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, March 31, 2013

Akarua 'Central Otago' Riesling 2012

Grape Variety: 100% Riesling
Growing Region: Central Otago, New Zealand
Head Winemaker: Matt Connell
With New Zealand still enjoying a long summer, what better way to share the last long weekend with friends before we change our clocks for autumn/winter - than to enjoy a refreshing glass of wine with some shellfish on the BBQ. This bright Riesling from Akarua in Central Otago was perfect for the occasion.
The fruit for this wine was sourced from the Redback Ridge vineyard which is exclusively a Riesling block and is also the warmest and most exposed ridge. The terraced vines are at 265m above sea level - with a north-west aspect to capture the warm afternoon sun. The soils are made up of broken schist with a thin covering of sandy loam. Matt and the vineyard team lead by Gillian Wilson work hard to achieve the best flavours in the grape bunches. Strict pruning, shoot thinning and leaf plucked by hand to carefully manage fruit exposure, with crop thinning to match vine vigour, with approximately 1.2kgs per vine.
The fruit was picked on the 24th April with the grapes undergoing a pre-ferment maceration. The fruit was whole bunch pressed and with various yeast strains - the wine was fermented at a cool temperature at less than 13°C to retain the natural brightness in the fruit.
Matt is a complete perfectionist and has exacting standards for winemaking practices. He aims to make wines that typify the amazing terroir of Bannockburn, but most importantly wines that people love to drink. In the glass you will be greeted by a very pale straw colour, with ripe stone-fruit aromatics. On the palate - bright stone-fruit and citrus characters with great balance between fruit sweetness and acidity. The wine has a fresh and lingering finish. Chill and serve at 8°C.
Drinking perfectly well this season; and over the next 2-3 years.
Perfect wine match with scallops, steamed mussels, chili prawns, seafood salad, enjoy.
Fruit forward wine, with cleansing acidity.


Wine Foil.

Wine bottles that have a ‘cork closure’ typically have a protective sleeve called a foil (also known as a capsule) covering the top of the bottle. The purpose of which is to protect the cork from being gnawed at by rodents or infested with the cork weevil and to serve as a collar to catch any small drips when pouring the wine. The foil / capsule adds the perfect final touch to the wine bottle - an infinite array of colours, designs and top embossing, and side printing possibilities make it easy for you to achieve customized perfection.

Foils were historically made of lead; however research showed that trace amounts of toxic lead could remain on the lip of the bottle and mix with the poured wine, lead foils were slowly phased out, and by the mid 1990s most foils were made of tin, heat-shrink plastic (polyethylene or PVC), or aluminium or polylaminate aluminium. Sealing wax is sometimes used although sometimes very thick wax has to be painstakingly, and messily, chipped off with a sharp wine-knife, or the foil can be omitted entirely.  Some bottles of wine have a paper strip under wine bottle foil (as shown above), as a seal of authenticity, which must be broken before the bottle can be uncorked - to help stop fake/imitation wine bottles.
The foil is also in some ways a tamper proof seal, but it is also a barrier to moisture or any changes in temperature. But at the same time exposing the cork to high humidity can cause the cork to support some mold growth and low humidity will cause the cork to dry out, shrink and crack. This could cause the cork to disintegrate when you try to remove it with a cork-screw.
An increasing number of wine bottles are now on to the market without a foil, though bottles kept in a large, wall wine rack - capsules can be useful for identification. Wine professionals try to cut the foil in a straight line round the bottleneck a few millimetres below the rim so that wine doesn't come into contact with the foil when it is poured. A sharp knife and a steady hand can achieve a neatly cut foil, but a specially designed foil-cutter does it with much less effort and easy everytime.

Wine in Brief:



Saturday, March 30, 2013

Matching Wine with Seafood:

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. Think about the flavours in a dish the same way you think about the flavours in wine - as families of flavours.  The following wine and seafood suggestions - are just starting points - as there are so many different wines in the world - there are so many varied ways to cook and serve seafood.







Sunday, March 24, 2013

Taylors ‘St Andrews’ Riesling 2010

Grape Variety: 100% Riesling
Growing Region: Clare Valley, Australia
Chief Winemaker: Adam Eggins
Taylors is one of Australia's most loved and trusted wineries in the heart of the Clare Valley, South Australia. Located approx 130km north of Adelaide and at 350 metres above sea level, the area enjoys a Mediterranean climate. This is characterised by a large diurnal temperature range with warm days, where the vines enjoy high sunshine hours; and cold nights, which allow them to rest and recuperate - essential for retaining their intensity of flavour.
For the Taylor family, the 'St Andrews' wines are their signature on the world of wine. Every bottle is a testament to their winemaking philosophy and a showcase for their hand-crafted approach to winemaking. The first Taylors St. Andrews wines were released in 1999 and have developed a reputation as benchmark examples of great Clare Valley wine - and only crafted in the finest vintages.
Sourced from a single vineyard and carefully harvested at night only - the fruit went through a controlled and cool fermentation in stainless steel tanks to retain and express the natural brightness in the juice.
The 2010 Taylors St Andrews Riesling offers pronounced spicy lime aromatics and soft honey notes with nuances of peach blossom, grapefruit and a hint of jasmine. The wine is light to medium bodied and fermented virtually dry with naturally high acidity, supporting layers of honey, mineral and citrus-driven palate flavours and a long finish. The wine has excellent structure and is backed up by a persistent and refreshing lime acidity on the finish. Chill and serve at 8-10°C.
Drinking perfectly well this season; and will age well for another 7-8 years.
Perfect wine match with shellfish, and a wide array of Malaysian & Asian cuisine, enjoy.
Gold Medal - Clare Valley Wine Competition 2011.

Casablanca Valley wine region - Chile:

Valle de Casablanca wine region is situated on the coastal plain 80km northwest of Santiago the capital city of Chile and on the way to Viña del Mar / Valparaiso - this is the beautiful Casablanca Valley, Chile’s fastest growing wine region.
Casablanca Valley was first planted with vines in the mid 1980s, with approximately 3531 acres of vines now currently planted. The region has quickly added a new and captivating chapter in Chile’s winemaking history. Chile’s first cool-climate coastal region soon produced crisp, fresh wines like Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and more recently Riesling that have caught the world’s attention, and Chile’s reputation took another marked lift.

Early-morning fog keeps temperatures low and adds moisture to an otherwise dry topography with approximately only 540mm of rain per year. Midday breezes clear the fog, allowing brilliant sunshine to reach the vine canopy and the temperatures to rise steadily throughout the afternoon.
The valley soil types vary extensively, from sandy loam, to clay and gravel are all present. Soil fertility is generally low, which allows for the production of high-quality wines.
While it is known for its white wines Casablanca Valley also produces quality reds such as, Pinot Noir, Merlot, and the so called lost Carménere. Chilean wines use a Denomination of Origin (D.O.) appellation system based on geographic area. This has been recently updated to further define the regional diversity in Chilean wines.
Given Chile's unique shape you are never far from the Pacific Ocean or the Andes Mountains and these two geographical features will always play their part on the vines growing conditions. This is a rugged coastal country along the Pacific Ocean, where the crisp coastal breezes restrain the rising heat of the summer days. White grapes can relax in the cooler temperatures of the Casablanca Valley, and the extended growing season yields bright, full-flavoured grapes with a healthy amount of food-friendly acidity.

Wine in Brief:



Friday, March 22, 2013

Riedel ‘Central Otago’ Pinot Noir Workshop

19th March 2013

The Riedel Wine Glass Company is working on crafting a speciality glass for Central Otago Pinot Noir.
Georg Riedel the head of the world’s leading wine glass company flew into Queenstown to consult with local winemakers and leading wine experts about producing a speciality wine glass specific for Central Otago Pinot Noir.

Georg Riedel had been thinking about and researching for sometime the Central Otago wine region to gain a better appreciation of the region’s famed Pinot Noir before embarking on this intense 'workshop - tasting session' to find the perfect glass in which to respect and present the true personality of Central Otago Pinot Noir.
Georg led the interactive session with a select group of 24 wine experts and local winemakers who each sampled their own vineyard’s wine in 14 different shapes of Riedel glasses. It was hard not to, but we were reminded by Georg not to focus on the appearance of the glass - but to focus and find the shape that shows the most positive attributes in  the wine. The group was asked to concentrate on how the wine performed in each glass.
As Georg stated - “Central Otago is internationally recognised for producing some of the world’s best wine, and Pinot Noir from the region is particularly sought after because of the great intensity and finesse of the wine”.
Georg said - “Central Otago Pinot Noir was selected for the new wine glass because of its quality and intensity”.
Each of us were asked in turn to score each glass and award points to how each glass shape best reflected the way each wine should taste, all the scores were collated and two glass shapes emerged as clear winners.
All the winemakers I spoke with on the day, said how amazed they were at how different their Pinot Noir wine tasted in each of the glasses, it was like they had tasted 14 different wines.
I was pleased to find that after all the scores were tallied up - that my top 'best performing' glass shape was one and the same as the clear winner which stood out from the rest.
Georg described - “The perfect Pinot Noir glass has a rounded, bulbous bottom to the bowl and a narrow flow stream at the top. The glass controls the flow of wine to the palate in an impressive way so that the wine doesn’t change or become better, it actually tastes better”.
Steve Green, chairman of New Zealand Winegrowers’ and owner of Bannockburn’s Carrick Winery, said - "this important development signalled that Central Otago Pinot Noir had, come of age".


 “The international reputation of our wines has been recognised and a dedicated Central Otago Pinot Noir glass will sit alongside worldwide icons such as a Burgundy Glass and the Champagne Flute”, he said. “An historical moment is about to occur in New Zealand’s wine industry and Central Otago is preparing for the world stage.”
Georg said - “A wine as good as your Pinot Noir needs to be savoured from the correct glass.”  You will certainly get no argument from all the winemakers who were part of the workshop.
As we gathered and shared our thoughts over lunch - many stated how exciting it was to think that a glass designed specifically for Central Otago Pinot Noir will soon be sitting among a range of glasses used by many of the world's most discerning wine enthusiasts. 
We all agreed that this is a massive international endorsement of the region's commitment to delivering quality wines.
As it has been stated previously in many publications and on many occasions - The Riedel family have contributed more to the wine industry in the past 50 years than almost any winemaking dynasty.
All of the selected winemakers and special wine guests that attended the workshop - said it was testament to Georg’s respect of Central Otago Pinot Noir. That he had travelled half way around the world to talk with winemakers and grape growers here and gather their thoughts on what can be a long process to craft and agree on the final glass shape.
To have a company as influential as Riedel recognise Central Otago Pinot Noirs as worthy of a specially designed glass is a wonderful statement in Central Otago’s relatively short 30-year winegrowing history.
Quartz Reef winemaker Rudi Bauer described Georg Riedel’s visit as - "a massive international endorsement of the region’s commitment to delivering quality wine. “We’re looking forward to working with him further to identify the key elements for a Central Otago glass.”

A key question asked to each of the guest winemakers was - what is Central Otago Pinot Noir at its very best? The answer which is not a definitive one or near complete - if ever, will need to be answered to a degree with a few compromises - as all will need to agree on a shape that best respects the region and not just one interpretation.

With still a great deal more work to do and many glass shape trials to be performed - when all is complete - the ‘Riedel Central Otago Pinot Noir’ glass is intended for release by Hancocks Wine & Spirit Merchants in 2014.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Waipara Hills 'Equinox' Late Harvest Riesling NV

Grape Variety: 100% Riesling
Growing Region: Waipara Valley, New Zealand
Chief Winemaker: Simon McGeorge
If you enjoy well crafted wine - and have even the slightest sweet tooth - this wine is a real treat for the wine enthusiast and young person inside each of us that needs an excuse to have dessert after a great meal. This unique wine is crafted from 100% Riesling fruit sourced from 'The Mound Vineyard' in the Waipara Valley, grown on gravel and silt loam soils. This wine has an extra level of complexity in the winemaking and in the layers of flavour - as it is a blend of several years; wine made in 2009, 2010, 2011 and from 2012 hence this non-vintage blend.
To get the most concentrated flavours Simon and his team pressed frozen fruit, then after a gradual fermentation in stainless steel tank the wine was racked into a mixture of oak barrels for maturation. The blend is a mixture of previous vintage wines, all adding different characters and textures. 2009 was aged in oak barrels for 36 months; the 2010 for about 28 months, 2011 for 16 months and 2012 was aged for about 4 months.
The resulting blend has a residual sugar of 200g/L, and with balancing acidity. In the glass, you have a rich golden colour. On the nose clover honey, grilled pineapple, vanilla and dried apricot aromas lead to a rich decadent sweet spectrum of tropical flavours with subtle oak highlights. The fresh acidity and lingering flavours make this luscious wine seem remarkably fresh and light. This wine is really a treat for your taste-buds - decadent, rich sweetness and intense lifted summer fruits, bold and well structured. Mouth-coating fruit is followed by cleansing acidity making a heavy wine seem a lot lighter and fresh. The luscious lingering flavours will have you and your guests asking for more. Chill and serve at 6-8°C.
Drinking perfectly well this season; and will age for another 8-10 years.
Perfect wine match with fresh fruits, fruit tarts, homemade cheesecake and blue cheeses, enjoy.
Candy for adults; go on, treat yourself.

Carbohydrates in wine.

When most people think carbohydrates, they think of foods that are high in starch or drinks high in sugar content. Wine actually contains no starch and very little residual sugar. The natural sugar that occurs in grapes is converted to alcohol during the fermentation process. Technically there is no carbohydrates in wine, but what nutritionists and scientific researchers like to call ‘carbohydrate equivalents’. These carbohydrate equivalents have to do with how the body metabolizes them.

Wine contains alcohol that is processed in the liver. Your liver converts the alcohol into acetate, which is a type of fuel the body can use like carbohydrates, fat or protein. Your body burns the acetate first, before other fuels, turning it into energy before it ever gets a chance to turn into fat. Though it must be noted that alcohol slows down the burning of fat in your body and can cause weight gain.
So while you may want to count carbohydrates with each glass of wine you drink, keep in mind that these carbohydrate equivalents, particularly in red wine, may actually lower your blood sugar, rather than sending it into a spike. People with diabetes should continue to count the carbohydrates in the wine as normal, because consuming too much may have an adverse affect on blood sugar levels.
Wine contains no fat and no protein, but just about all of its not so insignificant calorie content is in the form of carbohydrates and alcohol, which is metabolized much like a carbohydrate.
Wines vary substantially depending on their alcoholic content and whether they have residual sugar. A 150ml glass of dry white table wine may have 0.8 to 1.25 grams of carbohydrates, while a similar serving of red wine may have 0.5 to 2.5 grams, and sweet dessert wines with their high sugar content will have substantially more, up to the range of 10 grams in a 90ml glass serving - and in wines like Port.
If you’re having a glass of wine with lunch or dinner, try to enjoy it for what it is and not part of any dietary plan. I suggest a good moderate and balanced lifestyle of sensible eating (including wine) and exercise, and consult your physician for advice if you feel a need to adjust your diet.

Wine in Brief:



Sunday, March 10, 2013

Tupari ‘Awatere’ Dry Riesling 2011

Grape Variety: 100% Riesling
Growing Region: Awatere Valley, Marlborough, New Zealand
Owner / Winemaker: Glenn Thomas
The Tupari vineyard is situated at an elevation of 150m on north-facing river flats overlooking the braided Awatere River, in the southern part of Marlborough. It’s here that the Turnbull family and Glenn Thomas work with the unique ‘terroir’ of the Awatere valley's terraces to harness and express the special characteristics from this site.
These carefully nurtured Riesling grapes allow Glenn to create a sophisticated, elegant wine, with a finely tuned structure. The thin silty-loam, river-run gravels, are a harsh environment for any grape vine. The gorge heats up on windless days, but as evening approaches a sea breeze flows up the valley and cools the air.
The Tupari Riesling block is situated on a thin terrace stretching along the top of the cliff face with magnificent valley views. Warm days and cool nights combined to create this wine's distinguishing mineral character and rich flavours typical of the Awatere Valley. Following harvest in the cool of the night, the gently pressed juice was carefully fermented and the process suspended with only a few grams of sugar remaining.
As a pure expression of the variety, this Tupari Dry Riesling sourced from a single vineyard - has a silky texture, with rich flavours and complexity, underpinned by a pleasing mineral character.
In the glass you have a pale straw colour with green tints to the edge. On the nose bright citrus notes, with sweet lime and a touch of spice and elderflower. The palate shows distinct varietal characters of ripe limes and grapefruit. At the heart you have crisp, bright fruits following through, with complementary well-balanced natural acidity, mineral seams and a fresh, lively finish. Chill and serve at 8°C.
Drinking perfectly well this season; and over the next 18-24 months.
Perfect wine match with fresh shellfish, tempura prawns, fish kebabs and a fresh summer salad, enjoy.
This wine will bring a smile to your taste buds.