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.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Gleneagles Hotel - Perthshire

After a relaxing train journey from Edinburgh to Perth - I was met at the station and we made our way along traditional stone walled lanes to the grand Gleneagles Hotel. The surrounding scenery doesn’t quite prepare you for the impressive setting and architecture of one of the world’s most coveted 5 star resorts, currently owned by ‘Diageo Plc’ and also a member of The Leading Hotels of the World. Set in 850 acres of Perthshire countryside, Gleneagles is home to three of the top Scottish Championship Golf Courses and a wide range of exciting outdoor leisure activities.


We were here to host a vertical tasting and training for the staff and assist them to find the best matches with the current menu at a long lunch - to be held in the conservatory, off the Strathearn Restaurant. Gleneagles has an international reputation for excellent cuisine and fine dining. Each of the restaurants has its own style, but their trademark is the use of the finest fresh produce available locally in Perthshire and Scotland, as well as from specialist suppliers abroad.
After the wine tasting; we moved through the Strathearn Restaurant - where half the staff (waiters & sommeliers) at the tasting - took care of all our needs throughout the long lunch - and yes the other half joined us.
But before we enjoyed the first course; Guillaume Gorichon - head sommelier took me on a guided tour behind the scenes, through the wine and food stores, the kitchen areas and then the temperature controlled, glass-walled fine wine cellar, where they have wines that you generally only see at a Sotheby Auctions. The wine list has over 700 wines to choose from and some very special wines at that, and to finish a collection of some of the rarest malt whiskies in Scotland.
Whether you are dining for lunch, or dinner you will experience the very best of Scotland's fare with a touch of the unexpected. A detail that I was very pleased has lasted - is the dress code, not too formal, as smart casual is accepted, but no denim or shorts, so it encourages you to prepare for the experience you are about to have. On this occasion we didn’t dine in the ‘Andrew Fairlie’ restaurant: which is a two Michelin-starred restaurant, where every detail has been carefully planned to create a truly special experience, from the original artwork on the walls and stunning decor to the specially selected French cheeses and locally-grown herbs. The signature dish 'Smoked Lobster', which involves smoking lobster shells over old whisky barrels for up to twelve hours.
After lunch we quickly visited ‘Deseo’ a Mediterranean Food Market restaurant, offers informal, delicious dining, which is perfect for a quick bite. It was a pleasure to meet all the highly trained staff and get a very personal insight into what makes the cuisine and service leading edge.
So whatever your preference a casual bite or a world class dining experience - if you find yourself in the heart of Scotland - try to book at Gleneagles - one of world’s most coveted establishments.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Balmoral tastes Bordeaux

While I was in Edinburgh, I had the opportunity to spend the day at one of Scotland’s most well-known historic landmarks - plus sample some of the world’s finest wines from Bordeaux. Hosted and run by ‘Le Conseil Interprofessionnel du Vin de Bordeaux’ (CIVB) - Bordeaux Wine Association - a private association with a very public interest. It is under the responsibility of the French Ministry of Agricultural Affairs - and is behind the new direction and drive to design more and more opportunities for the Trade (the session that I was attending) and for the public to sample and learn more about Bordeaux wines.


The Balmoral Hotel sits proud and grand in the city centre of Edinburgh - able to be scene from nearly all vantage points as you travel around the city. The Balmoral Hotel is from a time gone by, but has been lovingly, respectfully and appropriately brought along into the 21st century. Located in the heart of the city at No. 1 Princes Street, next to the Waverley Railway Station (the second largest train station in the UK) and very close to Edinburgh’s historic Old Town and also overlooks Edinburgh Castle - or is that the other way around.
All 168 spacious bedrooms and 20 suites have been individually designed with particular attention to comfort and style. A number of dining experiences are available and include fine dining in the Michelin starred ‘Number One’ restaurant, more informal dining in Hadrian's Brasserie and several other areas to enjoy a light bite a fine glass of wine or a cocktail.
The CIVB was also here to promote the interests of its members - and it has chosen a grand stage to do so. It was a technical as well as a practical session - as they shared a great deal of their research and knowledge, from production to sales.
The session took us through a close look at the Bordeaux vineyards to discover the four prestigious soils: Médoc, Sauternes, Graves and Saint-Emilion. Most of the information was a gentle refresher on the origins and history of the classified growths of the Bordeaux region, as well as the origins of the classifications and appellations. So the best way to get your head (plus taste-buds around a topic that will take a lifetime to feel comfortable with) - we went through several flights of wines, to help understand the 4 soils and regions.
Starting with giving clarity to many on the 16th Century, when the Médoc was yet only vast marshland, - through to the birth of the Pessac-Léognan appellation in 1987, - simply it was a great chance for all to embrace the history of these exceptional vineyards and what they produce. Yes we enjoyed flights of white and red wines, plus we finished on a great flight of Barsac and Sauterne wines. A good day, I must admit, with a wry smile.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Vinsobres Master Class - London

On the 13th of this month - at the London International Wine Festival 2009 - I had the opportunity to be part of a 'Master Class' on the newest 'cru' within the Cotes du Rhone. Located north-east from the ancient-walled city of Avignon, Vinsobres wines are as dynamic as the geographical topography that they are grown.
The vineyards of Vinsobres have always been modest in size. After the big frost in 1956 which destroyed the olive trees, the vines once more regained their place. Vinsobres was classified Cotes du Rhone Villages in 1957, then Cotes du Rhone Villages Vinsobres in 1967. The vineyards then obtained the local cru status - appellation Vinsobres in 2005.
The soils in the region consist of rocky soils on the hillsides, and quatenary rocky alluvial soils on the terraces.


The grape variety mix includes: (only red wines): Grenache Noir - 50% minimum in the blend, Syrah 25% up to 50% and or Mourvedre, other grape varieties allowed can be no more than 25% maximum.
During the master class we sampled 6 exceptional examples of terroir, local weather, winemaking and vintage understanding and respect.
Without listing each wine in turn - each wine showed clearly the percentage influence and age of the vines of Grenache and their resulting personality and character in each glass. On the nose you had notes of ripe red fruits, blackcurrant and cherry, with spicy notes, through to vanilla and pepper. The palate of each wine varied and expressed power and finesse at the same time, with a refreshing mouth feel, well-balanced with ever present tannins, that lingered long in the mouth.
Each wine - as with all good wine - was made to best express itself with good local cuisine, and these red wines would go well with; red meats, game and a loaf of crusty bread and cheese. Many people will be unsure on the ageing potential of Grenache predominant wines, and these 6 wines varied from early drinking between 3-6 years and 2 wines could age gracefully for 10 to even 25 years.
If you have not had the pleasure of sharing a good bottle of Vinsobre wine with a good friend and a good meal, I encourage you to visit your local fine wine retailer today and see what you can find, it will be a well worthwhile adventure.