region is renowned for its ability to craft wonderful dessert wines. With daily inspections and careful monitoring of the botrytis infection in the vineyard, this allowed the 'super' ripe fruit - that was picked in June - to be delivered to the winery in ideal condition for this style of wine. The fruit was gently crushed, chilled, and with skin contact for 18 hours. Once pressed the juice was filtered and warmed up ready for fermentation. Fermentation started in stainless steel tanks and was then transferred into oak for partial barrel fermentation. The wine was then allowed to mature in oak barrels for 8 months.
In the glass you will be greeted by a rich golden yellow colour. The wine has a bouquet of concentrated dried apricots and fig notes entwined with toasted nuts and grilled pineapple, melded with home-made orange marmalade. The palate is luscious and perfectly balanced with intricate natural acidity - giving a clean bright finish to the wine. Chill and serve at 8°C.
Drinking perfectly well this summer; and over the next 4-5 years.
Perfect wine match with fruit tarts, cool crème brûlée, cheese cake & dried fruits, enjoy.

Treat yourself and your dessert to a glass.

Constantia Wine Region

The Constantia wine region is renowned for crafting some of the most famous wines to be made in South Africa - and the birthplace of the wine farming industry in the beautiful historical valley. Jan van Riebeeck first brought vines to the Cape in the early 1650’s and planted them in what is now the Company Gardens in central Cape Town. The grapes were mostly Muscadel, and other white varieties, very fragrant and tasty. Constantia owes its position as a world famous wine-producing area to the first Governor of the Cape, Simon van der Stel, who chose the Valley for his own farm in 1685 and was the first to recognize the potential of the Cape.

Van der Stel probably named Constantia after Constantia van Goens, granddaughter of the Dutch East India official who had granted him the farm, which measured almost the entire valley. Constantia wine were in demand across the globe, limited volumes were exclusively bought and consumed by the aristocracy. Members of the British Royal House, Napoleon Bonaparte, Louis Philippe of France, Frederick II of Prussia, governors and other dignitaries.
In South Africa viticulture mainly takes place in an area with a mild Mediterranean climate. The Western Cape is cooler than its location might suggest, with conditions ideal for a wide range of grape varieties. Constantia is on the eastern side of Cape Peninsula in the coastal zone. The temperate climate in the area features warm summers cooled by south-easterly sea breezes and cool winters with very little or no frost.
The impressive Cape mountain ranges form a dramatic backdrop with vineyards on the valley sides and floors, benefiting from the many meso-climates offered by the terrain and diverse terroir. The constant interaction between the rugged peaks, multi-directional valley slopes and the proximity of two mighty oceans - and the icy Benguela current which flows northwards up the west coast of Africa from Antarctica, moderate the summer warmth. This diversity result in wines filled with character and complexity. Although most vine varieties grown in South Africa were originally imported - six local crossings have been developed. The best known of these being Pinotage, a hybrid of Pinot Noir and Hermitage (Cinsault), which is cultivated on a fairly large scale.

Wine in Brief:


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Winemaker Series:

Welcome to another in the series of winemaker interviews.
Grégory Viennois has recently joined the renowned Chablis winery Domaine Laroche as head winemaker. The name Domaine Laroche is synonymous with quality Chablis. For 5 generations, the family has been dedicated to producing top quality wines from the appellation. Michel Laroche runs a dynamic and wine focused family business - guiding the company with a clear philosophy. Convinced of the appellations potential for high quality wines, Michel embarked on a period of expansion taking the holdings from 6 hectares in 1967 to over 130 hectares of prime Chablis vineyard today.
"To produce the best Chablis, you need to produce the best grapes". This is how Michel Laroche summarises the Domaine Laroche approach to viticulture. The focus is on creating the optimum conditions to achieve optimum quality grapes - purity and ‘typicity’ being the heart of the Domaine Laroche philosophy.
Grégory has an exciting opportunity ahead of himself working with the people, vineyards and wines at Domaine Laroche in Chablis and the varied ‘terroirs’ in Chile and South Africa - So I thought what better way to get to know Gregory and find out what shapes a winemaker, who will shape these influential wines.
What first attracted you in the wine industry and as a winemaker?
My grand parents were farmers. So, naturally as long as I can remember I have always been attracted by everything that came out of the ground, by cultivation.  The fermentation processes were fascinating.
Where and when did you study winemaking?
I studied oenology in Burgundy at the University of Dijon, at the end of the 1990’s.
Which person has influenced you the most as a winemaker and why?
Two people have been extremely important to me.
Jean Pierre de Smet, Domaine de L’Arlot, in the appellation Nuits Saint George: Thanks to him, I learnt  accuracy, precision and respect for the organic matter.
Stéphane Derenoncourt , who taught me how to decipher the terroirs and how to taste  (grapes and wines); the two elements that  permit to understand and anticipate the development of a particular wine.
What is your favourite grape variety(s) to work with and why?
Of course, Chardonnay for White Wines and Syrah for Red Wines.
Why Chardonnay? Although it is a widespread grape variety in France and all over the world, it makes unique wines, thanks to the complex and singular Burgundian terroirs.
Why Syrah? Syrah delivers wines that are both elegant and manly, racy and floral…simply complex!
Which grape variety would you most like to work with in the future and why?
Pinot Noir on the Côte de Nuits appellation… because it makes the best red wines of the world.
With each new vintage what do you most look forward to?
Each wine has to express respectfully, as possible as it can, the soil and terroir it comes from.
So far, what has been you most interesting/challenging vintage and why?
2011: It was my first vintage in Chablis and we took lots of risks (though calculated) by harvesting at perfect maturity.
Which person ‘current’ or ‘past’ would you most like to have met or meet and why?
Henri Jayer (renowned French vintner): I met him with Denis Mortet. A great winegrower, humble…
If you were stranded on a desert island and you could take one bottle of wine with you - what would it be and why?
Domaine de la Romanée Conti, La Tâche 1990. A unique tasting memory.
If you could make wine anywhere else in the world - where would it be and why?
I am lucky to have already worked in Chile and South Africa, in wonderful regions with a strong potential for making wines.
What advice would you give a young person starting out as a winemaker?
To observe the vines, taste the wines, don’t add too much oenological products… Don’t be a chemist!
When you are ‘not’ making wine - what is one of your favourite things to do to relax?
Going for a walk in the countryside.
In the future, what exciting changes can you see, or would like to see for your wines, wine styles, vineyard or winery?
More energy, more vibrations for the wines!
Domaine Laroche wines are available in New Zealand and around the world from quality wine retailers and restaurants. Or visit their website: Domaine Laroche.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Nga Waka 'Martinborough' Chardonnay 2011

Grape Variety: 100% Chardonnay
Growing Region: Martinborough, New Zealand
Chief Winemaker: Roger Parkinson
I look forward to tasting each new vintage of Roger's wines, as not only does he give them nothing but the best attention. His wines are a true reflection and expression of the vintage, growing season and of the vineyard from which they are grown. Plus with the added dimension of vine age and character that Roger carefully retains and lifts with deft winemaking choices.
The rich personality of this wine was crafted by having 100% of the fruit barrel fermented in tight-grained French oak barriques with approx 20% being new. Half of the wine went through malolactic fermentation - and all barrels were lee-stirred by hand monthly for a period of 10 months to give palate complexity and richness.
In the glass you have a green, gold colour with a good shine to the surface. This wine has already developed a confident bouquet showing a rich, complex Martinborough Chardonnay with intense ripe stone fruit flavours. The palate has a thread of subtle oak, supporting the ripe fruit notes which are complemented by the malolactic and barrel fermentation characters. Giving the wine a full-bodied appearance and with natural acidity finishing clean and dry. Chill slightly and serve at 10-12°C.
Drinking well this coming summer; and over the next 3-4 years.
Perfect wine match with grilled white meats, bbq vegetables and creamy cheeses, enjoy.
Serve in a large glass with flavoursome cuisine.


Retsina is a unique style of wine made almost exclusively in Greece - where it has been made for over 2000 years. It is made with a base of white or rosé wine that is flavoured with pine resin. The wine is quite pungent, and people often find it more enjoyable when it is paired with specific Greek cuisine. Retsina also varies widely in quality, and an inferior wine can taste sharp - and has been described as having a turpentine note.
The name for Retsina is derived from a Latin word, ‘resina’. In early winemaking practices - lacking airtight containers for fermentation, many early white wines soured as a result of exposure to oxygen. To resolve this problem, winemakers covered their wine jugs in pine pitch, the same material used to waterproof boats. The resin effectively sealed the containers so that the wine did not spoil, and consumers developed a taste for the resulting resin infused wine. The Romans began to use barrels in the 3rd century AD, removing the necessity for resin, but the aroma and flavour itself was so popular that the style is still widespread today.
In Greece, local Retsina is produced throughout the country, with major areas of production located around Attica, Boeotia and Euboea. The EU treats the name ‘Retsina’ as a protected designation of origin and traditional appellation for Greece and parts of the southern regions of Cyprus.  The traditional grape is Savatiano with Assyrtiko and Rhoditis sometimes blended in, as well as other grape varieties throughout Greece. Modern Retsina is made following the same winemaking techniques as white wine or rosé with the exception of small pieces of Aleppo Pine resin added to the must during fermentation. The pieces stay mixed in with the must, and release an oily resin film on the liquid surface; at racking the wine is clarified and the solids and surface film are removed from the finished wine. Nowadays, protecting wine from oxidation is easy to do with far simpler means and much less resin is used for Retsina than traditionally.
The wine should be served extremely cold, and in wide, open glasses, an acute shaped glass will tend to trap the resinous aroma, rather than dissipating it like a wide mouthed glass will. Retsina pares best with strong, spicy, savoury foods like those served as appetizers, or ‘meze’, in Greece, with pickled, salty, or garlic ingredients, which counter the strong flavour of the Retsina. The wine can also be paired with spicy cuisines, but should not be consumed with subtle dishes. It's important to remember that Retsina is a highly acquired taste, and not all wine drinkers will find it to their liking.

Wine in Brief:


Saturday, October 20, 2012

INDEX - Winemaker Series:

(Simply click on image to read interview)








Monday, October 15, 2012

Duboeuf Beaujolais Villages 2010

Grape Variety: 100% Gamay Noir

Growing Region: Beaujolais, France

Owner / senior winemaker: Georges Duboeuf

Beaujolais-Villages takes its name from 39 winemaking villages in the Beaujolais wine producing area that has long stood out for the superior quality of their wines. "Superior" meaning - greater aromatic complexity, greater concentration and greater reliability.
The vineyard that the fruit was sourced - comes from one of the oldest winegrowing families in the Beaujolais. 'Les Vins Georges Duboeuf' was formed through the passion of a lifetime with wine by Georges Duboeuf. From the very beginning - he built on his reputation in restaurants of high quality, and it was in this way that his wines have won the approval from the world's great chefs. Georges Duboeuf wines are now found in over 140 countries - and he works closely with some 400 winegrowers in the region. Les Vins Georges Duboeuf is without doubt the most recognized Beaujolais wine brand worldwide.
In the glass you are greeted by a purple-magenta colour with a bright ruby hue. The nose has lifted notes of wild strawberry and cherry, fruit driven with a touch of earthiness. The palate is bright, pleasing and smooth, with good acidity and structure. A smooth, approachable wine with fine tannins, harmonious and a lively finish. Serve slightly chilled at 13-15°C.

Drinking perfectly well this summer; and over the next 12 months.

Perfect wine match with meat kebabs, bbq pork chops, pizza and creamy cheeses, enjoy.

Enjoy slightly chilled with good friends.


Chenin Blanc

Chenin Blanc is a white wine grape variety from the Loire valley of France and the wine region most closely associated with the variety. Chenin Blanc is an authorized planting in many AOC regions but is mostly planted in the Middle Loire AOCs of Anjou, Bonnezeaux, Crémant de Loire, Coteaux de l'Aubance, Coteaux du Layon, Jasnières, Montlouis, Quarts de Chaume, Saumur, Savennières, and Vouvray.


Chenin Blanc probably originated as a mutation of the Pineau d'Aunis (Chenin Noir) in Anjou - and is one of the world's most versatile grapes. Its high acidity means it can be used to craft everything from sparkling wines to well-balanced dessert and fortified wines, although it can produce very bland, neutral wines if the vine's natural vigour is not controlled. Outside the Loire it is found in most of the New World wine regions; it is the most widely planted variety in South Africa, also known as Steen. Chenin Blanc was often misidentified in Australia as well, so tracing its early history in the country is not easy, probably being introduced by James Busby.
The climate of a wine region will dictate whether Chenin Blanc is produced in a predominately sweet or dry style, while the vineyard soil type will generally influence the overall style of the wine. In cool areas the juice is sweet but high in acid with a full-bodied fruity palate. In the unreliable summers of northern France, the acidity of under ripe grapes are made into popular sparkling wines such as Crémant de Loire. The white wines of the Anjou AOC are perhaps the best expression of Chenin as a dry wine, with flavours of quince and apples. In nearby Vouvray they make an off-dry style, developing honey and floral characteristics with age.
The aromas and flavour characters of Chenin Blanc often include the descriptors of mineral, greengage, angelica and white honey. New World styles of Chenin, like those of South Africa, are more often made to be consumed young and exhibit rich tropical fruit notes such as banana, guava, pear and pineapple.


Wine in Brief:


Monday, October 8, 2012

Akarua 'Central Otago' Pinot Gris 2011

Grape Variety: 100% Pinot Gris
Growing Region: Bannockburn (Cairnmuir), New Zealand
Winemaker: Matt Connell
If you haven't made your way down to Central Otago, after visiting the region and the picture postcard vineyards of Akarua - you may find yourself wanting to stay. Those in the know are aware that Central Otago is producing exciting Pinot Gris that suits so many fresh everyday NZ cuisine choices.
Both Matt and long serving viticulturist Gillian Wilson aim to make wines that typify the amazing terroir of 'Bannockburn' and the surround vineyards sites, but most importantly - crafting early drinking wines that people love to share.
This Pinot Gris was sourced from the Clutha and Cairnmuir White vineyard sites which are approx 250 meters above sea level with a North West aspect. After harvesting - the fruit underwent a combination of fermentation with various yeast strains in stainless steel tanks and 15% in old neutral oak barriques - with the juice on lees being stirred once a week for 6 months.
The final blend of both sites and winemaking techniques has created a wine that in the glass is bright and clear with a pale golden hue. On the nose there are lifted aromas of orange blossom and pear juice. The palate is lush and layered with white peach and citrus flavours. Well structured with a richness and poise that typifies Akarua Pinot Gris. The wine finishes with a lively punch of fresh ginger and mineral notes. Chill and serve at 8°C.
Drinking perfectly well this coming summer; and well into 2013.
Perfect wine match with shellfish, Asian dishes and vegetarian cuisine, enjoy.
A vibrant expression of Pinot Gris.