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, April 28, 2013

Nga Waka ‘Martinborough’ Pinot Noir 2011

Grape Variety: 100% Pinot Noir
Growing Region: Martinborough, New Zealand
Chief Winemaker: Roger Parkinson
Good Pinot Noir is a true and honest expression of its ‘sense of place’ or ‘terroir’ - then there are what we describe as quality Pinot Noirs. These are wines that reflect not only the growing season, the vineyard sites, are varietal and have well balanced ripe fruit. They also have appropriate, well chosen and controlled winemaking techniques that complement and bring out the best qualities in the fruit. This is one of those wines - but please as I remind you with all wine reviews, don’t compare this vintage with another, simply respect and enjoy this vintage on its own merit and you will not be disappointed.
The fruit for this wine was sourced from the Parkinson Block and Old Cemetery Block vineyards in the heart of Martinborough. The carefully harvested fruit was de-stemmed only, with a total maceration time of 18-21 days. The wine then underwent malolactic fermentation in tight grained French oak barriques, with 25% being new oak. The total time in oak barrels was 14 months, then the finished bottled wine was un-fined and un-filtered, so don’t be surprised if you have a slight haze to your wine and with age it will throw a slight deposit.
In your Pinot Noir glass you will be greeted by a deep red-purple colour. On the nose you will find rich, succulent and powerful Martinborough Pinot Noir aromas showing dark cherries and both fresh and dried spice notes. On the palate this full bodied Pinot Noir is underpinned by silky tannins and subtle, refined oak from appropriate barrel maturation, developing a balanced, persistent finish. Decant for about 45-60 minutes and serve at 16-17°C.
Showing well this coming winter season; through will repay another 4-5 years.
Perfect wine match with subtle lamb dishes, roast pork, rabbit pie and Asian duck, enjoy.
A Pinot Noir with real character.



Grechetto or Grechetto Bianco is an Italian white wine grape of Greek origins. The grape is planted throughout central Italy, particularly in the Umbria region where it is used in the Denominazione di origine controllata (DOC) wine Orvieto as well as the DOCs of Torgiano and Colli Martani. It is primarily a blending grape, though some varietal wine is also produced. Grechetto is commonly blended with Chardonnay, Malvasia, Trebbiano and Verdello – where Grechetto can add herbal and nutty flavours to the wine. The grape's thick skin provides good resistance to downy mildew which can attack the grape late in the harvest season. This makes Grechetto a suitable grape in the production of Vin Santo - where the grapes are dried extensively before vinification.
The grape variety has had a recent lift in popularity as winemakers are finding more potential in the grape, than in the other main Umbria white grape varieties Drupeggio and Trebbiano. Outside Umbrian borders, Grechetto is almost exclusively used together with other grapes, whereas in its homeland it is frequently used for the production of simple varietal wines. Research seems to have found the Grechetto known in Umbria is genetically similar to Pignoletto grape known in Emilia Romagna and to Ribolla Riminese. Recent research using DNA analysis, have established the identity of Greek Todi, Pignoletto and Ribolla Rimini, while the wines seem to be profoundly different to the Grechetto of Orvieto.
The thick skin of Grechetto allows the grape to be harvested late in the season with high sugar levels - which works well in the production of dessert wines. There are at least two sub-varieties of Grechetto; Grechetto di Todi and Grechetto Spoletino with the former being more widely planted. The Grechetto vine is low yielding and able to produce concentrated flavours. Oak barrels are used for wines in which Grechetto is blended with Chardonnay; however it is not uncommon to find 100% Grechetto wines fermented or aged in cask or oak barriques. It should however be mentioned that the majority of wine is vinified in stainless steel tanks or cement. The Grechetto wines starting to be produced can be a full style, with aromas of wild flowers and lime, and a fresh finish reminiscent of almonds.

Wine in Brief:



Sunday, April 21, 2013

te Pā ‘Marlborough’ Pinot Gris 2012

Grape Varieties: 90% Pinot Gris, 10% Gewürztraminer
Growing Region: Marlborough, New Zealand
Owner / Director: Haysley MacDonald
Haysley has lived his whole life at te Pā - his parents and grandparents were the same, and his four children are growing up the same way. Haysley is very involved in te Pā’s day-to-day responsibilities: Even when 5 o’clock comes round, you will find him still working. As he states - “It’s a hands-on business, and you are never too big to get your hands dirty.”
They planted grapes back in 2003, and now have 150 hectares in vines. Currently, te Pā produce Sauvignon Blanc from their own vines - (with their first vintage achieving critical acclaim), and Pinot Gris and a small parcel of Pinot Noir from within Marlborough. The te Pā vineyards are located on the Wairau Bar in Marlborough - it’s a long gravel bank formed where the Wairau River meets the sea. At one time it was believed to be an island, ideally located to source plentiful kaimoana (seafood) from the lagoon.
This single vineyard Pinot Gris is grown in the main 'Wairau Valley' of Marlborough on a 100% sustainable vineyard. The fruit was harvested in the cool of the morning and transferred to the winery where it underwent temperature controlled fermentation in stainless steel tanks.

On the nose the wine has an attractive aroma of ripe stone fruits and floral notes, complimented by hints of ginger and sweet apples. The palate is full with a soft and succulent mouth feel. Ripe fresh white peaches and spiced pear flavours are supported by almond, musk and cinnamon notes. The generous fruit is support by balanced acidity, which gives freshness and a pleasant finish. Chill and serve at 8°C.
Drinking perfectly well this season; and over the next 12-18 months.
Perfect wine match with shellfish, Asian & Malaysian influenced cuisine and young cheeses, enjoy.
Fruit forward style, with an early drinking appeal.

Gouais Blanc

Gouais Blanc is a white grape variety that is rarely grown today but is important as the ancestor of many traditional French and German grape varieties. The name Gouais derives from the old French - ‘gou’, a scornful word referring to its traditional status as the grape of the peasants.
Gouais is known to have been widely planted in central and northeastern France in medieval times. At this time, it was used to produce simple, acidic white wines and with little residual sugar, primarily used to blend with low acidic wine to give it a bit of liveliness - or distilled for use in brandy-type fortified wines in France. Primarily grown on poor sites that were not suited for the much more highly regarded Pinot Noir or Pinot Gris.

Its history before medieval times is not known with great certainty, and is the subject of much conjecture, in similarity to many other grape varieties with a long history. Gouais Blanc has been proposed to of originated in Croatia (or specifically Pannonia), but the Vitis International Variety Catalogue currently lists it as originating from Austria, which should probably be interpreted as likely to originate somewhere in Central Europe.
Gouais Blanc was also grown in the Jura, but phylloxera almost wiped out the variety in France, and it now survives only in the INRA collection at Domaine de Vassal, Montpellier. DNA research in 1999 identified Gouais Blanc as the parent of a large number of classical European grape varieties. Having been widely grown in proximity to Pinot Noir, the two varieties had many opportunities to cross. With such distant origins, those vine crosses showed hybrid vigour and were widely propagated. This unique combination of events means that many grape varieties today have Gouais Blanc as a parent; Aligote, Melon, Gamay Noir and the most famous of which is Chardonnay. It also produced Riesling when pollinated with the wild grape Traminer, and when crossed with Chenin Blanc it produced Colombard.
As mentioned, Gouais Blanc until now has survived mostly as a museum curiosity. Since the middle ages there have been regular attempts to ban the grape from the soils of France, which probably says something about its characteristic winemaking qualities. However, Gouais Blanc has continued to be commercially grown in several vineyards in Switzerland and in recent years, a few historically interested wine producers have started to plant small amounts of Gouais Blanc, it has also been grown for over 100 years in Rutherglen, Australia.

Wine in Brief:



Sunday, April 14, 2013

Montes 'Limited Selection' Carmenère 2010

Grape Variety: 100% Carmenère
Growing Region: Colchagua Valley, Chile
Chief Winemaker: Aurelio Montes
Carmenère the legendary lost grape of Bordeaux, France - was officially recognized by the Chilean Department of Agriculture as a distinct grape variety in 1998. Today thriving and grown chiefly in the Colchagua Valley - the fruit for this wine has real charm and subtle richness.
Aurelio Montes has always maintained that - “80% of good wine comes from the vineyard and the other 20% from the cellar”. So vineyard care is paramount, enabling Montes to produce world-class wines. From the vineyard rows to the cellar, Aurelio’s team meticulously studies every variable in the winemaking process. His commitment to method and process is almost obsessive; nothing is left to chance, and this dynamic wine is one of the fine results.
After careful hand harvesting and diligent fermentation - 70% of the final blend had 6 months ageing in French oak barrels for structure and palate development.
In the glass you are greeted by a dark purple-ruby-red coloured wine. On the nose you have typical Carmenère characters; with bright aromas of black pepper and mulberry notes, while on the palate wild blueberry and blackberry flavours show though, with hints of dark chocolate, black plum and a touch of vanilla and mocha-coffee, accompanied by Carmenère’s characteristic spiciness. A very smooth, elegant, velvety and mouth-filling wine with the rounded, soft tannins distinctive of Carmenère, all creating a memorable finish. Decant for 30 minutes and serve at 16-18°C.
Drinking perfectly well this coming season; and will age well for the next 4-5 years.
Perfect wine match with mushroom risotto, slow cooked beef, pizza and hard cheeses; enjoy.
Don’t be fooled by its easy appeal, this wine has character.

Japanese Wine:

Legend claims that grape-growing in Japan began in 718 AD, in Katsunuma, Yamanashi Prefecture. Wine may have been made from the Koshu grape variety indigenous to Japan - which has been known in Japan for over 1000 years - but the first documented case of regular wine consumption in Japan was in the 16th century, when the Jesuit missionaries arrived from Portugal. Saint Francis Xavier brought wines as gifts and other missionaries continued the practice, resulting in locals acquiring taste for wine and importing it regularly. They called the Portuguese wine chintashu, combining the Portuguese word tinto (chinta in Japanese) meaning red and shu meaning liquor.

Regular wine making began in Japan with the adoption of Western culture during the Meiji restoration in the second half of the 19th century, with the main regions of wine production are Hokkaidō and Yamanashi Prefecture. It was not until after World War II that the scale of winemaking began to grow. However, in comparison to imported bulk juice and bottled wine, domestic Japanese wine is still developing. For Japanese tastes, the astringency and acidity in wines were not appreciated in the beginning - and for a long time sugars such as honey were added to soften the flavour.
During the 1970s and 80s the skill level of wine making increased and vine plantings spread - with wineries producing quality wines using only pure domestic cultivation, and began to receive good reviews internationally.
After a diversification of Japanese food culture, and growing awareness of the beneficial effects of polyphenol (tannins), an understanding of real wine in recent years has come about, also a groundwork has been laid out by the promotion of high quality domestically produced wines.
To cope with the differing climate in Japan, varying canopy techniques are used. In areas of high humidity, such as Yamagata, an elevated vine canopy is used to keep the fruit-zone about 2-3 meters above the ground to allow ventilation. Higher in the mountains, such as Tochigi, where good sunlight is restricted with the rough terrain, winemakers have planted vines on steep hillsides both to receive maximum sunlight, as well as protect the vines against damage from heavy snowfall.
Japanese vineyards are owned by mostly independent growers (approx 80,000), which gave rise to co-operatives. With vineyards tending to be very small (about 5 acres) producing wine in co-operatives is a sensible decision.
Mark of Origin: (Gensanchi Hyōji) is a system of legal designation for wine produced in Japan, much like France's Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOP) laws. In Japan there is no nationwide organization of legal designation, regardless of domain of origin or types of grape, anything that is fermented domestically can be labeled as Japanese wine. However, independent self-governing municipal bodies have begun systems of regional appellation. For example, Nagano Prefecture's ‘Appellation Control System’ (Nagano-ken Gensan-chi Koshō Kanri Seido), and Kōshū's ‘Wine Domain of Origin Certification Regulation’.

Wine in Brief:



Sunday, April 7, 2013

Chakana ‘Reserve’ Malbec 2011

Grape Variety: 100% Malbec
Growing Region: Mendoza, Argentina
Consulting Winemaker: Alberto Antonini
Chakana make approachable, honesty, early drinking style red wines which have subtle characters that sneak up on your taste buds. The family and vineyard team understand their vines and with careful hand harvesting, picked the fruit at just the right time - and have crafted another wine that will match some many cuisine moments. The fruit for this wine comes from relatively young vines grown on a 150 hectare estate in Agrelo, Lujan de Cuyo - Mendoza at 960 metres above sea level.
After all the fruit arrived in the winery, it underwent approximately 48 hours of cold maceration on skins in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. Fermentation took place for 12 days with selected yeasts at 26-30°C combined with pigeage and delestage to improve fruit extraction and integrated tannins. After malolactic fermentation the wine enjoyed 12 months in oak barrels (50% French and 50% American) - to develop mouth feel and structure.
In the glass you have a purple red coloured wine with a violet edge. On the nose you will find aromas of ripe plums and blackberries, dried spices, with floral notes and mocha chocolate. All of these characters continue onto the palate - which complements the ripe fruit flavours and spice tones with the soft tannins and oak notes, giving the wine a lingering finish. Decant for 30-45mins and serve at 16-18°C.
Drinking perfectly well this coming season; and over the next 2-3 years.
Perfect wine match with bbq, grilled and cured meats, spicy dishes and hard cheeses, enjoy.
A real food friendly red wine.


Grillo (also known as Riddu) is a white grape variety from Sicily - used to produce some of the best Marsala wines. Grillo is a variety so ancient that it was used in a famous Roman wine - a favourite of Julius Caesar, the sweet, luscious Mamertino of Messina.
The grape is grown on bush-trained vines - which can withstand high temperatures and dry conditions, which Sicily has in abundance and is widely used in Sicilian wine-making. The grape is capable of reaching fairly high sugar levels when ripe, which was a major benefit when it was the primary grape used in the production of Marsala. Grillo can also produce a bold, full-bodied wine that is often blended with the more aromatic Inzolia grape and more recently Chardonnay.

Grillo has declined along with Marsala and has been mostly replaced by the more vigorous Catarratto, Sicily’s most popular white wine variety. The low point for Grillo came in the early 1990's when acreage devoted to the grape fell to 2,300 hectares of planted vines, or around 3% of the white grapes planted in Sicily. Plantings have rebounded lately as the popularity of dry white table wines has increased over the past twenty years or so, and growers and consumers have found that Grillo can make interesting, characterful table wines. Grillo can produce charming, modern and hearty full, flavoured wines of quality, despite lacking the intense and distinctive aromas of other white grapes that have spurred recent winemaker interest, like Inzolia.
Although this grape has had a long association with Marsala, in recent years it has become widely used in such DOC wines as; Monreale (province of Palermo) - Alcamo (provinces of Palermo and Trapani) - Contea di Sclafani (provinces of Agrigento and Palermo) - Delia Nivolelli (province of Trapani). 100% Grillo IGT wines are also produced, although blending with for example Chardonnay is also common. Grillo wines pair well with seafood, grilled vegetables and salads, so the next time you're at your having a light summer meal - ask for Grillo and have a taste of Sicilian sunshine.

Wine in Brief: