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, November 24, 2013

Matawhero 'Church House' Chenin Blanc 2013

Grape Variety: 100% Chenin Blanc
Growing Region: Gisborne, New Zealand
Owners: Kirsten & Richard Searle
Chenin Blanc is one of the classic grape varieties of the world - slightly lost in translation here in New Zealand for a number of years - but with a confident and relevant approach, this expression is something to please the taste buds and pair with varied summer cuisine. The grapes for this wine were sourced Pete Briant’s vineyard in the Patutahi region just across the river from Matawhero.
After regular deliberations between the viticulturist and winemaker the Chenin Blanc was harvested when the grapes were flavour ready. Harvesting took place in the cool of the morning; with the fruit reaching superb ripeness after one of the best summers on record in Gisborne.
Once in the winery - the grapes were swiftly crushed and pressed ensuring that the brightest, most delicate flavours and aromas were protected during fermentation. Careful temperature management during fermentation has helped protect and develop this wines full expression. Once the perfect balance had been achieved the Chenin Blanc was separated from the fermentation solids to maximise the expression of this crisp variety’s wonderful floral and citrus characters.
In the glass you have a pale straw colour with golden highlights. On the nose this Chenin Blanc is showing citrus blossom, floral and orange zest notes. The well balanced palate has an abundance of lime, white peach and honeysuckle characters with fresh acidity - giving the wine a lively finish. Chill and serve at 8ºC.
Drinking perfectly well this summer season; and through until the end of 2014.
Perfect wine match with seafood, Asian cuisine, and fresh flavoured summer salads, enjoy.
An old refreshing classic, ready for summer.

Fiano Grape:

Fiano is an Italian white wine grape variety that is grown primarily in the Campania region of southern Italy and on the island of Sicily. In Campania this grape is particularly noted around Avellino where the DOCG wine of Fiano di Avellino is produced.  The grape has a long history in the Campania region and is believed to have been the grape behind the ancient Roman wine Apianum.  Even today, the name Apianum is permitted to appear on wine labels of the DOCG wine Fiano di Avellino.
Outside of Italy, several Australian wine producers have begun to use the grape. Production and vineyards are still small, but one place showing good results is in the McLaren Vale wine region of South Australia.  More recently, some winemakers in Argentina are producing Fiano in the La Rioja district north of Mendoza.

Ampelographers and wine historians connect Fiano with southern Italy, and believe it has origins in ancient Roman viticulture and perhaps may have even been cultivated by the ancient Greeks before them. The small, thick-skinned berries of Fiano usually produce very little juice and, given the vines natural tendency for low yields, can make Fiano an unprofitable grape to grow. However, in recent years, the variety has enjoyed a lift in interest as southern Italian wineries invest in modernized winemaking techniques and equipment, as well as a desire to revitalize indigenous and classical varietals.
For the Fiano di Avellino DOCG, at least 85% of the wine must be made from Fiano with Greco, Coda di Volpe and Trebbiano permitted in the blend. Grapes destined for this DOCG wine must be limited to a maximum harvest yield of 10 tonnes per hectare and fermented to a minimum alcohol level of 11.5%. In its youth Fiano is often intensely flavoured and aromatic with, floral and honey notes that over time develop spicy and hazelnut notes. The introduction of modern winemaking techniques with its emphasis on limiting oxidation and preserving varietal freshness, have improved the overall quality of Fiano wines over recent years.

Wine in Brief:



Sunday, November 17, 2013

Jules Taylor 'Marlborough' Sauvignon Blanc 2013

Grape Variety: 100% Sauvignon Blanc
Growing Region: Marlborough, New Zealand
Owner / Winemaker: Jules Taylor
Most of the country has now started to enjoy long sunny, summer days - encouraging each of us to think about and serve fresh seafood cuisine, including shellfish, white fish and seasonal salads. So to pair with these fresh flavours you need a bright, lively and crisp white wine - so on que enters this dynamic Sauvignon Blanc. The fruit for this quality, layered Sauvignon Blanc was grown in the Hawkesbury, Lower Wairau & Awatere Valley sub regions of Marlborough.
Each carefully harvested parcel of fruit was chosen for its specific contribution to the aroma, flavour and structure of the final wine blend. In order to respect and reflect the flavours of each individual vineyard parcel to come through in the final blend, Jules kept the winemaking deliberately uncomplicated. As the parcels of fruit came into the winery, they were pressed and cold settled over a period of 48 hours. After racking the juice off its lees, a cool fermentation with selected yeast strains took place over a good length of time. Post fermentation, the individual components were then tasted and blended, stabilised and bottled capturing the grape varietal freshness.
In the glass the wine has a pale lime colour, with a lemon hue. On the nose this Sauvignon Blanc shows aromas of fruit salad, passion-fruit and white peach, pineapple skin notes with underlying green peppers and tomato vine leaves. On the palate the wine is wrapped in a juicy acidity and those tropical flavours of passion-fruit, pineapple and subtle lychee notes shine through with restrained herbaceous notes rounding out the lively, crisp dry finish. Chill and serve at 8ºC.
Drinking perfectly well this summer season; and through until the middle of 2014.
Perfect wine match with simple served shellfish, steamed or grilled white fish and a freshly tossed summer salad, enjoy.
An iconic Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.

Bolgheri Wine Region - Italy:

Bolgheri is located in the commune of Castagneto Carducci, a 270 kilometers north-west of Rome and lies in the Province of Livorno in Italy, on the foothills of the Colline Metallifere, south of Montescudaio. Due to the unique characteristics of the soil and micro climate sunny, dry and moderate winds, the grape varieties of Bordeaux origin tend to thrive, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Mario Incisa della Rocchetta planted the first Cabernet vineyard in Castiglioncello di Bolgheri in 1944. The first bottle of Sassicaia, with the same label we know today, appeared in 1968.

The DOC certification for the red wines took many years to recognize that the brilliant insight of the Marquis Incisa had created a unique phenomenon in the history of Italian wine: that phenomenon which makes Bolgheri wines a full and grand expression of terroir, wines which are deeply linked to the soil and climate of their territory. Among the most known wines with an original and personal character - were called "Super Tuscan" producers are Tenuta San Guido who produce Sassicaia, Tenuta Dell'Ornellaia who produce Ornellaia, and Ca'Marcanda of Gaja, Guado al Tasso of Antinori.
The current set of DOC regulations for Bolgheri red wines became approved in 1994. Before the creation of this DOC, the "Super Tuscans" from the area were typically sold under the simpler designations Vino da tavola or IGT Toscana. The area covered by the DOC Bolgheri has expanded rapidly in the past ten years, going from 250 hectares at the end of the 90s, to now surpassing 1000 hectares.
The production rules of 1994 permitted the production of:
Bolgheri Rosso - (Bolgheri red wine).
Bolgheri Superiore - (superior level Bolgheri red wine).
Bolgheri Sassicaia - limited to vineyards on the land owned by the San Guido estate.
Cabernet Sauvignon (with a minimum of 10% to a maximum of 80%). Merlot and Sangiovese (optional), in varying percentages (from 0 to 70%) - Rosso must be aged for 24 months.
Bolgheri Bianco (Bolgheri white), based on Vermentino with complementary percentages of Trebbiano and Sauvignon Blanc.
The sub-zone Sassicaia has its own appellation declaration; with up to 85% of Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Cabernet Franc, it must be aged for 26 months and is expected to be upgraded to DOCG status. A recent modification of the appellation rules, have changed the percentages permitted in blends: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, or Cabernet Franc: 0-100%; Sangiovese: 0-50%; Syrah: 0-40%.
On December 14, 1995, the official wine-growers association for the protection of Bolgheri DOC Wines was founded. The symbol adopted by the Consortium was the cypress, the element which characterizes the Tuscan countryside, and which has become celebrated in this area due to the famous road which connects Bolgheri to San Guido. The straight, six-kilometre long road, of trees represents the cohesion of the producers who decided to join together in a close-knit group, with the aim of enhancing, promoting and defending quality wine production in the territory.

Wine in Brief:



Sunday, November 10, 2013

Brookfields 'Back Block' Syrah 2013

Grape Variety: 100% Syrah
Growing Region: Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand
Owner / Chief Winemaker: Peter Robertson
As the name states - the fruit for this wine is sourced from the ‘Back Block’ vineyard located on the Ohiti Estate in Hawke’s Bay. The grapes ripen here extremely well every season due to the vines being surrounded by hills and growing on a shingle free draining base, with the vines facing northerly in direction, thus ideal for achieving physiological ripeness.
The flavour packed fruit was harvested on the 19th of April, where it was fermented in tank to retain varietal integrity. The grape cap was pumping over on a regular basis to extract balanced colour, aroma and palate characters. The time on the skins was approximately three weeks. It was then pressed and immediately went back into tank, for malolactic fermentation, it was then transferred to age and develop further layers for a limited time in oak barrels. 
In the glass this 2013 ‘Back Block’ Syrah is rich in colour with a magenta edge, accompanied by a most inviting palate. Made in an extractive manner due to the ripeness, the ‘Back Block’ Syrah has intensely dark berry flavours, with a moreish palate. Typical notes of white pepper, with subtle spices are evident, wrapped in ripe black Doris plum. With this 2013 vintage - ripeness is the key to this wines early appeal. The barrel mix is French and American, some of which were coopered in Portugal. Time in oak barrel was limited, hence the early approachability of this Syrah.  Decant for 30-45 minutes and serve at 16-18ºC.
Drinking perfectly well this summer season; and over the next 2-3 years.
Perfect wine match with roast meats, slow cooked Duck dishes, freshly made sessoned pasta and hard cheeses, enjoy.
Well balanced, early drinking style Syrah.

Baga Grape - Portugal:

Baga is one of the highest yielding Portuguese red wine grape varieties, planted largely in the Bairrada DOC region. Bairrada is the famous home of this difficult Baga grape, but it is also found widely elsewhere in the Beiras, including Dão and Ribatejo where it is blended across other indigenous grape varieties. Baga grapes are small, dark thick-skinned - which makes for high tannin levels with high acidity, with the grapes are known to ripen late, and even poorly in cooler, conditions. Baga - the name meaning ‘berry’ performs best on clay soils and requires good sun exposure. Even then, it is highly susceptible to rot, especially in the regions September rains. The vines produce extensive foliage, creating a lot of work in the vineyard for quality-conscious grape growers.
Baga requires a very warm growing season to achieve full physiological ripeness, Baga wines have deep colour and a rich but lean, tannic, high-acid structure, with clear flavours of berries and black plums and hints of coffee, tobacco and smoke, this unique grape variety whose ratio of skin to pulp makes even Cabernet Sauvignon appear gentle!
Though often astringent when young, Baga wines, especially the best ones from Bairrada can age remarkably well, softening and gaining elegance and a herb, cedar note, dried red fruits, that age into elegant wines of great complexity
The aroma starts out with red cherry/berry fruit developing into red/black plum, tobacco and coffee bean flavours finishing with expansive complexity. The grape’s ample acid leads to quality sparkling wine production, and it is often proclaimed as the best in Portugal comes from the region of Bairrada.
Baga, wine, has an acquired taste for many; it’s not for the faint of heart. With the vibrant acidity and ample tannins it pairs well with rich foods. Locally it is traditional to pair with rich suckling pig, in other regions pork belly to duck, from rich pastas to heavy stews. As a sparkling wine, they can pair well with tapas to spring rolls, samosas to varied crudités.

Wine in Brief:



Sunday, November 3, 2013

Lake Chalice 'Marlborough' Sauvignon Blanc 2013

Grape Variety: 100% Sauvignon Blanc
Growing Region: Talon Vineyard, Grovetown, Marlborough, New Zealand
Head Winemaker: Matt Thomson
With summer just around the corner - what better wine to pair with fresh fish and a summer salad than a Sauvignon Blanc. Lake Chalice have a long and respected history of crafting fruit forward, early drinking style Sauvignon Blanc wines - and this 2013 is made to impress any summer occasion. Talking with the guys behind Lake Chalice, they are very pleased with their new Talon Vineyard in the Dillons Point area, east of Blenheim the source of the fruit for this wine.
The block is one of the last in the area to be planted under vines. Matt and Phil identified this area as ideal Sauvignon Blanc country some time ago and spent 18 months searching before being able to secure this block in 2007, with the first crop harvested in 2009.
This site now ensure that they can source Sauvignon Blanc from all the main sub-regions of Marlborough (Awatere Valley, Rapaura, Lower Waihopai, Renwick and now Dillons Point Road) and will able them to maintain a consistent style and quality for this estate label expression. The Talon Vineyard provided 67% of this blend with the balance coming from two other vineyards in the same area of Marlborough’s Wairau Plain.
The harvested fruit was promptly delivered to the winery and pressed without delay to enable minimal skin contact. Cool fermentation took place in stainless steel tanks using selected yeasts.
In the glass you will have a pale straw coloured wine with green hues. On the nose you will find lifted aromas of passion-fruit and blackcurrant leaves. The palate is dry and crisp, a medium bodied wine with a refreshing and lively palate. The mouth-watering acidity is balanced by a subtle mineral note giving this wine a lingering finish. Chill and serve at 8ºC.
Drinking perfectly well this summer season; and through to the middle of 2014.
Perfect wine match with freshly caught shellfish, grilled white fish with a freshly tossed summer salad, enjoy.
Crisp, lively, early drinking Sauvignon Blanc.



Vosne-Romanée produces Burgundy's most celebrated wines, made entirely from the Pinot Noir grape. It has been said - that amongst the stars in the night sky which shine above the Cote de Nuits, Vosne-Romanée is the brightest star. Vosne-Romanée received its AOC on the 11th September 1936, Vosne-Romanée today covers just over 200 hectares of vineyards that nestle between Nuits St.Georges and Flagey-Echézeaux - in 1861 only 167 hectares had such a classification.  Not until 1866 was Romanée appended to Vosne, the new name was part hommage, part marketing and without doubt brought and still brings an extra level of distinction to ‘Vosne’ and its wine.

Vosne-Romanée wine is produced in the commune of Vosne-Romanée in Côte de Nuits of Burgundy as well as in the neighbouring commune of Flagey-Échezeaux. There are a total of 15 Premier Cru vineyards in the two communes, as well as six Grand Cru vineyards in Vosne-Romanée and two in Flagey-Échezeaux, which are Burgundy's most iconic, sought-after and expensive red wines.
In 2008 154 hectares of vineyard were in production for Vosne-Romanée wine at village and Premier Cru level, and nearly 6000 hectoliters of wine produced, corresponding to almost 800,000 bottles. Within both communes, there are vineyards on the plains to the east of the N74, which are only entitled to the regional Bourgogne appellation. To the east of the town are vineyards that are only entitled to the village appellation. The premier crus in Vosne cover some 57ha, often on slopes exposed to either the east or south-east. These soils tend to have less depth and contain a higher proportion of limestone than those in the village vineyards and the topsoil is mainly scree, making for excellent drainage.
The AOP regulations allow up to 15% Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris as accessory grapes in the red wines, but this is not practiced to any greater extent. The allowed base yield is 40 hectoliter per hectare and the grapes must reach a maturity of at least 10.5% alcohol for village-level wines and 11% for Premier Cru wine.
The style of Vosne-Romanée wines is often described as a combination of elegance and power. The best examples of Grand Cru wines of this village are often seen as the ultimate expression of Pinot Noir: Vosne is described as the pearl of the Cote, with the assembled vineyards being the pick of its greatest crus: Romanée and Richebourg, Tache and Suchots, noble wines of velvet, fire, and exquisite grace. Vosne-Romanée is arguably the greatest Pinot Noir village on earth, with a style of wine which are rich, austere, masculine though refined. They combine a delicate though well-defined bouquet, a velvety depth of flavour with a lingering but firm finish.

Wine in Brief: