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.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Akarua 'Central Otago' Pinot Gris 2009

Grape Variety: 100% Pinot Gris

Growing Region: Bannockburn, Central Otago, New Zealand

Winemaker: Matt Connell

Silver Medal - Air NZ Wine Awards 2010.

Yes - central Otago produces more than just Pinot Noir. Among the other varieties, it also makes Pinot Gris - and does so very well, in a style that the world has another good reason to enjoy wines from this part of the world. Situated on the lower terrace of the vineyard and one of the cooler blocks. Planted on young alluvial, schist based sandy/silt and very sandy free draining loams, with the vine age ranging from 4 - 12 years.
This 2009 wine is well structured with richness and poise that now typifies the Akarua Pinot Gris style. Fermented in stainless steel tank and 15% of the juice in old neutral oak barriques. After fermentation the wine had lees contact and was stirred once a week for 6 months.
In the glass - the wine is bright and clear with a pale golden hue. The nose has lifted aromas of orange blossom and pear. In the mouth a lush layered palate with white peach and citrus flavours. The wine finishes with a zesty punch of fresh ginger and orange peel tang. Serve at 8-10C.

Drinking perfectly well this summer; and over the next 18 months.

Perfect wine match with steamed fish, Asian & Malaysian infused cuisine and vegetarian dishes, enjoy.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Domaine Laroche Chablis 2008

Grape Variety: 100% Chardonnay

Growing Region: Chablis, France

Chief Winemaker: Denis de la Bourdonnaye

A classic style of Chablis.

The 2008 vintage was marked by an early budburst followed by a cool growing season, but regular sun during the key stages in the development of flavours. These fresh climatic conditions have allowed a slow and regular maturation with an excellent aromatic combination.
The harvested fruit was whole bunch pressed in a pneumatic press, then settled for 12 hours at 12 - 15C. Then carefully selected yeast was used and fermentation took some 15 days at 16C in stainless steel tanks, with 100% malolactic fermentation. The fermented wine was then left to mature for 4 to 6 months on lees in stainless steel tank. Before bottling the wine had minimal filtration to preserve the maximum natural character of the wine, then bottling under low pressure on a bottling line designed to protect quality.
In the glass is a brilliant yellow colour. The nose is crisp, fresh and with subtle underling mineral notes. The palate is refreshing, smooth and harmonious with vibrant notes of apple and pear and a bright and refreshing lingering finish. The wines are expressive, refined and fruity on the nose, with a beautiful acidity, combining strength roundness and harmony. The 2008 vintage is very enjoyable. Serve at 8-10C.

Drinking perfectly well this summer season; and well into 2011.

Perfect wine match with oysters, shell-fish, grilled herb fish, salads and fresh, young cheese, enjoy.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Fairhall Downs Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2009

Grape Variety: 100% Sauvignon Blanc

Growing Region: Marlborough, New Zealand

Owner / Viticulturist: Stuart Smith

In the heat of summer, as soon as you start to offer a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc to a friend, they do one of two things *(well at my house anyway). (a): they lick their lips, their senses perk up and they look forward to all that is bright and alive that is Savvy from Marlborough. Or (b): they ask if the one that I have has had any time in oak and food friendly as they may want to drink it with their meal. This wine is of the latter, plus also ticks the first box - the Small & Smith family as with everything that they do, have left nothing to chance and have handpicked a portion of the fruit for this wine from one single vineyard.
As with nearly all of the wines that come from Fairhall Downs - this wine was picked over a range of times based on grape ripeness and flavours with some hand harvested and a carefully selected portion being fermented in French barriques - for a little bit more depth to the palate. In the glass the wine has a bright appearance. The nose is a refreshing blend of citrus and tropical notes, then the small portion of barrique wine gives a rich mid palate with great texture and length to the finish. Serve at 8C.

Drinking perfectly well this summer; and over the next 6-9 months.

Perfect wine match with any firm white fish, steamed vegetables and with a goat cheese salad, enjoy.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Chakana Estate Malbec 2009

Grape Variety: 100% Malbec

Growing Region: Agrelo (Lujan de Cuyo), Mendoza, Argentina

Consultant Winemaker: Alberto Antonini

90 points - Wine Advocate 2010

Chakana wines make me smile even before I open the bottle, the packaging, the people behind the wine and the culture that influences these wines - put my taste buds at the ready - for what I know will be a fruit driven, early drinking wine with a little bit of the x-factor in each glass. This entire 'estate' range offers a wide variety of young wines with a short period of ageing in oak. These wines are specially designed to be enjoyed within a few years of being released.
100% Malbec, the fruit was handpicked and sourced from 35 year old vines grown in Mendoza. Picked at perfect ripeness, this wine went through 4 days of maceration to extract the natural soft tannins, then 10 days of fermentation at relatively mild temperatures for red wine production to extract the deep purple colours that fill the glass. Post fermentation 10% of the wine had 3 months development in American oak.
On the nose, the wine reveals ripe plums, sweet strawberries, fine spices and dried flowers that meld beautifully together. All these notes follow through onto the palate; where the rich fruit characters give an excellent mouth feel and finishes with velvety tannins. Decant for 15-20mins. Serve at 17-18C.

Drinking perfectly well this season; and over the next 3-4 years.

Perfect wine match with Tapas, BBQ'd meats and homemade pizza - enjoy.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tupari 'Awatere Valley' Dry Riesling 2010

Grape Variety: 100% Riesling

Growing Region: Awatere Valley, New Zealand

Winemaker: Glenn Thomas

Gold - Air New Zealand Wine Awards 2010.

Tupari takes its name from the dramatic cliffs forming the Upper Awatere Valley where the Turnbull family and pioneering Marlborough winemaker Glenn Thomas have collaborated to create wines of distinction. The Tupari Riesling block is situated on a thin terrace stretching along the top of the cliff face with magnificent valley views.
This unique 'terroir' gives this wine its distinguishing mineral character and rich flavours. Following harvest in the cool of the night, the fruit was then gently pressed juice and carefully fermented to a point with only a few grams of sugar remaining.
In the glass you has a pale straw colour with green tints. Then wine has bright citrus aromas of sweet limes and a touch of spice and elderflower. The palate shows distinct varietal characters of ripe limes and grapefruit. The wine displays mineral notes, and good fruit weight following through with complementary well-balanced acidity and a fresh, lively finish. Serve at 8C.

Drinking perfectly well this coming summer; and over the next 2-3 years.

Perfect wine match with shellfish, tempura or grilled fish, sushi and fresh salads, enjoy.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Hewitson 'Miss Harry' G/S/M 2009

Grape Variety: 50% Grenache, 40% Shiraz, 5% Mourvedre & (5% Cinsault & Carignan)

Growing Region: Barossa, Australia

Chief Winemaker: Dean Hewitson

This wine is named after Dean's daughter Harriet - a.k.a 'Harry' her nickname. The 2009 vintage is sourced from traditionally dry grown vineyards dating back to the late 1800s in the heart of the Barossa Valley.
The three varieties Grenache, Shiraz and Mourvedre were picked at optimum maturity, fermented separately on their skins before finishing both fermentation and malolactic fermentation in old French barriques, then matured in the same barrels for 12 months without racking. This is the attention to detail that Dean gives to his wine, traditional methods that intensify the flavour and complexity.
The colour is bright red with a purple hue. The aromas are of ripe strawberry, intense red forest berries and rhubarb with layers of creamy complexity offered by the extended barrel maturation on lees. The palate is wonderfully full, showing ripe strawberries and red plums, and has a concentrated core of fruit essence with a racy acidity that gives the wine incredible vivacity. The finish is exceptionally long. Decant for 30mins, serve at 17-18C

Dynamic now, but with time exceptional drinking over the next 4-5 years.

Perfect wine match with pasta dishes, BBQ meats, tapas and hard cheeses enjoy.
A wine experience not to be missed.


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Allan Scott 'Blanc de Blancs' NV

Grape Variety: 100% Chardonnay

Growing Region: Marlborough, New Zealand

Chief Winemaker: Josh Scott

5 Stars - Cuisine Magazine.

This Allan Scott 'Methode Traditionnelle' has built itself a highly deserved reputation since the first wine was made back in 1996. Allan Scott Wines has nominated one particular vineyard to nurture the grapes for this famous style of wine. Although the vineyard techniques are very similar to other varieties at Allan Scott Wines, the timing of picking must be very precise.
Crafted entirely from Chardonnay grapes, the 'Blanc de Blancs' base wine is made in a similar fashion to still wines. Using only free run juice it is fermented to dryness, then filtered and prepared for secondary fermentation in the bottle. After ageing up to two years on its lees, under cool dark conditions, the wine is disgorged and is ready to drink. Oak Treatment 3%, with no Malolactic Fermentation.
In the flute you have a white gold colour. This elegant wine has a fine mousse with aromas of distinctive lemon flavours and a light touch of tropical fruit, developing delightful honeycomb autolysis characteristics. The palate is seductive; the seamless integration between the fruit concentration and the acidity makes for a mouth watering finish with a good length. Serve at 8C.

Drinking perfectly well this coming summer season and over the next 2-3 years.

Perfect wine match as an aperitif, with shellfish and dessert with fresh fruits, enjoy.


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Jules Taylor 'The Wrekin' Pinot Noir 2009

Grape Variety: 100% Pinot Noir

Growing Region: Marlborough, New Zealand

Winemaker: Jules Taylor

Jules has a wonderful ability to express bright flavours in every variety that she works with, and this Pinot Noir is packed with a smile in every glass. The grapes were hand harvested in 4 tranches from late March into April 2009 as each clone of Pinot Noir reached optimum ripeness. At the winery the fruit was destemmed then cold soaked for a period of ten days, following which the 'must' was warmed. Jules allowed an indigenous (wild) ferment to take place, again with the intention of keeping as much of the original vineyard character intact as possible. Post ferment the wine was pressed and transferred to French oak barrels, 1/3 of which were new. The wine has spent 12 months maturing in oak before its bottling in March 2010.
In the glass this wine has vibrant purple hues. On the nose this Pinot Noir is showing aromas of sweet black berries, red cherries and subtle hints of spicy oak. On the palate, the wine is warm and inviting, as the wild fermentation along with extended lees maturation in barrel have added complexity and texture to the palate. This has resulted in a supple wine with good weight and fruit intensity and a good finish. Decant for approx 20mins, and serve at 16C.

Drinking perfectly well this summer; and over the next 24 months

Perfect wine match with seared Tuna, mushroom pasta, tapas and ripe Brie, enjoy.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Matawhero 'Gisborne' Chardonnay 2009

Grape Variety: 100% Chardonnay

Growing Region: Gisborne, New Zealand

Owners: Kirsten & Richard Searle

4 Stars, Bob Campbell MW.

Gisborne is known as the first region in New Zealand to see each new day, but along with this 'first light' - it is also known as the Chardonnay Capital of NZ. The grapes for this wine were sourced from Paul and Jenny Tietjen's vineyard on Ormond road in the heart of the 'Golden Slope' region in Gisborne.
When the fruit was judged ripe by viticulturist Jeremy Hyland the grapes were machine harvest at night - to retain as much varietal notes and fresh characters. Once in the winery the grapes were crushed and gently pressed. The juice was cold settled for 36 hours, allowing it to spontaneously ferment with indigenous yeast and then cool fermented until dry. Once dry the juice went through malolactic fermentation. Once in balance the wine was stabilized to ensure the desired 'malo' characteristic's were not lost. The wine was then filtered and bottled.
In the glass you are greeted by a bright straw colour with golden highlights. The wine has a good bouquet with ripe melon and peach abound with butterscotch and fig. The palate is well balanced and expresses rich ripe fruit, with peach and an inherent creaminess and a lengthy finish. Serve at 10C.

Drinking perfectly well this coming summer; and over the next 2-3 years.

Perfect wine match with grilled fish, chicken, risotto and with seasonal vegetables, enjoy.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Barros Ruby Port

Grape Variety: 30% Tinta Roriz, 30% Barroca, 20% Tinta Cao & 20% Touriga Francesca

Growing Region: Douro Valley, Portugal

Owner: Manuel Angelo Barros

A well balanced, versatile Ruby Port.

Located in the heart of Portugal's famed Douro region, Barros is one of the largest and most respected Portuguese-owned port houses. Established in 1913, Barros has won an international reputation for producing the finest ports.
The traditional varieties from the Douro region were use to made this ruby style port. The vines are cultivated on a combination of terraces supported by stone walls, and on platforms held by natural slopes on the contours of the hillsides - that line the Douro River.

After hand harvesting, the grapes were crushed and underwent an extended maceration on skins in order to obtain a rich wine both in colour, aroma and flavour. Fermentation was arrested by the addition of grape spirit in order to produce a naturally sweet wine. The resulting wine was matured in wooden casks (pipes) for up to 3 years.
Serve in small glasses, at 14 to 16C.

Drinking perfectly well at any time, but when 'open' store in a cool place and check it regularly as it will age over 3-4 weeks.

Perfect wine match as an aperitif, with dessert or cheese selection, enjoy.


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Nugan Estate 'Parish' Shiraz 2008

Grape Variety: 100% Shiraz

Growing Region: McLaren Vale, South Australia

Winemaker: Daren Owers

Trophy - Decanter World Wine Awards 2010.

Daren Owers has made a positive impact on the wines coming out of Nugan Estate over the past few years. In June of 2003 Daren took on the position of chief winemaker when it became available, after only being with the company since 1999. Just 2 years into the role he was named the winner of 'The Wine Society Members' Choice Award in 2005, and since then has produced a number of outstanding wines, and this award winning Shiraz is another in the long line of achievements both Daren and Nugan are achieving on the international stage.
The fruit for this wine was sourced from their McLaren Vale 'Parish' vineyard. After harvest, the grapes were crushed, yeast added and then carefully pumped over in the traditional manor to avoid the extraction of bitter tannins. The wine was then transferred into a combination of new and seasoned French and American oak for fermentation, followed by 24 months maturation prior to the final blending and bottling.
In the glass you are greeted by a deep red with a bright purple hue. The wine has a confident bouquet - packed with ripe cherry and plum notes melded with dark chocolate, vanillin and a hint of spice. The palate is rich and full bodied; this Shiraz displays a powerful concentration of juicy dark plum characters, mocha chocolate, black pepper and earthy notes, and a persistent finish. Decant for 20-30 minutes - serve at 18C.

Drinking perfectly well this coming summer; and will age for another 4-5 years.

Perfect wine match with prime meats, BBQ'd or well seasoned dishes and a ripe cheese, enjoy.


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Arrogant Frog 'Organic' Cabernet / Merlot 2009

Grape Variety: 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot

Growing Region: Languedoc, France

Owner / Chief Winemaker: Jean-Claude Mas

Gold Medal - Concours General Agricole 2010.

This charming and approachable wine from Arrogant Frog comes from the sun-drenched hills of the Languedoc region, between the Mediterranean Sea and the Herault valley. As with every wine Jean-Claude makes this is exceptional quality for the price and bound to impress if you haven't tried his wines before.
For the first time, Jean Claude Mas is releasing his 'organic' Cabernet / Merlot, made from organically grown grapes.
Each grape variety was vinified separately. The fruit under went cold maceration at 10C for approx 3 days prior to 6 days fermentation at 24-26C with daily pumping over, followed by 9 days maceration for the Cabernet and 8 days for the Merlot. The 'assemblage' was then made in November before putting the wine in barrels. With 25% of the blend being aged in new oak barrel for 4 months. The other 75% gently matured in stainless steel vats. After taking the wine out of the barrels - it was then aged for a further 2 months in vats prior to bottling.
In the glass you have a deep purple, garnet red with ruby, red tints around the edge. The nose is full of bright blueberry notes, with hints of red pepper and spicy characters. The palate is well balanced, fruit driven, with smooth tannins, integrated oak and a long finish of ripe plums.
Decant for 20mins and serve at 16-18C.

Drinking well this summer; and will age for another 4 years.

Perfect wine match with barbecues, poultry, pasta, terrines and medium to strong cheeses, enjoy.


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Kilikanoon 'Killerman's Run' Shiraz 2008

Grape Variety: 100% Shiraz

Growing Region: Clare Valley, Australia

Owner / Chief Winemaker: Kevin Mitchell

90 pts, James Halliday - Australian Wine Companion 2009.

Kevin has packed a whole lot of punch, power and spice into this wine; this is a red that wine fanatics must try this summer. It seems that every vintage - the vineyards that Kevin sources his fruit from - show rich and ripe fruit flavours and palate persistence.
The 'Killerman's Run' Shiraz offers outstanding value to those seeking a wine that will accompany a range of meats, BBQ's, Tapas' and fun relaxed times this summer. Small batches of Shiraz were selected from a range of premium Clare Valley vineyards then vinified by traditional methods and matured for up to two years in small French and American oak barrels before careful blending and bottling unfiltered, as is the way with many good wines these days.
In the glass you have an intense deep red colour with a bright crimson hue around the edge. The nose is ripe, bold and forward Shiraz flavours confidently shine, plus dark plums and mocha are well balanced by both French and American oak. In the mouth the wine has a sweet mid palate, with subtle tannins that have created a wine with both power and elegance. This wine was made to showcase the unique flavours of Shiraz, the palate tends to be fruit driven but balanced and lengthened by notes of mature oak. This wine has all the weight you will need to match with any full flavoured dish. Decant for about 45mins and serve at 18C.

Drinking perfectly well this coming summer; and will age for another 4-5 years.

Perfect wine match with prime steak fillets, plus game meats and BBQ flavours - enjoy.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Nga Waka 'Martinborough' Pinot Noir 2008

Grape Variety: 100% Pinot Noir

Growing Region: Parkinson Block & Old Cemetery Block vineyards, Martinborough, New Zealand

Owner / Chief Winemaker: Roger Parkinson

Consistently one of NZ's Best Pinot Noirs.

Martinborough has been slightly forgotten by New Zealand Pinot Noir enthusiasts (un-intentionally I'm sure) - with every wine publication talking about all the new areas being planted. But where it all began in NZ - they have been quietly producing some of the world's best examples of Pinot Noir. So after recently tasting this wine, I thought it best to share.
As the fruit came in, it was de-stemmed only. Then it underwent a period of cold maceration prior to fermentation, and with a total maceration time of between 18-21 days. Malolactic fermentation occurred in barrel, a selection of tight-grained French oak barriques (25% new) was used, with approx 18 months in barrel, and the wine as per normal was bottled unfined and unfiltered, which adds to the mouth feel and ageing potential.
The wine has a deep red / purple colour. The bouquet is rich, succulent and powerful; this Martinborough Pinot Noir is showing dark berries and fresh spice flavours, which carry through onto the palate. A dry, full bodied wine, with well integrated silky tannins and subtle, refined oak from good barrel selection and maturation. Serve at 16-18C.

Drinking well this coming season; and will age for another 4-5 years.

Perfect wine match with a wide range of game dishes, particularly lamb, rabbit and duck, enjoy.


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Mont Redon Chateauneuf du Pape Rouge 2007

Grape Variety: 65% Grenache, 15% Syrah, 10% Cinsault, 5% Mourvedre &
5% (Counoise / Muscardin / Vaccarèse)

Growing Region: Cote du Rhone, France

Senior Winemaker: Christian Voeux

92 points - Stephen Tanzer, February 2010

In July of this year I stopped in to check out the well kept vineyards of Chateau Mont Redon - which are the largest family owned in the appellation, with almost 100 hectares under vine. The majority of Mont Redon's vineyards are located on the high plateau which is covered in the large round stones that Chateauneuf is renowned for.
All grapes are hand-picked, which enables them to select only the best grapes. After complete de-stemming, the grapes are macerated and punched down for two to three weeks to ensure maximum extraction of tannins and colour. Once the malolactic fermentation is completed, half of the volume is placed in Burgundian barrels, the other half is kept in steel vats. Following careful selection of the best wines a single blend is made, which will be bottled at the Estate about eighteen months after harvest. Once the wine is in the bottle, they remain for at least four to six months in their cellars.
In the glass you are greeted by a bright ruby red colour. Exotic aroma of raspberry preserves, red cherries and Asian spices. On the palate the wine is spicy, mineral driven, with red and dark berry flavours impressively supple and precise, with silky tannins giving support. A very fresh wine which finishes with excellent clarity and a spicy persistence. Serve at 15-17C.

Drinking perfectly well this coming season; and will age well for another 5-7 years.

Perfect wine match with pork, bbq chicken, lamb salads and tapas, enjoy.


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Taylors 'St Andrews' Shiraz 2004

Grape Variety: 100% Shiraz

Growing Region: Clare Valley, Australia

Senior Winemaker: Adam Eggins

Gold Medal - Syrah du Monde - 2009 & 2010

2004 was one of the great red vintages in the Clare Valley. The seasonal influences were more dramatic than usual. The valley experienced less than half the normal rainfall, November was warmer than average, December the hottest for some time and then January was one of the coolest on record. At the beginning of February a heat-wave descended upon the region and for sixteen days the average max temperature was 37.9C. Vintage commenced early, although ripening slowed when the temperatures returned to more normal levels and it ended up being a long, drawn-out vintage.
After a very careful and precise fermentation process, and then after racking (post MLF), the wine was returned to oak for maturation for a period of 14 months, and was not bottled until March 2007.
In the glass the wine is developing brick red with a deep crimson heart; its purple hues will continue to fade into soft red brick red as it ages. The bouquet has complex aromas of plum fruit, violets and spice with creamy vanilla from maturation in American oak. On the palate this is an elegant, full-bodied wine with rich texture. Fruit flavours of dark berries are complimented by subtle spice and hints of cedar which brings pleasing warmth to the palate. The finish is long and persistent.
Decant for 30-40mins - serve at 18C.

Drinking perfectly well this season; and over the next 3-4 years.

Perfect wine match with game meats, rich sauces and serve in a large glass, enjoy.


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Grower's Mark Marlborough Pinot Noir 2009

Grape Variety: 100% Pinot Noir

Growing Region: Marlborough, New Zealand

Vineyard Owner & Viticulturist: Donna Anderson

A bright, approachable Pinot Noir

Sourced from selected sites in Marlborough, when the fruit was deemed ripe by consultant viticulturist, Jeremy Hyland, the grapes were machine harvested at night - to retain as much bright fruit notes and well balanced acidity. The individual Pinot Noir clones which included: 115, 667, 777, 113 and 5 were all fermented separately. The grapes went through a 'cold soak' for colour extraction for five days, and then gradually warmed-up to ferment through to dryness. Once fermented dry the wine was pressed off and underwent malolactic fermentation. After malolactic fermentation ended, the best clones were identified and blended together to make this exciting wine.
In the glass you are greeted by a deep crimson colour. The nose is elegant, with floral notes and hints of violets and dark cherries, through to Doris plum jam characters and subtle toasty oak. The palate is quintessential Marlborough Pinot Noir. Bursting with bright fruit, dark plums, blackcurrant and raspberry jam flavours fill the palate. The wine finishes with a sweet note, with nicely balanced tannins and oak. A fruit driven style of Pinot Noir suited to a wide range of light cuisine.
Decant for 15-20mins and serve at approx 14-16C.

Drinking perfectly well this coming spring/summer; and over the next 2 years.

Perfect wine match with pork, turkey, light pasta dishes, pate and cheese board, enjoy.