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.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Matching Wine with Ice-cream

On a recent trip to Europe - I had the pleasure to sample and enjoy a wide array of sorbets, gelatos and a range of homemade and commercial quality ice-creams. Several restaurants made their own, or had a local supplier in the near-by village making them fresh and delivering as they needed. Plus I visited several top establishments that specialised in these fresh, fruity and creamy treats.
During each occasion came the inevitable question - Gavin what can we pair with our gelato, what wine do you suggest or can you find to match and compliment the personality in both.
So here are a few of the matches we made, along with a few of my favourite wine and sorbet, gelato and ice-cream pairings.
You must take into account the resulting high sugar content in some of these wines can tend to be thick, sweet, and very rich; some people find for example Botrytis dessert wines slightly cloying because of the sweetness, while others can't get enough.
Be careful when trying to pair sweet wines with ice-cream and even desserts - as the two don't always match each other's intensity - but when matched well they are a perfect end to any lunch or evening meal - plus either can be at their best and enjoyed on their own.
The following are only suggestions, guidelines and starting points - enjoy the journey.







Sunday, August 25, 2013

Taylors 'Jaraman' Cabernet Sauvignon 2010

Grape Variety: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon

Growing Regions: 68% Clare Valley, 32% Coonawarra, Australia

Head Winemaker: Adam Eggins

The 2010 growing season in the Clare Valley and Coonawarra regions were extremely varied, with the vines experiencing all weather conditions. While temperatures were a little higher than average during late January and February, the evenings and mornings were cool and mild, contributing to favourable sugar and flavour ripening conditions for the Cabernet bunches. Careful crop management and bunch thinning was implemented to ensure optimum fruit development, with their Cabernet Sauvignon exhibiting the benefits of slow maturation; ripe tannins and flavours with vibrant varietal distinction.
After harvesting, the grapes were de-stemmed and transferred to potter fermenters where the juice was fermented using specific yeast. Post fermentation, a small percentage of the fruit was left ‘on skins’ and soaked for around 4 weeks to achieve better integration of tannins. The wine was then gently pressed-off to tight grained French oak hogshead barrels (10% new, 90% 1-3 years old) there the wine went through malolactic fermentation. After approximately 18 months in oak, the wine was then fined, filtered and bottled in February 2012.
In the glass the wine has a dark red colour with a vibrant purple hue. There are lifted aromas of blackcurrant, cassis and subtle herbal and complex spice characters with a hint of tobacco notes from the oak. This wine is rich and full-bodied and is well-balanced across the palate with fine, elegant tannins - the hallmark of great Cabernet Sauvignon. Ripe flavours of blackcurrant and cassis delight with subtle savoury French oak characters of cedar and spice, giving the wine a long and persistent finish. Decant for 45-60 minutes and serve at 18°C.

Drinking perfectly well this coming season; and will age gracefully for another 5-7 years.
Perfect wine match with aged or well seasoned cuts of red meat, wild game and hard cheeses, enjoy.

A Cabernet with structure and character.


Napa Valley Wine Region:

Napa Valley is a viticultural area located in Napa County, California, United States. Napa Valley is considered one of the premier wine regions in the world, with records of commercial wine production in the region dating back to the nineteenth century, but premium wine production only began in the 1960s.
Napa Valley has a generous climate that provides vintage-to-vintage consistency and exceptional quality that few other winegrowing regions can boast. Napa Valley has a remarkable diversity of microclimates, weather and geography, as well as some of the most diverse soils found on earth. As a result, a number of premium grape varietals thrive.

John Patchett established the Napa Valley's first commercial vineyard back in 1858. Viticulture in Napa suffered several setbacks in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including an outbreak of phylloxera, then Prohibition and the Great Depression. In 1976, the region received a boost from the Paris Wine Tasting of 1976, which featured a Napa Valley Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon besting several famous French wines in a blind tasting format. The results of this tasting cemented the region's reputation as a producer of world class wines.
Napa Valley features more than 450 wineries - though just 48km long and a few km’s wide, the valley vineyards are flanked by the Mayacamas Mountain Range on the western and northern sides the Vaca Mountains on the eastern side, with several smaller valleys within these ranges. The main valley floor gradually rises from sea level at the southern end to 110m above sea level at the northern end in Calistoga at the foot of Mount Saint Helena. The soil in the southern end of the valley consists mainly of sediments deposited by earlier advances and retreats of San Pablo Bay while the soil at the northern end of the valley contains a large volume of volcanic lava and ash.  
Among the internationally acclaimed wines produced in this small region are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Zinfandel and Cabernet Franc, to name a few. In spite of its international reputation, Napa Valley is one of the smallest winegrowing regions in the world. The region’s established viticultural practices result in low yields of high-quality grapes, from which skilled winemakers craft Napa Valley’s renowned wines.

Wine in Brief:



Sunday, August 18, 2013

Marques de Caceres 'Reserva' 2005

Grape Variety: 85% Tempranillo, 15% Garnacha Tinta & Graciano
Growing Region: Rioja, Spain
Consultant Winemaker: Michel Rolland
Just like the 'Gran Reserva' wines crafted by Marques de Caceres, this 'Reserva' wine is only produced from vintages classed as excellent or very good. This 2005 Reserva was matured for 22 months in French oak barrels and for another 18 months or more in bottle, depending on the date of release.
The 2005 growing season was extremely varied in Rioja - but as with the rest of Europe turned for the better due to the intensive heat. Resulting in more than ideal conditions in the final few months to produce complex flavours in the harvested bunches, with the 2005 vintage was being officially rated as excellent. The grapes were selected from vineyards that are well exposed to the seasonal sun, with a considerable proportion of fruit coming from older vines that produce lower yields, resulting in greater flavour concentration.
In the glass you have a deep red colour. On the nose you will find an intense and complex bouquet combining fruits of the forest and a hint of spice, with a slight touch of floral notes. The palate is dense and delicious in the mouth where exquisite tannins reveal refined toasted notes acquired from the selected oak. The palate has a balanced complexity and the rich flavours provide good length and ensure a pleasant tasting experience. The wines unctuous structure comes through elegantly, producing an excellent character and personality in the wine. The wine has well-integrated tannins crafting a refined and luscious finish. Decant for 45-60 minutes and serve at 16-18°C.
Drinking perfectly well this coming season; and through to the end of 2018.
Perfect wine match with rich paella - quality Iberico ham, roast or grilled meats, foie gras, duck and mature cheese, enjoy.
A rustic wine, with a touch of elegance.


Madiran Wine

Madiran wine is produced around the village of Madiran in Gascony under two (AOPs): Madiran for red wines and Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh and Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh Sec for white wines. The production area for Madiran wine is spread over three départments - Gers, Hautes-Pyrénées and Pyrénées-Atlantiques - and is a part of the South West France wine region, making up approximately 1,400 hectares of Madiran vineyards. The vineyards were planted by the Romans and there reputation was spread by the pilgrims travelling through the area on their way to Santiago de Compostela - and are some of the oldest vineyards in France.

Madiran was created as an AOC in 1948, and only red wine can be produced under this appellation. The main grape variety in Madiran AOP is Tannat, which must make up approximately 55% of the vineyard area, which was allegedly brought by monks from Bordeaux. It is supplemented by Cabernet-Franc 34%; Cabernet Sauvignon 10% and Fer Servadou 1% (locally called Pinenc) - some of the appellation's top wines are in fact made from 100% Tannat; this is within AOP regulations.
The wine is typically very concentrated, high in tannin and traditionally requires several years aging to be at its best. The style of quality Madiran wine is not unlike that of high-end Cabernet Sauvignon dominated Bordeaux wines. However, recently some of the younger generation winemakers have been experimenting with, and producing, wines which are softer and more approachable in their youth. Madiran is also known as the healthiest of red wines due to the high levels of procyanidins it contains. This is said to be good for reducing blood pressure, lowering cholesterol and encouraging healthy blood clotting.
Geographically the Madiran wine region is some 100km from the Atlantic Ocean - and 50km’s from the Pyrenees mountain range. The area has significant rainfall in winter and spring, though the region enjoys long, dry, hot summers well adapted to ripening grapevines. Madiran AOP wines must be aged for 12 months before being able to be presented for approval; to obtain such approval, the wines are compared to a ‘control’ and if their level or ‘typicity’ does not meet the standard, they are refused. The red wine styles of the area typically are very dense and deep in colour, dark purple to black, aromas of red and black berries (blackcurrant, blackberry), spices; significantly tannic structure, powerful on the palate, relatively high acidity, very pronounced typicity.

Wine in Brief:



Sunday, August 11, 2013

Brookfields 'Sun-Dried' Malbec 2012

Grape Variety: 100% Malbec
Growing Region: Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand
Owner / Chief Winemaker: Peter Robertson
The grapes for this 2012 ‘Sun-Dried’ Malbec were selectively harvested from Ohiti Estate and the Tuki Tuki Valley vineyard sites in Hawke’s Bay. The Malbec vines that Peter and his team tend too readily achieve ripeness each vintage, with each parcel normally being harvested at 23 Brix or more. The technique of sun-drying of bunches enhanced the sugar concentration inside each berry, as well as the flavours and colour.
The Malbec grapes were carefully handpicked, and then ‘sun-dried’ in trays for three to four weeks before being made into wine. Open fermentation tanks were used, so the grapes could be hand plunged. Due to the loss of moisture with the sun-drying, the cap is quite thick and demands more effort and attention than normal when plunged. After pressing and malolactic fermentation had occurred, and then the Malbec went into French oak barriques for a further 6 months of development.
In the glass you have a deep dark red colour wine. This wine is both bold in colour and intense fruit, this is typical of Peter’s ‘Sun-Dried’ Malbec, but from the 2012 vintage. Sun-Drying also enhances the bouquet, and the palate is energized. Rich, dark berry flavours come to the fore, and the integrated oak and tannins gives this wine a full and lengthy finish. Decant for 35-45 minutes and serve at 17-18°C.
Drinking well this coming season; and will appreciate another 5-7 years.
Perfect wine match with prime cuts of meat, with wild mushrooms and a slowly reduced wine jus, enjoy.
Packed with Personality.


Wines of Turkey:

The wines of Turkey have 11,000 years of history, and are the home to between 600-1200 indigenous varieties, though today less than 60 varietals are grown commercially. Turkish wines represent the oldest in the world in terms of winemaking. Turkey’s unique geography bridging Europe and Asia, has not only been the cradle for civilizations in the world but also this geography represents a unique fauna with a biological diversity having 75% of the total number of plant species found in the whole of Europe.

With all these aspects; and over 517,000 hectares planted under vine, Turkey is the world's fifth-leading producer of grapes but only utilizing 3% of them in winemaking; being home to the Vitis Vinifera, oldest civilizations, widest cuisine and unique indigenous grape varieties, the wines of Turkey have a huge diversity. According to the OIV (International Organisation of Vine and Wine), the total wine production in 2012 was 65 million liters of wine.
Grape varieties include: Adakarasi, Alicante Bouchet, Boğazkere, Bornova Misketi, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignan, Chardonnay, Cinsault, Çalkarasi, Çavufl, Dimrit, Emir, Gamay, Grenache, Kalecik Karasi, Karalahna, Kuntra, Malbec, Merlot, Narince, Öküzgözü, Papazkarasi, Petit Verdot, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Sangiovese, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Syrah, Sultaniye, Tempranillo, Vasilaki, Viognier.
The size and geography of Turkey accounts for the wide climatic variation of Turkey's wine regions. The wine regions of Thrace along the Sea of Marmara has a slight Mediterranean climate - and is responsible for nearly 40% of Turkey's wine production which also produces the most elegant and balanced wines in Turkey. The sub region of Thrace, Kirklareli, is known for crisp white wines and fine reds. The wine regions along the Aegean coast, mostly near Izmir, account for 20% of the country's wine production, and have much more pronounced Mediterranean climates with mild winters and warm, dry summers.
The remaining portion of Turkey's wine production takes place in scattered areas throughout the Eastern and Central Anatolia regions. The region of Central Anatolia is the most climatically difficult region to produce wine, with most vineyards being located at altitudes near 1,250 meters above sea level. Winter frost is a serious viticultural hazard, with winter temperatures often dropping to -25°C. The vineyards of Eastern Anatolia around Elazığ, Malatya and Diyarbakır are located in the Euphrates valley, which is one of the world's oldest wine regions.

Wine in Brief:



Sunday, August 4, 2013

Paul Jaboulet 'La Petite' Chapelle 2005

Grape Variety: 100% Syrah
Growing Region: Rhône Valley, France
Chief Winemaker: Caroline Frey - *(since 2006)
I have had the pleasure to stand amongst the vines from which this wine is sourced. Contrary to popular belief 'La Petite Chapelle' is not sourced from a single parcel of Hermitage. Rather a masterful blend of the diverse terroirs of Les Bessards, Les Greffeux, Le Méal and Les Rocoules. The richness of these diverse parcels combine to create a wine of incredible complexity and longevity. Each parcel is vinified separately, right until the final blending, which takes place one year after the harvest. The first vintage of ‘La Petite Chapelle’ was back in 2001.
Many of you may remember the extreme weather experienced across Europe in 2005 - marked by drought for most of the growing season. Selective small parcels were harvest over a 3 week period - each bunch having very small, firm berries, with very thick skins, resulting in a red wine much darker in colour than usual, along with the excellent representation of our terroir.
Grapes are hand-picked and brought to the base of the hill in small sleds. The selected grapes undergo a strict sorting prior to vinification. Each parcel is vinified separately and aged for 15 to 18 months or more in the cellars. Once the final blend is chosen, the wine receives additional time in barrel and is then aged in bottle prior to release.
In the glass you are greeted by a deep, black cherry colour, shining and bright, the wine has an intense aroma of fresh spices, red currants, floral notes and ripe, wild cherries. On the complex palate, the wine has a powerful and harmonious attack on the senses, all wrapped in subtle oak and noble tannins giving the wine a very long and elegant finish. Decant for 60-90 minutes and serve at 16 -18°C.
Approachable this winter season; through would appreciate another 10-12 years.
Perfect wine match with Quail stuffed with foie gras, Duck breast, roast Pork or Lamb shank, enjoy.
A real treat at any occasion.


Cornas AOP

Cornas is a French wine area in the northern Rhône wine region of France south of Lyon. It is one of the smallest appellations in the Rhône valley and produces only red wine, crafted from 100% Syrah.
The name Cornas is Celtic for "burnt earth", and the first written record of wine in the region was as early as 885. Cornas became an official appellation in 1938 although it was not until 1950 that the first local producers began bottling their own wines.
Cornas, along with the rest of the northern Rhône has a continental climate rather than the Mediterranean influences found in the south. Though unlike some of the other northern Rhône appellations, due to the geological semi-amphitheatre shape of the steep hillside slopes facing east south east - Cornas is mostly protected from the cold ‘le mistral’ winds, and is often the first appellation in the north to begin harvest. The vineyards situated between 100 - 400 meters above sea level are just north of the town of Valence, in a fairly small area of only 90 hectares, south of Tain l'Hermitage and on the west side of the Rhône river. In the northern part, especially near ‘Les Chaillot’, the soil contains chalk but is mostly sandy and rocky, with characteristic reddish-brown soil. The sunny sector of ‘Quartier de Reynard’ has a granite soil and to the south, near ‘La Côte’ and ‘La Combe’, the soil is mostly clay.
Unlike other northern Rhône red wines, no addition of white grapes is permitted, and no white grapes are grown. Although growers could plant different grape varieties in Cornas, the appellation is planted exclusively with Syrah as any wine made from other grapes would have to be sold under a different label, probably Côtes du Rhône AOP.
A contributing factor to the unique style of these red wines is the granite-based soil, made traditionally and often spending two years in oak. The wines are strong and powerful - a cross between Hermitage and Côte-Rôtie, but typically with less elegance and finesse. They tend to be much more serious wines than St. Joseph or Crozes-Hermitage. Cornas wines can be slightly rustic, with young wines being deep, dense and almost black in colour and fiercely tannic. After 5-10 years of ageing the best wines develop a more elegant and complex character, with aromas of forest floor and wild game.

Wine in Brief: