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 1, 2013

WINEGUY.CO.NZ

The only constant in the universe is change. Today is the first day of summer in the southern hemisphere. Today the television signal of New Zealand has officially gone digital. 4G mobile networks are more common place, super broad-band internet is being rolled out across the country and the world. Computers, Laptops, Tablets and Smart-phones are changing, updating and upgrading as you read this.
So what better day to release my ‘new’ website. All of the wine reviews - wine articles plus much more that you have enjoyed here on this ‘blog-site’ have moved, upgraded to a brand new website called - yes you guessed it: wineguy.co.nz.
Many of the wine articles have been updated, plus there are several new features, information and wine resources added - happy reading. [Simply click on the icon]

http://www.wineguy.co.nz/


Sunday, November 24, 2013

Matawhero 'Church House' Chenin Blanc 2013

Grape Variety: 100% Chenin Blanc
 
Growing Region: Gisborne, New Zealand
 
Owners: Kirsten & Richard Searle
 
TASTING NOTE:
Chenin Blanc is one of the classic grape varieties of the world - slightly lost in translation here in New Zealand for a number of years - but with a confident and relevant approach, this expression is something to please the taste buds and pair with varied summer cuisine. The grapes for this wine were sourced Pete Briant’s vineyard in the Patutahi region just across the river from Matawhero.
After regular deliberations between the viticulturist and winemaker the Chenin Blanc was harvested when the grapes were flavour ready. Harvesting took place in the cool of the morning; with the fruit reaching superb ripeness after one of the best summers on record in Gisborne.
Once in the winery - the grapes were swiftly crushed and pressed ensuring that the brightest, most delicate flavours and aromas were protected during fermentation. Careful temperature management during fermentation has helped protect and develop this wines full expression. Once the perfect balance had been achieved the Chenin Blanc was separated from the fermentation solids to maximise the expression of this crisp variety’s wonderful floral and citrus characters.
In the glass you have a pale straw colour with golden highlights. On the nose this Chenin Blanc is showing citrus blossom, floral and orange zest notes. The well balanced palate has an abundance of lime, white peach and honeysuckle characters with fresh acidity - giving the wine a lively finish. Chill and serve at 8ºC.
 
CELLARING POTENTIAL:
Drinking perfectly well this summer season; and through until the end of 2014.
 
SUGGESTED FOOD MATCHES:
Perfect wine match with seafood, Asian cuisine, and fresh flavoured summer salads, enjoy.
 
An old refreshing classic, ready for summer.
 
    
 

Fiano Grape:

Fiano is an Italian white wine grape variety that is grown primarily in the Campania region of southern Italy and on the island of Sicily. In Campania this grape is particularly noted around Avellino where the DOCG wine of Fiano di Avellino is produced.  The grape has a long history in the Campania region and is believed to have been the grape behind the ancient Roman wine Apianum.  Even today, the name Apianum is permitted to appear on wine labels of the DOCG wine Fiano di Avellino.
Outside of Italy, several Australian wine producers have begun to use the grape. Production and vineyards are still small, but one place showing good results is in the McLaren Vale wine region of South Australia.  More recently, some winemakers in Argentina are producing Fiano in the La Rioja district north of Mendoza.
 

Ampelographers and wine historians connect Fiano with southern Italy, and believe it has origins in ancient Roman viticulture and perhaps may have even been cultivated by the ancient Greeks before them. The small, thick-skinned berries of Fiano usually produce very little juice and, given the vines natural tendency for low yields, can make Fiano an unprofitable grape to grow. However, in recent years, the variety has enjoyed a lift in interest as southern Italian wineries invest in modernized winemaking techniques and equipment, as well as a desire to revitalize indigenous and classical varietals.
For the Fiano di Avellino DOCG, at least 85% of the wine must be made from Fiano with Greco, Coda di Volpe and Trebbiano permitted in the blend. Grapes destined for this DOCG wine must be limited to a maximum harvest yield of 10 tonnes per hectare and fermented to a minimum alcohol level of 11.5%. In its youth Fiano is often intensely flavoured and aromatic with, floral and honey notes that over time develop spicy and hazelnut notes. The introduction of modern winemaking techniques with its emphasis on limiting oxidation and preserving varietal freshness, have improved the overall quality of Fiano wines over recent years.

Wine in Brief:




    

    

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Jules Taylor 'Marlborough' Sauvignon Blanc 2013

Grape Variety: 100% Sauvignon Blanc
 
Growing Region: Marlborough, New Zealand
 
Owner / Winemaker: Jules Taylor
 
TASTING NOTE:
Most of the country has now started to enjoy long sunny, summer days - encouraging each of us to think about and serve fresh seafood cuisine, including shellfish, white fish and seasonal salads. So to pair with these fresh flavours you need a bright, lively and crisp white wine - so on que enters this dynamic Sauvignon Blanc. The fruit for this quality, layered Sauvignon Blanc was grown in the Hawkesbury, Lower Wairau & Awatere Valley sub regions of Marlborough.
Each carefully harvested parcel of fruit was chosen for its specific contribution to the aroma, flavour and structure of the final wine blend. In order to respect and reflect the flavours of each individual vineyard parcel to come through in the final blend, Jules kept the winemaking deliberately uncomplicated. As the parcels of fruit came into the winery, they were pressed and cold settled over a period of 48 hours. After racking the juice off its lees, a cool fermentation with selected yeast strains took place over a good length of time. Post fermentation, the individual components were then tasted and blended, stabilised and bottled capturing the grape varietal freshness.
In the glass the wine has a pale lime colour, with a lemon hue. On the nose this Sauvignon Blanc shows aromas of fruit salad, passion-fruit and white peach, pineapple skin notes with underlying green peppers and tomato vine leaves. On the palate the wine is wrapped in a juicy acidity and those tropical flavours of passion-fruit, pineapple and subtle lychee notes shine through with restrained herbaceous notes rounding out the lively, crisp dry finish. Chill and serve at 8ºC.
 
CELLARING POTENTIAL:
Drinking perfectly well this summer season; and through until the middle of 2014.
 
SUGGESTED FOOD MATCHES:
Perfect wine match with simple served shellfish, steamed or grilled white fish and a freshly tossed summer salad, enjoy.
 
An iconic Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.
 
    
 

Bolgheri Wine Region - Italy:

Bolgheri is located in the commune of Castagneto Carducci, a 270 kilometers north-west of Rome and lies in the Province of Livorno in Italy, on the foothills of the Colline Metallifere, south of Montescudaio. Due to the unique characteristics of the soil and micro climate sunny, dry and moderate winds, the grape varieties of Bordeaux origin tend to thrive, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Mario Incisa della Rocchetta planted the first Cabernet vineyard in Castiglioncello di Bolgheri in 1944. The first bottle of Sassicaia, with the same label we know today, appeared in 1968.

The DOC certification for the red wines took many years to recognize that the brilliant insight of the Marquis Incisa had created a unique phenomenon in the history of Italian wine: that phenomenon which makes Bolgheri wines a full and grand expression of terroir, wines which are deeply linked to the soil and climate of their territory. Among the most known wines with an original and personal character - were called "Super Tuscan" producers are Tenuta San Guido who produce Sassicaia, Tenuta Dell'Ornellaia who produce Ornellaia, and Ca'Marcanda of Gaja, Guado al Tasso of Antinori.
 
 
The current set of DOC regulations for Bolgheri red wines became approved in 1994. Before the creation of this DOC, the "Super Tuscans" from the area were typically sold under the simpler designations Vino da tavola or IGT Toscana. The area covered by the DOC Bolgheri has expanded rapidly in the past ten years, going from 250 hectares at the end of the 90s, to now surpassing 1000 hectares.
The production rules of 1994 permitted the production of:
Bolgheri Rosso - (Bolgheri red wine).
Bolgheri Superiore - (superior level Bolgheri red wine).
Bolgheri Sassicaia - limited to vineyards on the land owned by the San Guido estate.
Cabernet Sauvignon (with a minimum of 10% to a maximum of 80%). Merlot and Sangiovese (optional), in varying percentages (from 0 to 70%) - Rosso must be aged for 24 months.
Bolgheri Bianco (Bolgheri white), based on Vermentino with complementary percentages of Trebbiano and Sauvignon Blanc.
The sub-zone Sassicaia has its own appellation declaration; with up to 85% of Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Cabernet Franc, it must be aged for 26 months and is expected to be upgraded to DOCG status. A recent modification of the appellation rules, have changed the percentages permitted in blends: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, or Cabernet Franc: 0-100%; Sangiovese: 0-50%; Syrah: 0-40%.
On December 14, 1995, the official wine-growers association for the protection of Bolgheri DOC Wines was founded. The symbol adopted by the Consortium was the cypress, the element which characterizes the Tuscan countryside, and which has become celebrated in this area due to the famous road which connects Bolgheri to San Guido. The straight, six-kilometre long road, of trees represents the cohesion of the producers who decided to join together in a close-knit group, with the aim of enhancing, promoting and defending quality wine production in the territory.

Wine in Brief:





    

    

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Brookfields 'Back Block' Syrah 2013

Grape Variety: 100% Syrah
 
Growing Region: Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand
 
Owner / Chief Winemaker: Peter Robertson
 
TASTING NOTE:
As the name states - the fruit for this wine is sourced from the ‘Back Block’ vineyard located on the Ohiti Estate in Hawke’s Bay. The grapes ripen here extremely well every season due to the vines being surrounded by hills and growing on a shingle free draining base, with the vines facing northerly in direction, thus ideal for achieving physiological ripeness.
The flavour packed fruit was harvested on the 19th of April, where it was fermented in tank to retain varietal integrity. The grape cap was pumping over on a regular basis to extract balanced colour, aroma and palate characters. The time on the skins was approximately three weeks. It was then pressed and immediately went back into tank, for malolactic fermentation, it was then transferred to age and develop further layers for a limited time in oak barrels. 
In the glass this 2013 ‘Back Block’ Syrah is rich in colour with a magenta edge, accompanied by a most inviting palate. Made in an extractive manner due to the ripeness, the ‘Back Block’ Syrah has intensely dark berry flavours, with a moreish palate. Typical notes of white pepper, with subtle spices are evident, wrapped in ripe black Doris plum. With this 2013 vintage - ripeness is the key to this wines early appeal. The barrel mix is French and American, some of which were coopered in Portugal. Time in oak barrel was limited, hence the early approachability of this Syrah.  Decant for 30-45 minutes and serve at 16-18ºC.
 
CELLARING POTENTIAL:
Drinking perfectly well this summer season; and over the next 2-3 years.
 
SUGGESTED FOOD MATCHES:
Perfect wine match with roast meats, slow cooked Duck dishes, freshly made sessoned pasta and hard cheeses, enjoy.
 
Well balanced, early drinking style Syrah.
 
    
 

Baga Grape - Portugal:

Baga is one of the highest yielding Portuguese red wine grape varieties, planted largely in the Bairrada DOC region. Bairrada is the famous home of this difficult Baga grape, but it is also found widely elsewhere in the Beiras, including Dão and Ribatejo where it is blended across other indigenous grape varieties. Baga grapes are small, dark thick-skinned - which makes for high tannin levels with high acidity, with the grapes are known to ripen late, and even poorly in cooler, conditions. Baga - the name meaning ‘berry’ performs best on clay soils and requires good sun exposure. Even then, it is highly susceptible to rot, especially in the regions September rains. The vines produce extensive foliage, creating a lot of work in the vineyard for quality-conscious grape growers.
 
 
Baga requires a very warm growing season to achieve full physiological ripeness, Baga wines have deep colour and a rich but lean, tannic, high-acid structure, with clear flavours of berries and black plums and hints of coffee, tobacco and smoke, this unique grape variety whose ratio of skin to pulp makes even Cabernet Sauvignon appear gentle!
Though often astringent when young, Baga wines, especially the best ones from Bairrada can age remarkably well, softening and gaining elegance and a herb, cedar note, dried red fruits, that age into elegant wines of great complexity
The aroma starts out with red cherry/berry fruit developing into red/black plum, tobacco and coffee bean flavours finishing with expansive complexity. The grape’s ample acid leads to quality sparkling wine production, and it is often proclaimed as the best in Portugal comes from the region of Bairrada.
Baga, wine, has an acquired taste for many; it’s not for the faint of heart. With the vibrant acidity and ample tannins it pairs well with rich foods. Locally it is traditional to pair with rich suckling pig, in other regions pork belly to duck, from rich pastas to heavy stews. As a sparkling wine, they can pair well with tapas to spring rolls, samosas to varied crudités.

Wine in Brief:





    

    

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Lake Chalice 'Marlborough' Sauvignon Blanc 2013

Grape Variety: 100% Sauvignon Blanc
 
Growing Region: Talon Vineyard, Grovetown, Marlborough, New Zealand
 
Head Winemaker: Matt Thomson
 
TASTING NOTE:
With summer just around the corner - what better wine to pair with fresh fish and a summer salad than a Sauvignon Blanc. Lake Chalice have a long and respected history of crafting fruit forward, early drinking style Sauvignon Blanc wines - and this 2013 is made to impress any summer occasion. Talking with the guys behind Lake Chalice, they are very pleased with their new Talon Vineyard in the Dillons Point area, east of Blenheim the source of the fruit for this wine.
The block is one of the last in the area to be planted under vines. Matt and Phil identified this area as ideal Sauvignon Blanc country some time ago and spent 18 months searching before being able to secure this block in 2007, with the first crop harvested in 2009.
This site now ensure that they can source Sauvignon Blanc from all the main sub-regions of Marlborough (Awatere Valley, Rapaura, Lower Waihopai, Renwick and now Dillons Point Road) and will able them to maintain a consistent style and quality for this estate label expression. The Talon Vineyard provided 67% of this blend with the balance coming from two other vineyards in the same area of Marlborough’s Wairau Plain.
The harvested fruit was promptly delivered to the winery and pressed without delay to enable minimal skin contact. Cool fermentation took place in stainless steel tanks using selected yeasts.
In the glass you will have a pale straw coloured wine with green hues. On the nose you will find lifted aromas of passion-fruit and blackcurrant leaves. The palate is dry and crisp, a medium bodied wine with a refreshing and lively palate. The mouth-watering acidity is balanced by a subtle mineral note giving this wine a lingering finish. Chill and serve at 8ºC.
 
CELLARING POTENTIAL:
Drinking perfectly well this summer season; and through to the middle of 2014.
 
SUGGESTED FOOD MATCHES:
Perfect wine match with freshly caught shellfish, grilled white fish with a freshly tossed summer salad, enjoy.
 
Crisp, lively, early drinking Sauvignon Blanc.

    
 

Vosne-Romanée

Vosne-Romanée produces Burgundy's most celebrated wines, made entirely from the Pinot Noir grape. It has been said - that amongst the stars in the night sky which shine above the Cote de Nuits, Vosne-Romanée is the brightest star. Vosne-Romanée received its AOC on the 11th September 1936, Vosne-Romanée today covers just over 200 hectares of vineyards that nestle between Nuits St.Georges and Flagey-Echézeaux - in 1861 only 167 hectares had such a classification.  Not until 1866 was Romanée appended to Vosne, the new name was part hommage, part marketing and without doubt brought and still brings an extra level of distinction to ‘Vosne’ and its wine.
 

Vosne-Romanée wine is produced in the commune of Vosne-Romanée in Côte de Nuits of Burgundy as well as in the neighbouring commune of Flagey-Échezeaux. There are a total of 15 Premier Cru vineyards in the two communes, as well as six Grand Cru vineyards in Vosne-Romanée and two in Flagey-Échezeaux, which are Burgundy's most iconic, sought-after and expensive red wines.
In 2008 154 hectares of vineyard were in production for Vosne-Romanée wine at village and Premier Cru level, and nearly 6000 hectoliters of wine produced, corresponding to almost 800,000 bottles. Within both communes, there are vineyards on the plains to the east of the N74, which are only entitled to the regional Bourgogne appellation. To the east of the town are vineyards that are only entitled to the village appellation. The premier crus in Vosne cover some 57ha, often on slopes exposed to either the east or south-east. These soils tend to have less depth and contain a higher proportion of limestone than those in the village vineyards and the topsoil is mainly scree, making for excellent drainage.
The AOP regulations allow up to 15% Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris as accessory grapes in the red wines, but this is not practiced to any greater extent. The allowed base yield is 40 hectoliter per hectare and the grapes must reach a maturity of at least 10.5% alcohol for village-level wines and 11% for Premier Cru wine.
The style of Vosne-Romanée wines is often described as a combination of elegance and power. The best examples of Grand Cru wines of this village are often seen as the ultimate expression of Pinot Noir: Vosne is described as the pearl of the Cote, with the assembled vineyards being the pick of its greatest crus: Romanée and Richebourg, Tache and Suchots, noble wines of velvet, fire, and exquisite grace. Vosne-Romanée is arguably the greatest Pinot Noir village on earth, with a style of wine which are rich, austere, masculine though refined. They combine a delicate though well-defined bouquet, a velvety depth of flavour with a lingering but firm finish.

Wine in Brief:




    

    

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Tupari ‘Awatere Valley’ Sauvignon Blanc 2012

Grape Variety: 100% Sauvignon Blanc
 
Growing Region: Awatere Valley, New Zealand
 
Owner / Winemaker: Glenn Thomas
 
TASTING NOTE:
I recently caught up with Glenn in Blenheim - where we sampled several wines including the new vintage (still in tank and barrel) along with this outstanding 2012 Sauvignon Blanc.
Tupari Wines is a small artisan vineyard located in the 'Awatere Valley' 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 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. As in previous years Glenn has crafted a sophisticated, elegant wine displaying striking flavour intensity with good structure and balance. This single-vineyard wine comes from two distinct sites - the minerality from the 'Boulder' block and the lively fruit characters from 'Campers Flat' block are combined in a wine with balanced complexity.
The grapes for this wine were harvested as two separate parcels before being gently pressed. Glenn selected two specific yeast strains to add layers of flavour, and 10% of the wine was placed in well seasoned oak barrels to create textual complexity. The wine was then left on the lees for 6 months, stirred weekly to enhance the texture of the mid palate.
In the glass you will find a pale straw colour with green hints.  On the nose the wine shows white peach and subtle passion-fruit notes and a distinct mineral quality which is the hallmarks of this wine. The portion of oak combined with extended time on lees has created a palate that is plentiful and showing mineral and citrus flavours on the finish. Chill and serve at 9-10ºC.
 
CELLARING POTENTIAL:
Drinking perfectly well this summer season; and over the next 12 months.
 
SUGGESTED FOOD MATCHES:
Perfect wine match with shellfish, river trout, grilled snapper and a fresh summer salad, enjoy.
 
A distinct mineral quality.

    
 

Colchagua Valley Wine Region - Chile:

The Colchagua Valley wine area is one of Chile’s best known wine regions. It was named the ‘World’s Best Wine Region’ in 2005 by Wine Enthusiast Magazine and is known for its full-bodied red wines crafted from Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carménère and Syrah. Located 180 km south of Santiago, the Colchagua Valley occupies the southern part of the larger Rapel Valley. Colchagua vineyards run from the Andes Mountains in the east to the Coastal Range in the west. Most of Colchagua's most important vineyards lie in the foothills of the Coastal Range, as well as the sub-regions of Apalta, Peralillo and Lolol.
 

The Colchagua Valley has a slightly cooler climate than the Maipo Valley located to the north, but having a Mediterranean climate, like most of Chile’s wine regions. Colchagua’s red varietals tend to be planted in the warmer east of the region, with the white Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc varietals in the cooler, ocean-influenced west. The region is characterized by steep slopes of well-drained granite soils, irrigated by the Tinguiririca River which flows through the valley bringing clear melt water from the Andes.
The valley’s diverse soils and microclimates is ideal for a numerous array of quality varietals; but extra attention has been paid to the Bordeaux varietals introduced in the late 19th century before Europe suffered its phylloxera crisis. Cabernet Sauvignon, Carménère, Syrah and Merlot yield excellent, very concentrated wines, with red fruit focus and ripe tannins. The valley’s hot climate makes it ideal for producing powerful red wines, but experimentation in cooler areas in the west is resulting in lighter-style varietal wines, particularly Sauvignon Blanc.
The Colchagua Valley is emerging as the king of Chilean reds, and the regions wineries are demonstrating the quality of wines crafted from Bordeaux-style blends, like those from 115 year-old Carménère vines. The Montes Winery, founded in 1988 by esteemed Chilean winemaker Aurelio Montes and three business partners and located in the region has played a key role in reviving the Chilean wine industry and launching it to the level of international acclaim.

Wine in Brief:




   

    

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Grower’s Mark 'Marlborough' Sauvignon Blanc 2013

Grape Variety: 100% Sauvignon Blanc
 
Growing Region: Marlborough, New Zealand
 
Winemaker: Kim Crawford
 
TASTING NOTE:
You have heard that every great wine is made in the vineyard and the Grower's Mark wines champion this philosophy and their grape growers. Every farmer has a 'reserve block' or a few select rows which show something special each vintage. They also chose the rose as their Growers Mark as it has long been utilised in grape growing as an early warning system for disease. All the wines are sustainably grown, ensuring the vineyards remain for our future generations along with producing a range of exciting varietal-expressive wines.
Renowned viticulturist Jeremy Hyland selected three vineyards to supply grapes for this wine. One in the lower Awatere to give minerality to the wine, one in the lower Waihoepai to give tropical notes and one in the Wairau to give the herbaceous punch. Once in the winery the grapes were crushed and gently pressed, cold settled for 36 hours and then juice was inoculated and fermented towards dryness.
In the glass the wine is a pale straw colour, with a subtle green hue. On the nose the wine has lifted sweet passion-fruit notes along with beach grass, underscored with typical herbaceous characters associated with good Sauvignon Blanc.  On the palate the wine is quintessentially a Marlborough Sauvignon. A burst of ripe fruit, passion-fruit and gooseberry backed with subtle herbaceous and delicate white pepper notes. The palate also has firm acidity which is balanced with good fruit weight, giving the wine great persistence of flavour on the finish.  Chill and serve at 8ºC.
 
CELLARING POTENTIAL:
Drinking perfectly well this summer season; and through to the middle of 2014.
 
SUGGESTED FOOD MATCHES:
Perfect wine match with shellfish, freshly caught white fish with a summer salad, and light style Asian cuisine - enjoy.
 
A dynamic Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.

    
 

Ribera Del Duero Wine Region - Spain:

Located in north-central Spain, to the southwest of Rioja, the high altitude plain of Ribera del Duero is Tempranillo country, with nearly all of the best wines made from this grape varietal. As a wine region, Ribera del Duero came to prominence in the 1980s - and was granted its DO on 21st July 1982 when only 9 bodegas were operating, today there are over 270 wineries alongside the banks of the Duero River covering an area of approximately 112kms long and 36kms wide. The DO also allows for the use of Garnacha, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and the white grape, Albillo in the blending process.
Most of Ribera del Duero's production is red, with only a modest quantity of Rosado produced. No white wines are allowed under the DO. The practice of winemaking in Ribera dates back more than 2,000 years to the Roman era. With a tradition of winemaking stretching back generations, small family bodegas exist alongside state-of-the-art, corporate-owned wineries. Approximately one-third of the vines planted on its 20,600ha are over 50 years old, and 3% are over 100 years old.
 

Ribera del Duero owes its success to a combination of factors, its terroir of schist sub-soil, its microclimate, with its high altitude and extreme diurnal variation, ensures ripeness while preserving the vivacity of the fruit, aromatic flavours and refreshing acidity. Plus the ideal conditions to ripen an exceptional native grape, Tempranillo (also known as Tinto del País or Tinto Fino). This yields superb, complex red wines that are delicious when young but which also have the capacity to age into magnificent Gran Reservas.
The DO rules govern Ribera's barrel-aged styles as for Rioja: Crianzas are aged for 2 years before release with at least 1 year in oak, Reservas must be 3 years old with at least 1 year spent in oak, and finally Gran Reservas must be 5 years old before release, with two years spent in barrel. The young (Joven) unoaked red wines called Roble, tend to boast a moreish, vibrant, bramble fruit while the best oak-aged styles of Crianza, Reserva and Gran Reserva show intense, generous fruit overlaid with notes of vanilla and sweet spice, wrapped in integrated tannins. Most vines are planted at between 750m and 915m above sea level - the combination of climate, altitude, soil and winemakers’ dedication creates wines that are simultaneously powerful and elegant. They are international in style, yet distinctly Spanish at the same time.

Wine in Brief:




    

    

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Cecchi Chianti Classico DOCG 2011

Grape Variety: 90% Sangiovese, 10% Colorino
 
Growing Region: Chianti Classico region, Tuscany, Italy
 
Chief Winemaker: Andrea Cecchi
 
TASTING NOTE:
I have had the pleasure to be a guest of the Cecchi family on a number of occasions over the years. Each time I visit their vineyards across Tuscany - it is clear to see the Cecchi family has a deep connection with their carefully crafted wines and their unique terroir. When you taste their wines made from indigenous grape varieties - they have a character, style and quality which only a hands on history and extensive experience can create.
Cecchi family estates, conservation for the land is a key focus, because each estate’s particular environmental characteristics are responsible for the quality and personality of the wines. The fruit for this wine was sourced from their own vineyards located in Castellina in Chianti, the area of Chianti Classico. The vines are planted some 305m above sea level, where the soil is poor, stony and calcareous.
After carefully harvesting the fruit, the grapes underwent a traditional fermentation on the skins for 18 days. The wine was then aged in small oak barrels and barriques for 9-12 months. The wine has a lively ruby-red colour, turning toward garnet on the edge. On the nose your will find emphasized violet aromas, with rich cherry notes. On the palate the rich cherry flavours and sutble spice notes come through, balanced with soft tannins and integrated oak. The wine is well balanced and dry with a lingering fruit driven finish. Decant for 30 minutes and serve at 16-18ºC.
 
CELLARING POTENTIAL:
Drinking perfectly well this summer season; and will develop further over the next 4-5 years.
 
SUGGESTED FOOD MATCHES:
Perfect wine match with seasoned red meats, mushroom pasta and aged, hard cheeses, enjoy.
 
A classic Chianti, true to its terroir.