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, May 26, 2013

Hewitson 'Ned & Henry's' Shiraz 2011

Grape Variety: 90% Shiraz, 10% Mourvèdre
Growing Region: Barossa Valley, Australia
Head Winemaker: Dean Hewitson
Dean has crafted another full-flavoured Barossa Valley Shiraz that can be enjoyed in its youth at either a BBQ lunch or with slow cooked piece of prime meat at dinner. Dean’s wine making philosophies can be seen throughout this wine, with the use of French oak, fine grained tannins, balance and bright fruit expression.
Named after Dean’s two boys Ned & Henry - the fruit for this wine was sourced from several sites grown on classic terra rossa vineyards. The vineyards are traditionally grown, low cropped and produce the essential flavours and tannins. After careful fermentation the wine was pressed into quality French oak barrels, where the wine finished fermentation and underwent malolactic fermentation. The wine matured in barrel for a total of about fifteen months before racking and bottling. The base wine has always been Shiraz, though each year Dean blends in a small proportion of Mourvèdre, which accentuates the fruit and develops greater complexity.
The 2011 vintage for grape ripening and harvesting was exceptionally cool for the valley. The vineyard team made good decisions and each site were harvested before the later rains and once again were able to deliver a rounded, ripe wine at a balanced 14%.
The colour of the wine is a very deep red with a purple hue. The aroma is distinctively Barossa Valley, with black, ripe fruits and a dried herb spice influence from the Mourvèdre. The fruit flavours of berries and earthy characters are full and concentrated yet soft and supple. The tannins are integrated and persistent, giving the wine great balance and poise and carries Dean’s signature - 'drinkability'. Decant for 30-45 minutes and serve at 16-18°C.
Drinking well this coming season; and over the next 4-5 years.
Perfect wine match with bbq red meats, lamb shank, roast meats, a homemade meat pie and with a spicy pizza, enjoy.
A fruit driven wine with real personality.


Dornfelder is the most successful German-crossed red grape variety. It was first crossed in 1955 by August Herold at the Weinsberg Wine School, where he crossed the Helfensteiner grape and the Heroldrebe grape. The grape was named after the founder of the Wine School, Imanuel August Ludwig Dornfeld - (1796-1869), a senior civil servant who was instrumental in creating the viticultural school in Weinsberg.
The Dornfelder grape variety shows great promise - a prolific, relatively early ripening grape, it produces wine far deeper in colour than typical German red wines. It was initially crossed to serve as a blending grape to improve the colour of pale red wines.


From 124ha in 1979, the area under vine has expanded to 8,231ha in 2007, with the Pfalz and Rheinhessen regions having the most vine plantings. Dornfelder is the second most grown red wine grape variety in Germany - with approximately 8% of the total vine area.
Dornfelder has become quite popular in Germany since it performs well under viticultural conditions which traditionally were seen as more suitable for white wine production. Traditionally, the red wines of Germany were typically pale and light-bodied, but new crossed dark-skinned grapes led by Dornfelder have allowed the production of more internationally-styled red wines. Dornfelder has a depth of colour, good acidity and the ability to benefit from barrel aging and the associated oak flavours.
In comparison to traditional red wine varieties of Germany, Dornfelder is easier to grow than Spätburgunder, has better resistance to rot - as well as deeper colour, more powerful flavours and more tannin, and achieves higher natural alcohol levels than most other red varieties. Dornfelder can be very productive, and yield up to 120 hectoliter per hectare, but quality-conscious producers typically keep yields much lower. Higher-quality Dornfelder wines are velvety textured, slightly floral, often show flavours of plums, blackberries or cherries, and are more frequently aged in oak.
Dornfelder is also grown successfully in many northern European regions, such as parts of England, where it was introduced in the 1980s. Dornfelder red wines go well with roast meats, game, and rich cheeses.

Wine in Brief:



Saturday, May 25, 2013

Matching Wine with Meat Cuisine:

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, they bring out the best in each other.
Consider whether a dish is ‘light’ or 'heavy' 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. For the following examples - try to focus on the flavours in each different meat dish, the same way you think about the flavours in wine - as families of flavours. The following wine and meat suggestions - are just that, suggestions and starting points - as there are so many different wines in the world - there are so many varied ways to cut, cure, season, cook and serve meat cuisine.

Other Pages of Interest: (click on link to view)

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Chapel Hill 'Parson's Nose' Shiraz 2011

Grape Variety: 100% Shiraz
Growing Region: McLaren Vale, Australia
Chief Winemaker: Michael Fragos
Michael and the team at Chapel Hill located in McLaren Vale are crafting wines that are deservedly being recognized as some of the world’s leading expressions. This can be attributed to the vitality of the region, the intense attention to detail in the vineyard and ultimately the best winemaking decisions in the winery to express these characters in their wines. The Parson’s Nose Shiraz is dedicated to showcasing these varietal characteristics and the vintage growing season.
The 2011 growing season was notable for its more moderate extremes conducive to structured and full flavoured wines. To achieve the resulting style, the grapes were selectively harvested to avoid any overripe, unbalanced flavours. The fermentation was handled carefully and allowed to remain on skins for up to 8 days to ensure optimum extraction of flavour and tannin. To complement the varietal complexity well seasoned tight grained French oak was used during maturation. During which the wine was regularly racked to encourage the integration and development of the subtle tannins.
Michael’s aim of this wine is too express these unique characters within a rich mouth feel and a wine with personality. Appropriate use of French oak plays a supporting role and is utilised delicately so as to not dominate the primary varietal characters.
The 2011 Parson’s Nose Shiraz shows confident aromas of dark berries and freshly cracked pepper with dried spices. The delicious palate is overflowing with black Doris plum flavours that seamlessly integrate with the gently textured oak and the firm persistent tannins - creating a broad and lingering finish. Decant for 30-45 minutes and serve at 16-18°C.
Drinking perfectly well this coming season; and will age well for another 5-7 years.
Perfect wine match with slowly cooked lamb shank, roast beef with seasoned vegetables and with aged hard cheeses, enjoy.
A refreshing approached to a full flavoured Shiraz.


Rondinella is an Italian red wine grape largely grown in the Veneto region of Italy and is an integral grape used in wines such as Bardolino and Valpolicella. It is often blended with Corvina, which in 2005 DNA evidence showed that Corvina was a parent variety to the Venetian grape Rondinella, and it is also blended with Molinara.
Rondinella grows easily all over the Valpolicella region, though the grape has rather neutral flavours but is favoured by growers due to its abundant yields than for any notable quality. The vine is very resistant to grape disease and produces grapes that, while they don't essentially have high sugar levels. They do dry out well for use in the production of ‘straw wines’ - the ‘Appassimento method’ - simply, this is a method of drying grapes for specific kinds of wine production like Amarone, a strong red wine made from dried grapes - and ‘Recioto’ blends, the dessert wine produced in Valpolicella.

The Rondinella word means ‘small swallow’, the name of this grape varietal probably comes from the shape of its leaves that look similar to a swallow’s tail. These blended Venetian red wines can be light, fragrant and reminiscent of cherries, strawberries and flowers with a slight bitter-almond finish. The Rondinella grape represents approximately 20-30% of the combination of grapes for Valpolicella and Amarone wines.
Rondinella is very rustic, generous and adapted for soils having a high content of clay and which are not well exposed. The grape berries are dark coloured, relatively small and round in shape, the bunches are of medium in size, loosely packed and have a cylindrical shape. It is perfectly adapted for drying and shrivelling ideal for the drying process which makes Amarone wine, especially from vines that have been grown in the hills in poor soil.
The wines that come from this variety have an intense ruby red colour, with a gentle aroma. They are fruity and have a flavour which is not tannic, but having a good palate structure. Some of the best cuisine that matches well with Rondinella blended wines includes roast lamb with peppers and braised herb crusted lamb with a light wine sauce, plus a well flavoured pasta dish and pizza.

Wine in Brief:



Sunday, May 12, 2013

Paul Jaboulet ‘Côtes du Rhône’ Parallele 45 - 2010

Grape Variety: 60% Grenache, 40% Syrah
Growing Region: Côtes du Rhône, France
Head Winemaker: Caroline Frey
The Jaboulet Parallèle 45 is the Côtes du Rhône wine that has virtually built the reputation of the Rhône as the region producing the greatest value in quality French wine. Year after year this wine has justified its reputation as France’s best value red wine. The Jaboulet family named their Côtes du Rhône in the early 1950’s - taking its name from the 45th Northern parallel which runs two kilometers from their cellars, in the village of Pont de l’Isère, a monument symbolizes this line with an inscription; ‘The South begins here’.
Under the Frey family ownership, all wines are now reaching new quality levels. In 2007, Jaboulet’s vineyards passed qualification for ‘reasoned agriculture’, encompassing: vineyard management, fertilization and vine treatments - indicating Jaboulet’s commitment to sustainable vineyard practices.
Jaboulet Côtes du Rhône Parallele 45 is a blend of Grenache and Syrah from vines averaging 25-30 years of age. Sourced from vineyards throughout the Rhône Valley that combine to produce a pure, clean expression of this region.
The grapes arrive at the winery and are sorted and vinified in stainless steel tank for about 3 - 4 weeks to extract colour, flavour and body, followed by 3-6 months ageing in tank prior to bottling. The aim is to retain berry freshness and balance while producing a full, food friendly wine. The southern Rhône Valley was blessed with ideal weather in 2010. The spring was normal and summer was nicely warm and dry, which allowed the grapes to mature in the most optimal conditions.
The wine is rich and persistent; the palate is fresh with subtle grains of natural tannins giving an air of distinction. A vintage which has combined a wealth of sunshine, with elegance and balance. This Parallele 45 Côtes du Rhône is a fresh, medium bodied red driven by notes of dark summer fruits and exotic dried spices with a rounded and delicate mouth-feel and a smooth finish. Decant for 20 minutes and serve at 16-18°C.
Drinking perfectly well this coming season; and over the next 2-3 years.
Perfect wine match with grilled and roasted meats, lamb-shank, homemade pizza and with hard, aged cheeses, enjoy.
One of France’s best value red wines.

Chinese Grape Wine:

The history of Chinese grape wine has been dated back more than 4,600 years. In 1995 a joint archeology team investigated two ancient sites 20km’s to the northeast of Rizhao, and discovered the remains of a variety of alcoholic beverages including grape wine, rice wine, mead, and several mixed beverages of these wines. Out of more than two hundred ceramic pots discovered, seven were specifically used for grape wine, with remains of grape seeds found.
China's Xinjiang Autonomous Region has an ancient history of viticulture going back to around the 400 BC, when Greek settlers brought the vine and more advanced techniques. The area around Turfan was, and still is, particularly noted for its production of grape wines, as mentioned in the personal notes of Marco Polo, who wrote about 'Carachoco' - (the name he used for Turfan) produced fine grape wines.


Grape wine consumption was however replaced by a range of alcoholic beverages made from sorghum, millet, rice, and fruits such as lychee or Asian plum. It was not until the 'Han Dynasty' (206 BC - 220 AD) that the Chinese became reacquainted with the consumption of grape wines, and not until the 'Tang Dynasty' (618 AD - 907 AD) that consumption of wine became more common.
In 1980, at the beginning of Chinese economic reform, Rémy Martin ventured into China to set up the first joint-venture wine enterprise in Tianjin Province. However, most of its products were exported in the first two decades due to the low income of the local population, and it was not until after the year 2000 that the Chinese people had sufficient disposable income to support the domestic wine market. Other companies, including China Great Wall Wine Co., Suntime and Changyu, have also risen in prominence, and in 2005, 90% of grape wine produced was consumed locally - and approximately 80% of all wine consumed in 2010 was red wine.
Prominent wine-producing regions include Beijing, Yantai, Zhangjiakou in Hebei, Yibin in Sichuan, Tonghua in Jilin, Taiyuan in Shanxi, and Ningxia. The largest producing region is Yantai-Penglai; with over 140 wineries, it produces 40% of China's wine. China (including Hong Kong) is among the top ten global markets for wine consumption. Over the next few decades, the country’s standing as a wine consumer is expected to rise. The Ningxia province has also been in the limelight for its high quality wines, after a red wine won the Decanter Trophy in May 2011.
Both red and white wines are commonly served chilled, poured into ordinary wine glasses in tiny amounts, or a very small glass called baijiu. When served at a restaurant table with more than two people, similar to the style of drinking baijiu, it is typically consumed during a group toast, and often with the entire glass being finished at once - but customs are changing fast.

Wine in Brief:



Wednesday, May 8, 2013

INDEX - Wine Glossary

(Simply click on topic to view article)

A: Aglianico  |  Airen  |  Alba Wine Region  |  Albarino  Algarve  |  Aligoté  |  Alsace  |  American Oak Wine Barrels  |  Amontillado  |  Amphora  |  AOC  |  AOP  |  Arneis  |  Aromas & Bouquets  |  Astringency & Bitterness 

B: Bacchus  |  Balance of Wine  |  Barbera  Barolo  |  Barrel Fermentation  |  Basket Press  |  Baumé & Brix  |  Beaujolais  |  Bentonite  | Bergerac Wine Region  |  Biodynamic Wine  |  Bird damage in the vineyard |  Blending Wine  |  Blind Tasting  |  Bonarda  |  Bordeaux  Bottle Shapes  |  Bottle Shock  |  Botrytis  |  Brettanomyces  |  Brunello di Montalcino   Burgundy  |  Bush Vines 

C: Cabernet Franc  |  Cabernet Sauvignon  |  Carbohydrates in wine  |  Calories in Wine  Casablanca Valley Wine Region  Canaiolo  |  Canopy Management  |  Cap  |  Carbonic Maceration  |   Carignan  |  Carmenere  |  Cava  |  Cellaring Wine  |  Chablis  Chaptalisation  Champagne  |  Champagne Flute  Chardonnay  |  Charmat Method  |  Châteauneuf-du-Pape  |  Chenin Blanc  |  Chianti  |  Chilling Red Wine  |  Chinese Grape Wine  |  Cinsault Grape  |  Cold Stabilization  |  Cognac  |  Constantia Wine Region  |  Corkscrew  |  Cornas AOP  |  Corvina  |  Coulure  |  Crémant  Cru Bourgeois  |  Cuvee 

D: Decanting Wine  |  Delestage  |  Disgorgement  D.O. Wine System - Spain  |  DOCG  |  Dolcetto  |  Dornfelder  |  Douro Valley  |  Dureza  |  Durif - (The Grape)

E: Eau-de-vie   |  En Primeur     Epernay  Ethanol  | Eutypa dieback

F: Fiasco  |  Filtration  |  Fining  |  First Growths   Flor  |  Flowering  |  Flying Winemakers  |  Foudre
  Franciacorta  |  French Oak Barrels | Frost Damage | Furmint

G: Gamay   |  Garganega  |  Gavi  |  Gewürztraminer  |  Garage Wine  |  Glera  |  Gouais Blanc   |  Governo Method  |  Grafting Vines  |  Grand Cru  Grappa  |  Grechetto  |  Green Harvest  |  Grenache  |  Grillo  |  Grüner Veltliner  |  GSM Blends  |  What is Grappa?

L: Lagare  |  Lambrusco  |  Languedoc  |  Late Harvest Wine  |  Limoncello  |  Loire Valley

P: Palomino Grape  |  Parellada  |  Pedro Ximenez  |  Pergola Trellising  |  Petit Verdot  |  Phenolics  |  Phylloxera  |  Pinotage  |  Pinot Blanc  |  Pinot Gris  |  Pinot Meunier  |  Pinot Noir  |  Piquepoul  |  Pomerol  |  Port  Pouilly-Fumé  |  Powdery Mildew  |  Primitivo   |  Prosecco  |  Pruning Grape Vines  |  Puglia  | Pumping Over  |  Punt 

Q: Quinta 

R: Racking  |  Reims  |  Residual Sugar  |  Resveratrol  |  Retsina  |  Rhone Valley  |  Riddling  |  Riesling  |  Rioja  |  Rondinella   Rootstock  |  Roussanne  |  Ripasso  |  Rosé 

U: Ugni Blanc  |  Ullage 

Z:  Zibibbo  |  Zierfandler  |  Zork   

The Wine Guy