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.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Laboure-Roi - Nuits Saint Georges

On this annual visit to our European wineries - I found myself in Burgundy with a free day (normally reserved for catching up on laundry and booking train or plane tickets to my next destination) - So I jumped in the car with my seasoned professional wine traveller ‘Haggie’ - and we made our way to Nuits-Saint Georges to see if we could call on Laboure-Roi.
The history of Laboure-Roi dates back to 1832, when it was founded by Monsieur ‘Laboure’ and Monsieur ‘Roi’. The Burgundy négociants firm of Laboure-Roi, today owned by brothers Armand, Louis and Philippe Cottin, is involved not only in selling wines, but first and foremost, aging - to be released only when they show the ‘terroir’ from which they come. With the expert advice of their five oenologists, they select the grapes and juice, conduct the vinification process and then age the wines in barrels, tanks or bottles.


Laboure-Roi is a new breed of Burgundy négociants, a commercially savvy company and whose exports account for 70% of their business. Enterprising they may be, but they also have a huge respect for the traditions of Burgundy; Louis and Armand are descendants of a long line of Burgundian business families and their focus is to continually lift the status of this renowned region. As they put it themselves: "The team, as a whole, does its best to improve the cultural and sensorial art of the Great Wines of Burgundy, because that is the tradition of our region."
Working closely with top growers, Laboure-Roi have an intimate understanding of the unique terroir of the individual sites; by creating and owning one of the most advanced laboratories in France, they also embrace technology and innovation. The wines themselves are elegant and balanced, often with an appealing feminine edge; Chardonnays have finesse and subtle power, Pinot Noirs complexity and character.
We drove past the original winery / cellars on the main road through Nuits-Saint Georges and found our way through the back streets to their new site and head-office. Being that it was harvest time - I was not expecting to see too many of the winemaking team or have much time to spend with others - but we were warmly welcomed by Helen Holyoak (Sales Administration Manager) - and we spent some time catching up on the vintage with Patrick Sosnowicz (Export Manager) - who talked us through the vintage and the fruit that had already come in and how several of the previous vintages were developing in barrel and bottle.
Time was short, so we excused ourselves, not to delay them any further, and we found time later in the day - to open a bottle or two (or was it three) of the Laboure-Roi wines - just to reacquaint ourselves with these very approachable, easy drinking styles of wine.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

L'Athenaeum - Wine Books & more

This was not my first visit - nor will it be the last time I spend several hours totally engrossed in the sheer volume of literature and information on wine and all that is related in one place. L’Athenaeum was established in 1989 at the Hospices de Beaune, in the heart of the city, the Athenaeum is a multicultural building dedicated to wine and gastronomy.
It was created through a partnership between a famous Parisian publisher and Patriarche. Patriarche is guided by one goal: to make quality wines accessible to all, for sharing unique moments of discovery and taste sensations for all occasions, whether they are out-of-the-ordinary, celebratory or everyday events. The combination of their wine-related activities and their know-how gives them the strength to continue the work started by Jean-Baptiste Patriarche back in 1780!

L’Athenaeum - this unique single store, it is one of the largest libraries in Burgundy and France’s biggest bookshop devoted to wine, the absolute reference for wine lovers.
Books on every topic (historic and current) related to wine and gastronomy, maps of vineyards and regions, objects for the service of wine, and also wines of Burgundy are on show. This establishment is the crossroads where ones passion for all things wine meets tableware, between mankind’s emotion and humour and that of science, from light reading to specialized books...and more - yes even more.
Its reputation extends far beyond France's borders as each day simply hundreds of internet users from around the world visit the L'Athenaeum's website - where they find books available in their language which they are not available in their home country.
A visit to the ultimate multi-levelled book shop opposite the Hospices is an unforgettable experience, as you can find practically everything that has been written about food and wine. A number of works are available in French, English, German, Italian and other languages. If you are just simply curious or a passionate amateur, you will find the book, card or poster that you are looking for as well as numerous wine accessories. You will also find hundreds of Burgundy's top wines to taste or buy.
On this particular occasion I added to both my book and accessory collection, plus I was hunting for a unique ‘Tastevin’ as a thank you gift to a good friend, and it was here that I knew I would find what I was looking for, as you can imagine, I found it difficult to decide on which to buy. If you have any interest in wine or cuisine - this is a must visit destination.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Pierre André - Burgundy

Cote de Or, the ‘golden slopes’ - produces what are arguably the world’s finest, and definitely most expensive Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines in the world. So on my continuing journey to understanding this complex wine region, I had the special opportunity to visit and sample the fine wines of Château de Corton André. Pierre André has become synonymous with an endless quest to produce the ultimate wine from each individual vineyard and a symbol for the very best of Burgundy.

Château de Corton André looks out across the Corton Hill and is the heart of Pierre André. The Corton Hill vineyards produce truly rare and marvelous Burgundies which are at the very peak of the region's finest wines. It is also unique, in the fact that it produces both Grand Cru red (Corton) and Grand Cru white (Corton Charlemagne) wines.
These exceptional Grand Cru parcels of land; Corton Chaumes, Corton Renardes, Corton Charlemagne and Corton Clos du Château (monopoly holding). It was in these vineyards that the Pierre André story began and here that they acquired the understanding of the secrets hidden in the soil.


Pierre André wines are all about purity and terroir. Our colourful host Benoit Goujon, (Managing Director of Pierre Andre) - was very generous with his time and the wines that he opened. Each glass of wine that we enjoyed down in the cellars of the winery, were a clear and honest reflection of its origins - the land from which they were grown. During every step, from the vineyard right through to bottling, this purity had been carefully nurtured.
I savoured each wine that was opened, to be honest - I don’t remember spitting out any of them - but all the time - I thought it a shame, as each wine would have been a perfect match with so many fine dishes, their elegance and style providing a sensory sensation.

Their Chardonnay’s are a wonderful expression of Burgundy - full and round on the palate with complex bouquets of fruit, white flowers and subtle hints of spice, and a perfect balance of fresh acidity and richness on the finish.
In Burgundy, Pinot Noir is king and Pierre André's red wines portray all the complex characteristics of this most fussy of grapes. Each of the reds we tasted, were wonderfully concentrated and displayed distinct, fresh red fruit aromas that reached out of the glass. Each wine was ripe with supple tannins; we all talked about how enjoyable it would be to taste these wines again in a number of years, as they will develop much deeper notes, more complex character and personality with time in the bottle.