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, October 27, 2013

Tupari ‘Awatere Valley’ Sauvignon Blanc 2012

Grape Variety: 100% Sauvignon Blanc
Growing Region: Awatere Valley, New Zealand
Owner / Winemaker: Glenn Thomas
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.
Drinking perfectly well this summer season; and over the next 12 months.
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
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.
Drinking perfectly well this summer season; and through to the middle of 2014.
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
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.
Drinking perfectly well this summer season; and will develop further over the next 4-5 years.
Perfect wine match with seasoned red meats, mushroom pasta and aged, hard cheeses, enjoy.
A classic Chianti, true to its terroir.

Jura Wine Region:

Jura wine is produced in the Jura département of France, which is located between Burgundy and Switzerland. Jura is France's smallest wine region with around 1,600 hectares lies 80km directly east of Burgundy's Côte d'Or. The vineyards run northeast to southwest on the western foothills of the Jura Mountains. As in Burgundy, the soil is largely based on clay-limestone, but it is the outcrops of black, grey-blue, red and yellow marls, and the cretaceous fossil beds that form some of the highly prized vineyard sites of the Jura.

The northern part of the Jura, around Arbois has more clay and is stonier; hence it is more suitable for red varieties. The wine region has vineyard altitudes that are similar to those in Alsace, varying between 250m and 400m. However, the influence of the nearby mountains brings cold winters and in some years to untimely frost, hail or rainfall. Grape ripeness levels are always a concern for winemakers of the area and harvest times are often delayed as long as possible to try to achieve the highest levels. The continental climate does bring warm, long summers, ideal for Savagnin, the classic grape responsible for Jura’s famous Vin Jaune.
The six AOP wine areas within the Jura wine region include: Arbois, Château-Chalon, Crémant du Jura, Côtes du Jura, L'Étoile and Macvin du Jura. The main grapes of the region are Chardonnay making up 45%, known locally as Melon d'Arbois, Savagnin, also known locally as Naturé, Poulsard, Pinot Noir and Trousseau among the 40 other grape varieties that were prevalent in Jura for most of its winemaking history.
Jura's most famous and distinguishable wine is the sherry-like vin jaune. The wine is produced by picking Savagnin as ripe as possible, in some cases a sort of late harvest wine, and after fermentation it is aged in Burgundian oak barrels for over 6 years. The barrels are filled to the top and allowed to evaporate, reducing the volume in the barrel and creating an air pocket at the top of the barrel. During this time the wine oxidizes and grows a film of yeast that is similar, but not the same strain, as the Jerez region flor. Vin jaune is an intensely flavoured wine that often requires decanting prior to drinking. Other wine styles found in Jura includes a vin de paille made from Chardonnay, Poulsard and Savagnin, a sparkling Crémant du Jura made from slightly unripe Chardonnay grapes, and a vin de liqueur known as Macvin du Jura made by adding marc to halt fermentation.

Wine in Brief:



Sunday, October 6, 2013

Akarua ‘Central Otago’ Pinot Noir 2012

Grape Variety: 100% Pinot Noir
Growing Region: Central Otago, New Zealand
Head Winemaker: Matt Connell
I have enjoyed watching the progress of Akarua Pinot Noir since they first planted their vines in 1996. Even though 2012 was a difficult vintage for Central Otago and the rest of the country - both vine age and team confidence on how to work with their vines and fruit has resulted in a well balanced wine. As with all well crafted Pinot Noirs, their personality is influenced greatly by their environment and it is clear to see this unique expression is all Central Otago. Under the careful guidance of the head winemaker Matt Connell, supported by the experienced skilled of viticulturist Gillian Wilson they bottled another honest expression of Pinot Noir.
The fruit for this wine was sourced from their Bannockburn vineyard - and the carefully harvested bunches underwent pre-ferment maceration for 5 days. A number of various yeast strains were chosen for fermentation that was carried out for 6 days. The wine was then transferred to French oak barriques for 10 months with 30% being new oak with a medium-plus toasting.
In the glass you are met by a deep red colour with a ruby edge. On the nose there are bright aromatics of bramble fruits and spice. On the palate the wine expresses intense black fruit flavours and layered complexity. This wine is finely balanced with red fruits and finely textured and integrated tannins. This Pinot Noir has poise and a pleasant lingering finish. Decant for 30-45 minutes and serve at 16-18ºC.
Drinking perfectly well this summer season; and will develop further over the next 3-4 years.
Perfect wine match with roast pork, duck confit, mushroom pasta and mature cheeses, enjoy.
A well balanced, elegant Pinot Noir.



Amarone della Valpolicella is a rich Italian dry red wine made from the partially dried grapes of Corvina, Rondinella, and Molinara varieties. The wine was assigned DOC status in 1968 and on the 4th December 2009, Amarone and Recioto della Valpolicella were promoted to the status of DOCG. The name Amarone, in Italian, literally translates to "the Great Bitter"; was used to distinguish it from the Recioto wine produced in the same region, which is sweeter in style.
Ripe grapes are harvested in the first two weeks of October, carefully selecting bunches having fruit not too close to each other, to allow air flow. Grapes are allowed to dry, traditionally on straw mats. This process is called appassimento or rasinate (to dry and shrivel) in Italian. This concentrates the remaining sugars and flavours. The pomace left over from pressing off the Amarone is used in the production of ‘Ripasso’ Valpolicella.

Modern Amarone is now produced in special drying chambers under controlled conditions. This approach minimizes the amount of handling of the grapes and helps prevent the onset of Botrytis. In Amarone, the quality of the grape skin is a primary concern as that component brings the tannins, colour and intensity of flavour to the wine. The process of dehydration not only concentrates the juices within the grape but also increases the skin contact of the grapes.
The length of the drying process is typically 120 days but varies according to producer and the quality of the harvest. The most evident consequence of this process is the loss of weight from 25 to 45%. Following drying the grapes are crushed and then go through a dry, low temperature fermentation process which can last up to 30-50 days. After fermentation, the wine is then aged in barriques made from either French or Slovenian oak.
Amarone della Valpolicella wines must consist of a blend of grapes within the following percentages: Corvina Veronese between 45% and 95%. It is also allowed that a percentage of Corvinone up to 50% in substitution to a similar percentage of Corvina, with Rondinella between 5% - 30% and currently 5-10% of Molinara. It is possible to include in the production of Amarone up to a maximum of 10% of grapes coming from the following varietals: Negrara, Forsellina, Pelara and Oseleta.
At the end of the drying period, grapes should have a minimum natural alcohol of 14%. Before being released on the market, wines labeled “Amarone della Valpolicella” must undergo a period of ageing of at least 2 years from January 1st of the year following the vintage of the harvest. Amarone della Valpolicella wines labeled “Riserva”, should age for a minimum period of 4 years from November 1st of the harvest vintage.

Wine in Brief:



Tuesday, October 1, 2013

INDEX - Wine Reviews

(Simply click on wine to view article)
September 2013:

August 2013:

July 2013:
June 2013:
9th:         Stonyridge ‘Larose’ 2010


May 2013:


April 2013:

March 2013:


February 2013:


January 2013:

December 2012:
30th:       Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve NV  


October 2012:
1st:        Waipara Hills 'Waipara' Pinot Noir 2011


September 2012:
3rd:        Lake Chalice 'The Raptor' Chardonnay 2011


July 2012:
2nd:       Torbreck 'RunRig' Shiraz 2007  
16th:      Florio Marsala Targa Riserva 1840
23rd:      Stonyridge 'Larose' 2009 
25th:      Brookfields 'Hillside' Syrah 2010  



May 2012:


April 2012:


March 2012:

February 2012:

January 2012:

December 2011:
26th:     Henkell Trocken Dry Sec NV 

November 2011:
September 2011:
6th:       Paul Jaboulet 'La Chapelle' Hermitage 2007 
13th:     Chapel Hill 'The Parson's Nose' Shiraz 2010   
20th:     Lake Chalice 'Raptor' Chardonnay 2010 
27th:     Chakana 'Reserve' Malbec 2010 

August 2011:
2nd:      Kaesler 'Old Bastard' Shiraz 2007   
9th:       Stonyridge 'Larose' 2008  
16th:     Torbreck 'Woodcutter's' Shiraz 2010 
23rd:     Montes Classic Merlot 'Special Cuvee' 2009 
30th:     Rockburn 'Twelve Barrels' Pinot Noir 2009 
July 2011:
26th:     Quinta De La Rosa LBV Port 2004          

19th:     Nugan Estate 'Manuka Grove' Durif 2009      
12th:     Barros Tawny 10 Years Old Port           
5th:       Brookfields 'Sun-Dried' Malbec 2010      

June 2011:
28th:     Taylors 'Jaraman' Cabernet Sauvignon 2008      

21st:     Pasqua Grappa - Di Vinaccia Di Amarone NV 
14th:     Hewitson 'Ned & Henry's' Shiraz 2009      
7th:       Arrogant Frog 'Croak Baronne' Shiraz 2009        
May 2011:
31st:     Cecchi Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG 2006 

24th:     Geoff Merrill 'McLaren Vale' Shiraz 2006 
17th:     Rimu Grove 'Nelson' Chardonnay 2009 
12th:     Allan Scott 'The Hounds' Pinot Noir 2009 
3rd:       Lake Chalice 'Marlborough' Pinot Gris 2010  

April 2011:
26th:     Chapel Hill Grenache / Shiraz / Mourvedre 2008
19th:     Ti Point 'Marlborough' Pinot Gris 2010
12th:     Akarua 'Central Otago' Pinot Noir 2009
5th:       Matawhero 'Gisborne' Viognier 2009 

March 2011:
29th:     Gisselbrecht 'Alsace' Riesling 2009 
22nd:    Marques de Caceres Crianza 2007 
15th:     Brookfields 'Ohiti Estate' Gewurztraminer 2010 
8th:       Waipara Hill 'Waipara' Riesling 2010 
2nd:      Kaesler 'Avignon' G/S/M 2007 

February 2011:
22nd:    Three Paddles 'Martinborough' Pinot Noir 2009  
15th:     Georges Duboeuf Fleurie 2009   
8th:       Fallen Angel Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2010    
2nd:      Cookoothama Botrytis Semillon 2007  

January 2011:
25th:     Pol Roger Brut Reserve NV    
18th:     Pasqua 'Night Harvest' Pinot Grigio 2009   
11th:     Rockburn 'Central Otago' Pinot Gris 2010   
4th:       Sacred Hill 'Halo' Sauvignon Blanc 2010     

December 2010: 
28th:     Brunton 'Organic' Gisborne Chardonnay 2009  
21st:     Akarua 'Central Otago' Pinot Gris 2009   
14th:     Domaine Laroche Chablis 2008  
7th:       Fairhall Downs Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2009  

November 2010:

October 2010:
19th:     Barros Ruby Port

September 2010:

August 2010:

July 2010:

June 2010:

May 2010:

April 2010:

The Wine Guy