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.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Riedel Stemware - 'Grape Specific'

 The world’s first ‘grape specific’ wine glass.
The Riedel family has never stamped its name on a single bottle of wine. But over the past 50 years, this Austrian company of master glassmakers has done more to enhance the appreciation of wine than almost any winemaking dynasty.

Working with experienced tasters, Riedel crafted grape specific wine glasses that showed more depth and better balance than when served in other glasses. Claus Josef  Riedel (1925-2004) laid the groundwork for stemware which was functional as well as beautiful, and made according to the Bauhaus design principle - where form follows function.
In 1961 a revolutionary concept was introduced, when the Riedel catalogue featured the first line of wine glasses created in different sizes and shapes. Before this, conventional stemware had used a single basic bowl shape, with only the size varying depending on use.
After 12 years of development - the concept was illustrated to perfection with the introduction of 10 shapes in the Sommeliers series (mouth blown stemware) launched in Orvieto, Italy in 1973, which achieved worldwide recognition. A wine glass was born that turns a sip into a celebration - a wine's best friend - fine tuned to match the grape!

You don't need to be a wine writer, a winemaker or an expert to taste the difference that a Riedel glass can make.
Bordeaux Style: (Cabernet Predominant) & Bold, Full Bodied Reds
The world's most discerning palates are involved with developing the Riedel glasses. These elegant 24% lead-crystal glasses showcase the best qualities of full-bodied red wines (especially Bordeaux), including those made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot as well as Rioja Gran Reserva wines. The generous bowl allows the bouquet to develop fully. This shape allows for more of the wine’s surface area to interact with oxygen, which will release the wine’s aromas and will allow you to experience the wine’s delicate nuances.
The cut rim directs the flow of wine to the middle of the tongue, which perceives dry and oaky characters typical in a bold red wine, allowing you to appreciate a harmonious balance of fruit flavours and tannin - plus pouring the correct volume of wine to assist with appreciating temperature and texture of this style of wine. The glass shape also enhances your appreciation of the wine's silky texture and prolonged finish. Riedel Stemware is dishwasher safe - though please note to clean glasses separately and only use the rinse cycle, no cleaning agents required.

• Or wash by hand under warm water; detergent is not necessary.
• Allow to air dry.
• For extra shine, steam over boiling water.
• If desired, carefully polish with a lint free cloth.
• Never twist the base and bowl - (as the torque can snap stem).
Sommeliers Bordeaux: First Growths, vintage, old vine, layered, premium Bold Reds.
Vinum XL: Warm climate, aged wines, integrated oak, quality Bold Red Wines.
Vitis: Warm climate, young vines, modern fruit driven style Red Wines.
Vinum: Warm climate, youthful vines, aromatic, fruit driven, balanced Red Wines.
‘O’: The bowl is that of the Vinum, the perfect glass for the beach, Bach and on the boat.
Burgundy Style: Pinot Noir
Riedel 'Sommeliers Burgundy Grand Cru' - The finest Burgundy wine glass of all time, suitable for both young and old Burgundy red wines.
Its shape, developed in 1958, represented a quantum leap in terms of wine glass design - and has earned it a place in the permanent display of the New York Museum of Modern Art.
This 'beautiful monster' of a glass can take apart a lesser wine, mercilessly showing up its weaknesses. But a great wine - a top-class Burgundy, Barolo or Barbaresco - will be revealed in all its brilliance. The large bowl allows the bouquet to develop to the full, while the slightly flared top lip maximises the fruit flavours by directing a precise flow onto the palate. Certain wines and grape varieties require this type of controlled delivery. By ensuring that the fruit is highlighted while using the marked acidity of the wine to keep the flavours in balance, this is a glass that produces a superbly three-dimensional 'taste profile'.

Each wine glass is fine-tuned to direct the flow of the wine onto parts of the palate that will best express the flavours and aromas of a specific wine varietal, in this case Pinot Noir. The fine crystal offers superb clarity so you can experience the wine's colour and texture.

The Vinum Burgundy glass is excellent for full-flavoured Pinot Noirs with high acidity and moderate tannins. The large bowl captures all the nuances of the wine's aroma.
Sommeliers Grand Cru Burgundy: Grand Cru, vintage, old vine, premium Pinot Noir.
Vitis: Warm climate, young vines, modern fruit driven style Pinot Noir.
Vinum XL: Warm climate, aged wines, integrated quality Pinot Noir.
Vinum: Warm climate, youthful vines, aromatic, fruit driven, balanced Pinot Noir.
‘O’: The bowl is that of the Vinum, the perfect glass for the beach, Bach and on the boat.

Talk with your local Fine Wine Retailer about which Riedel Stemware best suits your everyday needs. Also please enquire when and where the next 'Riedel Tasting Experience' is to be held in your area.
More 'Grape Specific' glass reviews to follow...

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio Valdadige D.O.C. 2011

Grape Variety: 100% Pinot Grigio

Growing Region: Trentino - Alto Adige, Italy

President: Count Paolo Marzotto

In 1961, Santa Margherita’s winemaker had the inspired idea of applying traditional sparkling white wine vinification techniques to the pink-hued Pinot Grigio grapes of Trentino - Alto Adige He immediately separated the skins from the must in the pressing phase and thus preventing them from yielding the typical hint of colour. Thus creating this innovative white wine with its characteristic fresh, fragrant bouquet and versatile taste, creating a revolution for the traditional wine sector. Ever since, (and this 2011 vintage is celebrating 50 years) it has continued to gain popularity and accolades both in Italy and around the world, maintaining its position as the benchmark by which all other Italian D.O.C. Pinot Grigio’s are judged.
Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio has been named the leading Italian wine in the USA and continues to be requested by name in restaurants the world over. This Pinot Grigio was harvested during the first two weeks of September and fermented for 10-15 days at cool temperatures in stainless steel tanks, with no malolactic fermentation - to retain the natural fresh characters.
This dry white wine has a pale straw yellow colour in the glass. Its clean, intense aroma and bone-dry taste, with an appealing lively palate with a pleasant crisp apple aftertaste makes Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio a wine with a delicate personality. Its crisp, elegant character makes it versatile for a wide array of light cuisine. Chill and serve at 8°C.

Drinking perfectly well this summer; and over the next 1-2 years.

Perfect wine match with shellfish, steamed white fish, sardines and summer salads, enjoy.

The benchmark Italian D.O.C. Pinot Grigio.


Wines of Brazil

Brazil the largest country in South America - and for some years now, the 5th largest wine producer in the Southern Hemisphere, has been making wine since its colonisation, but it was the arrival of Italian immigrants in 1875, that gave meaning to winemaking. Though over the past 10-15 years, the Brazilian wine industry has made a tremendous investment in technological innovation and vineyard management. Resulting in excellent wines recognized with over 2000 international wine awards worldwide.
Brazilian wine regions total approx 84,000 hectares; with over 1100 wineries around the country, mostly made up of small farms - averaging some 2ha per family. Brazil is now capable of producing fresh, fruity, balanced wines and with moderate alcohol levels. In the global scene, Brazilian bottled wine production has recently achieved 13th place as of 2011.
While Brazil has a relatively large number of vineyards, a significant portion of them produce table grapes, with only a few producing Brazilian bottled wine. As much of Brazil is close to the equator, much of the country is unsuitable for viticulture, due to too much heat and humidity. Most of the wine production of Brazil is concentrated in the south of the country, away from the equator, in the state of ‘Rio Grande do Sul’, which is close to Uruguay and Argentina. In this area, many of the vineyards are also located in cooler, elevated and hilly sites, with a large extent planted in the Serra Gaúcha region.
Over the centuries European vines have been introduced into Brazil on several occasions with limited success. The first vines were brought by the Portuguese in 1532, who planted them in the state São Paulo. Jesuits brought Spanish vines to ‘Rio Grande do Sul’ in 1626, and 18th century settlers from the Azores brought vine cuttings from Madeira. 1840 plantations of Isabella vines on the south coast of Rio Grande are considered the first successful vineyards in Brazil. By the late 1870s, winemaking was more established and had taken hold in Serra Gaúcha, where Italian immigrants did much of the vine-growing, and mostly American vines were produced, with Italian varieties and French added later. Wine production of higher quality in Brazil started in the 1970s, when several international wine companies began investing and bringing knowledge and modern equipment.

Serra Gaúcha is home to 90% of Brazilian wineries and is located north-east of Porto Alegre (the capital and largest city in the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul) in the mountainous region - where the climate is subtropical with mild and humid summers and vines concentrated between an altitude of 400-600m.
The wide valley of ‘Vale del Rio dos Antas’ is divided into five winegrowing areas of which Vale dos Vinhedos is the most recognised - with the vineyards located on gentle slopes between 450-650m. Vale dos Vinhedos was the first Brazilian region to receive the ‘Geographic Origin’ certification that was established in 2001.
Campanha / Fronteira is one of the new wine regions of Brazil, located in the Pampas lands that border Uruguay in the south of Rio Grande do Sul. The region has a mild climate with warm, dry summers, with vines planted near 300m above sea level.
Campos de Cima da Serra is a new wine region, at quite high altitudes of some 1000m, in Rio Grande do Sul.
Vale do São Francisco is located at latitude 9°-10° south, which is the closest wine region in the world to the equator. The region is sub-tropical and irrigation from the São Francisco River is essential for vine health. The valley is a semi-arid savannah with vines typically planted at an altitude of 350m.
It must be noted that table grapes still make up 80% of Brazil’s grape cultivation; all the vineyards planted in the last decade now grow European grape varieties with a primary focus on French varietals and then Italian styles. The sparkling wines still lead production and are well recognised, then Cabernet Francs, Cabernet Sauvignon and Tannat, Cabernet Franc and Malbec blends and more recently some Chardonnay’s are developing character.

Wine in Brief:


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Domaine Laroche Chablis 2011

Grape Variety: 100% Chardonnay
Growing Region: Chablis, France
Owner: Michel Laroche
Over the coming summer months, where you find yourself enjoying shellfish, seafood cuisine or a summer salad - I encourage you to open a Chablis and have your taste buds refreshed by the clean, crisp characters of this elegant wine.
The grapes are sourced from up to 40 local grape growers who have a long term relationship with Domaine Laroche. They work closely the whole year with the Laroche technical team. According to a tradition in Chablis, the grapes are crushed and pressed on the property of origin. The whole bunches were pressed for 12 hours settling at 12 to 15°C in specially designed wide tanks that accelerate the natural settling process and produce very clear juice. Then 15 days of fermentation at 16°C in stainless steel tanks, with 6 months on fine lees - and then finally minimal filtration to preserve the natural characters of the wine. 
In the glass you have a pale gold colour. The nose is youthful and bright with citrus and mineral nuances. On the palate this wine is vibrant with a harmonious palate full of flavours of apple, pear and a hint of spring blossom. A bright fresh Chablis, tinged with mineral notes, restrained, lean and elegant, the acidity is refreshing, with a smooth, round palate and lingering flavours of white honey, crisp apple and citrus notes on the finish. Chill and serve at 8-10°C.
Drinking perfectly well this summer; and will age well for another 3-5 years.
Perfect wine match with oysters, Asian seafood and vegetarian cuisine, enjoy.
A bright and lively summer wine.



Parellada is a white grape variety of Catalan origin specially grown in the Catalonia region of Spain. Along with Macabeo and Xarel•lo, Parellada is one of the three traditional varieties used to make the Spanish sparkling wine Cava, which is primarily produced in Catalonia as well as Tarragona up through the Penedès and beyond. Besides its use in Cava, it is used predominantly for blending in young white wines, plus some more dynamic wines aged in oak and blended with Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc are also made. Spanish plantings of Parellada stood at some 18,000 hectares back in 2011.


Parellada can be very productive and of a high quality - it tends to do best in cooler climates where citrus and apple aromas are created along with a good acidity, contributing delicacy and aroma when blended traditionally in Spanish Cava. It is rare to find varietal wines made from this grape, so most likely you will need to share a bottle of Cava to appreciate its natural character. Creating a wine with good natural acidity and freshness makes these wines extremely suitable as an aperitif.
Parellada grows best in cooler regions with poor soils but has a tendency to over-crop and make bland wines in richer, more fertile sites. It also does well when grown in high limestone terrain like that above the Penedès valley near Barcelona. The grapes themselves are large and loosely clustered in the bunches - which makes it less susceptible to fungal diseases like botrytis.
Also, despite its capacity to thrive in semi-arid conditions, Parellada allows for a sharp profile and green apple acidity, refraining from moving towards intense fruit, alcohol or phenolics when in the right hands and cultivated in relatively cool meso-climates. Among a select few winemakers throughout the Costers del Segre and Cariñena regions, Parellada wines may also be given further palate weight with time on its skins. However around the world, Parellada is renown mostly for its role as the most complex of the three traditional grape varieties used to craft Cava, alongside Macabeo and Xarel•lo.

Wine in Brief:



Sunday, November 11, 2012

Tupari 'Awatere Valley' Sauvignon Blanc 2011

Grape Variety: 100% Sauvignon Blanc
Growing Region: Awatere Valley, New Zealand
Winemaker: Glenn Thomas
Tupari Wines is a small artisan wine producer located in the Awatere Valley sub-appellation of Marlborough in the South Island of New Zealand. The vineyard takes its name from the dramatic cliffs forming the upper Awatere Valley where the Turnbull family (who are generous hosts I must add) and pioneering winemaker Glenn Thomas have collaborated to create wines of distinction.
The vineyard is situated on north-facing river flats overlooking the braided Awatere River. Their carefully nurtured grapes allow Glenn to create sophisticated, elegant wines displaying striking flavour intensity and finely honed structure and balance. This single-vineyard wine is taken from two distinct areas - the minerality from the 'Boulder Block' and the white stone-fruit characteristics from 'Campers Flat' are combined to create a wine of balanced complexity.
The grapes are harvested as two separate batches before being gently pressed at the winery. Yeast strains are specifically selected to add layers of flavour and the wine is left on its lees for 6 months, stirred weekly, to enhance the creamy palate texture. The 2011 vintage had 10% of the wine placed into well seasoned oak barrels to create further textural characters.
The 2011 Tupari Sauvignon Blanc shows lifted stone-fruit with a hint of passion-fruit and a rich palate texture showing mineral and citrus flavours. The long and full palate finishes with a refreshing mineral note and clean acidity. Chill and serve at 8-10°C.
Drinking perfectly well this summer; and over the next 3-4 years.
Perfect wine match with seafood, baked scallops, freshly shucked oysters or seared crisp snapper, enjoy.
Taking Sauvignon Blanc to another level.



Lambrusco is both the name a red wine grape and an Italian wine made principally from the same grape. The grapes and the wine originate from four areas in Emilia-Romagna and one in Lombardy, mainly around the central provinces of Modena, Parma, Reggio nell'Emilia, and Mantua. The grape has a long winemaking history with evidence showing that the Etruscans cultivated the vine.
The most highly rated of its wines are the frizzante (slightly sparkling) red wines that are designed to be enjoyed young from one of the five Lambrusco DOC regions: Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro, Lambrusco di Sorbara, Lambrusco Salamino di Santa Croce, Lambrusco Reggiano and Lambrusco Mantovano.


The 6 most commonly found grape varieties are; Lambrusco Salamino, Lambrusco Maestri, Lambrusco Marani, Lambrusco Montericco, Lambrusco Grasparossa and Lambrusco Sorbara, and all are indigenous to Emilia. The grape itself is not particularly sweet but many of the sweet Lambrusco wines are made by either partial fermentation or with the addition of the sweeter Ancellotta grapes to the final wine blend. When fermented dry, the Lambrusco grape is capable of producing a wine with strawberry notes and a slight bitter finish. Today over 60 varieties of the Lambrusco grape have been indentified, scattered throughout Italy including; Piedmont, Sicily and Veneto.

Although traditional Italian Lambrusco was produced as a sweet wine, today there are various levels of sweetness / dryness, including secco (dry), amabile (off-dry / slightly sweet) and dolce (sweet). The wine is also noted for high acidity and bright berry flavours.  Today the wine is rarely made in a ‘champagne’ style - it is typically made using the 'Charmat' process where secondary fermentation takes place in a pressurized stainless steel tank. Lambrusco wines still have a rather high profile in several wine markets -  even though wine quality is not what is once was. It still must be made from at least 85% Lambrusco grapes, with the remaining 15% often being made up with the Ancellotta grape.

Wine in Brief:


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Arrogant Frog ‘Lily Pad Pink’ Sparkling Rosé

Grape Varieties: Cuveé - Syrah, Grenache, Cinsault
Growing Region: Languedoc, France
Owner / Head Winemaker: Jean-Claude Mas
Jean-Claude Mas comes from a family with a long tradition of wine-making in southern France, dating back to 1892. This Sparkling Rosé embodies the regions way of life, which includes an appreciation of good food, family, culture and fun times. A bright and vibrant rosé that can be shared anywhere good food and smiles are to be had.
The Arrogant Frog ‘Lily Pad Pink' is a dry sparkling Rosé sourced from a variety of the best vine growing regions in the south of France. This sparkling was crafted by the Charmat method, where the second fermentation was made in vats (one month in the vat, developing on its lees). When the cuveé of the three different varieties is made the ‘liqueur tirage’ is then added. The fermentation in closed vat lasts for 4 weeks; this is the time where the bubbles come into being. The result is a natural sparkling wine, with a delicate and persistent mousse.
As you pour the wine in your flute a salmon-pink colour, and fine bubbles will rise. The bubbles release a subtle bouquet of small summer berries, reminding you of gooseberry, raspberry and wild strawberries. These notes also carry through onto the palate, which is soft and full of bright fruits. Due its residual sugar of 24g/L - chill and served at a cold temperature of 6 to 8°C.
Drinking perfectly well this summer; and over the next 2-3 years.
Perfect wine match with salmon hors d'oeuvres, and a dessert made with red fruits, enjoy.
Bright and refreshing for any summer occasion.


Maipo Valley DO - Chile

The Maipo Valley is the birthplace of Chile’s wine production, and the closest wine region to the capital city of Santiago. It is the best known wine region of Chile, as it produces some of the finest wines. The Maipo Valley features the most important dates in viticultural - as in 1555, the first wine production of Chile was officially certificated; the introduction of French grape varieties from 1851 to 1994; and eventually the rediscovery of the long mistaken Carmenére grape variety in 1998.
From Santiago - vineyards stretch east to the Andes Mountains and west to the coast to form three distinct sectors of the Maipo Valley best known for its well-balanced red wines. Alto Maipo reaches into the foothills and produces some of Chile’s leading Cabernets. Central Maipo is one of the country’s oldest and most diverse productive regions, and Coastal Maipo - a relative newcomer, benefits from the cool maritime influence that glides over and between the coastal mountains.
The climate in the Maipo Valley is stable with hot dry summers and short mild winters with 450mm of rain and extreme diurnal temperature differences. 10,000 hectares are planted with 8,000 ha of red varieties, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Carmenére, Syrah, Cabernet Franc and Malbec; with the remaining 2,000ha are planted in traditional white varieties, such as Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon.
Most of the country´s oldest wineries are based in the Maipo Valley, expanding more and more to other wine regions. Being drier and warmer than 'newer' wine regions, Maipo is more suited to red grape varieties and is firmly established as a producer of world-class Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay are also widely grown in the region, and plantings of Carmenére, Chile's 'icon' grape, are increasing each year. Drip irrigation gives viticulturalists a weapon against the lengthy dry periods, and the introduction of new technologies like temperature controlled stainless steel tanks and new oak barrels allow controlled fermentation and quality wine production.


Wine in Brief: