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, March 30, 2010

Meursault - Burgundy

Meursault ('Murr-so') wine is produced in the commune of Meursault in Cote de Beaune of Burgundy. Meursault is one of the relatively few Burgundy villages that produce almost entirely white wine (which in Burgundy means Chardonnay). The whites made here tend to be both full-bodied with high acidity, a combination that, at its best, yields wines of real character. Enthusiasts often find roasted chestnuts in the aroma, and a fine Meursault from a good vintage can easily improve in a good cellar for 10 to 15 years or more.

 

There are no Grand Cru vineyards within Meursault, but several highly regarded Premier Cru vineyards.
With 437ha of vineyards dedicated to Villages wine or Premier Cru, Meursault has the largest area permitted to be planted in white wine in the Cote-d'Or. It seems that white wine has always been grown in Meursault, as early as 1050AD.
Furthermore, despite the fact that the village lacks even one grand cru, Meursault has historically been Burgundy's centre for white wine production - in the past even more so than Puligny-Montrachet or Chassagne-Montrachet.
There are several important factors that determine the reputation of Meursault. Primarily, the soil throughout most of Meursault is perfectly suited to the production of Chardonnay; it is a mixture of marl and chalk, that when combined with a largely east or southeast exposure creates grapes that are full of character.
The most common descriptors attached to Meursault are hazelnuts, honey and vanilla for its aromas and creamy for its texture. However, this simplifies things quite a bit. In most cases, Meursault despite an almost olive-oil texture is countered by a precise mineral character, stoniness and a refined palate. It's the unique stony/mineral character that often gets lost when tasting Meursault, as many concentrate on the ripe, hedonistic primary flavours and aromas. It's this bipolarity of the wine, the interplay of both factors that makes Meursault one of the most sought after white wines in the world.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Grand Cru

Grand cru (French for 'great growth' or 'great classed growth') is a regional wine classification that designates a vineyard known for its historically favourable reputation in producing exceptional wine.

Although often used to describe grapes, wine and cognac, the term is not technically a classification of wine quality per se, but is intended to indicate the potential of the vineyard or terroir. It is the highest level of classification of AOC wines from Burgundy and Alsace. Plus the same term is applied to Chateaux in Saint-Emilion (right bank of Bordeaux), although in this region it has a different meaning and does not represent the top tier of classification. In Burgundy the level immediately below grand cru is known as premier cru, sometimes written as 1er cru.

 

Early Burgundian wine history is distinctly marked by the work of the Cistercians with the Catholic Church being the principal vineyard owner for most of the Middle Ages. Receiving land and vineyards as tithes, endowments and as exchanges for indulgences the monks were able to studiously observe the quality of wines from individual plots and over time began to isolate those areas that would consistently produce wine of similar aroma, body, colour and vigour and designate them as crus.

Following the success of the Bordeaux Wine Official Classification of 1855, Jules Lavalle developed an informal classification of vineyards of the Cote d'Or in his book 'History and Statistics of the Cote d'Or'. In 1861, Lavalle's classification was formalized by the Beaune Committee of Agriculture. The designations of grand cru and premier cru were later developed and expanded on in the 1930s with the creation of the 'Appellation d'Origine Controlee' (or AOC) system.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Filtration

Simply: wines that have had suspended particulates resulting from the fermentation process removed. Important for future clarity and stability of a wine.
A process of 'cleaning up' a wine - used after fermentation and before bottling; it is similar to running coffee through a filter, but arguably not always necessary to produce fine wine. The purpose of filtering is to remove sediment, grape skins, dead yeast, crystals and bacteria that can adversely affect wine quality. The degree of filtering can range from very fine to coarse; however, it is increasingly being minimized (or avoided whenever possible) because the finer the filtering, the more flavours and characters (palate texture) are removed from the wine. Today - many wineries are using the more labour-intensive, old-fashioned practices of fining or racking to clarify wines. Historically, many filters before the 1980's were made from asbestos.

 

Filtration is also used to ensure clarity, plus physical stabilization prevents the formation of hazes and deposits after bottling, while microbiological stabilization eliminates yeasts and bacteria that can destroy a wine's taste. Careful use of precise filtering pads and agents allow the winemaker to target specific foreign substances based on their size.
Some winemakers feel that filtering reduces the quality of wine. Emile Peynaud, the preeminent University of Bordeaux enologist had this to say about the filtering debate:
Resistance to the practice of filtering arose from the reproach made that it tended to thin down and emaciate the wines. Nevertheless, if every precaution is taken - it may be stated that the mechanical action of filtering has never had a negative influence on quality. To suggest the contrary would mean conceding that the foreign substances - which filtration is precisely designed to remove, have a favourable influence on taste.
Filtration is also a key stage in the elimination of the deposits formed in sparkling wine during its second fermentation in the bottle.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Organic Wine

At the most basic level, organic wine is made from grapes that have been grown without the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides, herbicides or synthetic chemicals. The main categories of winemaking include: Sustainable, Organic and Biodynamic.
In organic winemaking you will find some very significant differences, both in the winemakers approach to growing grapes and the end result in the bottle. Note - grape growing like any other farming is organic by origin. However, like most other methods of farming the vast majority of vineyards today are not organic. For many winemakers, especially large wineries, it is not cost effective to grow organically, as far too many things can go wrong throughout the year that can easily destroy their grape crops.

 

Chemical fertilizers are predominantly used to remove vineyard destroying diseases. Organic wines are produced by using only organically grown grapes. No chemical fertilizers etc..., etc of any kind are allowed on the vines or in the soil of the vineyards claiming to be organic. Strict rules govern the winemaking process such as hand-harvesting the grapes, the types of yeasts that can be used during fermentation and storage conditions in the wineries of all imported and domestic wines that attain organic certification.
Organic winemakers refrain from all chemical substances used to stabilize conventional wines such as sulphites. It is important to remember that sulphites are a natural by-product of the fermentation process and that it is impossible for any wine to be completely free of sulphites, as fermenting yeasts present on all grape skins generates naturally occurring sulphites. Organic wines may have naturally occurring sulphites, but the total sulphite level must be less than 20ppm in order to receive organic certification. Wines labelled 'organic' cannot contain added sulphites. Wines that have added sulphites, but are otherwise organic, are labelled 'wine made from organic grapes.'

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Typicity

Typicity (French 'typicite' and in Italian 'tipicita') is a term in wine tasting used to describe the degree to which a wine reflects its varietal origins, and thus the wine demonstrates the signature characteristics of the grape from which it was produced, i.e., how much a Sangiovese wine - tastes like a Sangiovese wine. It is an important component in judging wines - when wines of the same varietal/ region are judged against each other.
Wines with 'typicity' - that are typical of a variety/region are said to exhibit traits or characteristics distinctive to its kind.

   

Most wine reviews base quality assessments largely on evaluating wines by; balance, length, intensity and complexity, typically not how closely they model to some potentially theoretical standard of typicity.
Some are starting to think that along with 'typicity' we probably need to add 'consistent' or 'reliable' to fully capture the true French meaning. I think typicity can suggest that you will receive in your glass what you have enjoyed before, and perhaps more importantly, what you expect to enjoy from this particular bottle you have bought. Also it must be said that a wine with typicity or made from a single variety true to its origins carries a purity you can lose when you blend or over manipulate in the winemaking process.
Typicity means something that can separate, characterize a detail, the complexity of characteristics that individualizes, particularizes the wine. Wines with 'typicity' are also influenced by the local history and cuisine, specific to the origin area, specific to a certain grape variety.
The wine represents a complex mix of organic and anorganic compounds. There are many diverse factors that influence its composition. They can come from the vineyard, extending to the fermentation and post-fermentation process. These factors are deeply connected to the oenological environment, including soil, climate, grape variety and oenological practice that also define the authenticity and typicity of wines.