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.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Pol Roger Brut Reserve NV

Grape Variety: 33% Pinot Noir, 33% Pinot Meunier, 33% Chardonnay

Growing Region: Epernay, France

Head Winemaker: Dominique Petit

Gold Medal - NZ International Wine Show 2008.

I have been in the wine industry for over 20 years, and this is what we call 'Sophisticated Simplicity' - sound confusing, well once you taste it, all will be revealed. This non vintage Champagne - possibly the hardest of all Champagnes to make - is a harmonious assemblage of different 'crus' from several different vintages.
Making non-vintage champagne is where a chef-de-cave earns and keeps their reputation. The wine is composed of wines drawn from only the cuvee (the first, light pressing) and, where appropriate, the taille (second pressing), which provides a higher proportion of essential tannins. After clarification of the 'must' at 8C, a process unique to Pol Roger, the temperature of fermentation is closely controlled to ensure the optimum retention of fresh fruit character and aromas. Pol Roger believes in traditional remuage (riddling) and retain four skilled 'remeurs' in their cellars. After remuage, and a final degorgement, bottles are rested for a minimum period before being sold.
The bouquet has a lovely floral elegance, refreshing fruit flavours and an exquisite continuous mousse of tiny bubbles. Versatile style Champagne for all occasions. Serve at 8C.

Drinking perfectly well at all times; and can age for 2-3 years.

Perfect as an aperitif, as a complement to shellfish, fresh fruit desserts, or at anytime, enjoy.


Basket Press

A basket press (wine press) is a device used to extract juice from grapes during wine making. There are a number of different styles of presses used by winemakers but their overall function is the same. Each style of press exerts controlled pressure in order to extract the juice from the grapes. The pressure must be controlled, especially with grapes, to avoid crushing the seeds and releasing undesirable acids, tannins into the wine. Wine has been made at least as long ago as 6000 BC; recently a wine press was unearthed in Armenia with red wine dated 6,000 years old.


A basket press consists of a large basket that is filled with the harvested grapes. Once the 'free run' juice has been gathered, pressure is applied to the skins. This is very concentrated and has more tannins and pigments than the free run juice.
Pressure is applied through a plate that is forced down onto the fruit. The mechanism to lower the plate is often either a screw or a hydraulic device. The juice flows through openings in the basket. The basket style press was the first type of mechanized press to be developed, and its basic design has not changed in nearly 1000 years.
After pressing is complete, the remaining skins and debris called pomace, is often used to fertilize the vineyards, thus renewing the cycle of the vine to the bottle. The free run and press wine are kept separate during the subsequent fermentation and racking processes. At the winemaker's discretion, they may eventually be blended to make a wine with certain characteristics. Basket presses produce very high quality juice, but are labour intensive and expensive to use. They are ideal for small amounts of high quality wine.
When deciding on the size of press, remember it needs to be at least a quarter full in order to function efficiently. After the first pressing has finished it is necessary to empty out the pressed mash, crumble it and then press again; the extra volume of juice obtained from the second pressing is approx 15% of that from the first pressing.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Pasqua 'Night Harvest' Pinot Grigio 2009

Grape Variety: 60% Pinot Grigio, 40% Garganega

Growing Region: Veneto, North East Italy

Winemaker: Giovanni Nordera

With summer now in full swing and with most people enjoying lighter dishes in the heat for both lunch and dinner. This light, crisp and refreshing Pinot Grigio from northern Italy will match many an occasion and cuisine.
The grapes were harvested around the middle-to-end of August when the average temperature was still very high. To preserve the bright aromas and fruit quality, the grapes were harvested during the night, when the vineyard and vine heat decreases and the grapes could be pressed at lower temperatures. The grapes of Pinot Grigio and Garganega were separately pressed as they have different maturation times and were also lightly macerated on the skins for 4-8 hours at 6-7C.
ermentation took place in stainless steel tank at a controlled temperature of 18C. Then the batches were blended and stored in steel tanks before bottling.
In the glass you are greeted by a light straw colour with a tinge of green. On the nose the wine is fresh, lively and bright with crisp acidity. On the palate with wine is smooth with the bright fragrances of pear and apple lingering on the finish. Serve at 8C.

Drinking perfectly well this coming summer; and over the next 12-18 months.

Perfect wine match with shellfish, grilled white fish, mixed salads, and as an aperitif enjoy.

A light, crisp, refreshing wine, perfect with shellfish.


Ugni Blanc

Ugni Blanc is France's most planted white grape variety, particularly important in the Cognac and Armagnac regions. It is also often blended with Colombard and other white varietals. It is also known as St-Emilion (Cognac), Clairette Ronde (Southern France) and Muscadet Aigre (Gironde). Ugni Blanc originally comes from Italy, specifically Tuscany, where it is produced under the name Trebbiano Toscano - (Trebbiano is also used to produce balsamic vinegar).
Ugni Blanc in France, for a long time has been used to create aromatic and dry white wines, classified as 'Vins de Pays'. The grapes are quite sensitive to winter frosts, needing mild climates.
If Ugni Blanc grapes grow close to the sea, the wine becomes slightly sour and acidic, which is quite important for distilling Cognac. When grown in the countryside, the wine becomes more balanced. In Provence, Ugni Blanc wines are smooth with complex notes of pine resin, quince and lemon.


Ugni Blanc is a late budding and ripening grape that fares badly in harsh winters. Ugni Blanc is not a particularly demanding grape variety in terms of soil, nevertheless, like many grape varieties; it grows very well in calcareous soils.
This grape variety is highly vigorous and its yields must be sharply limited to obtain high quality wines. To identify Ugni Blanc, look first at its bunches which are very long, its tough-skinned berries are round, and their skin can become slightly pinkish when overripe. The bunches are very big whereas the berries are small to medium-sized.
In cooler areas, Ugni Blanc makes white wines that are quite lively with a rather discreet aroma. In the warmer areas of southern Aquitaine and on the Mediterranean coast, it makes smoother, more flavourful wines, characterized by a fresh, full-bodied mouthfeel. In the Auch, Angouleme and Rochefort regions, it is the grape variety of choice for making top-quality brandies. Ugni Blanc's aroma is primarily fruity, with citrus notes, such as lemon, as well as quince.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Rockburn 'Central Otago' Pinot Gris 2010

Grape Variety: 100% Pinot Gris

Growing Region: Parkburn & Gibbston Valley Back Road, Queenstown, New Zealand

Winemaker: Malcolm Rees-Francis

Silver - NZ International Wine Awards 2010.

As I have said on many occasions, Central Otago with its varied topography, diurnal extremes and diverse soil types, can and are starting to produce dynamic wines from both red and white grape varieties - and this white wine is simply another exciting example.
The cool growing season in 2010 allowed for excellent flavour development and bright aromatics in the fruit. The Pinot Gris grapes have retained their natural sugars enhancing the fragrant fruit characters and nicely balanced with supple texture and firm acidity. After harvest, with the 'Parkburn' fruit being picked in April and the 'Gibbston' fruit picked in May - fermentation took place in stainless steel tanks at approx 13C to retain aromatics and finesse. Then at a carefully selected point fermentation was stopped at a desired sugar/acid balance and then racked and blended.
On the nose you are greeted by bright stone-fruit notes and juicy pear aromas. The palate is vibrantly fruity and off-dry, layered over a rich, supple and a smooth texture in the mouth. A firm backbone of natural acidity leads onto a very long, fruity and clean finish. Serve at 8C.

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

Perfect wine match with Asian infused cuisine, vegetarian dishes - enjoy.



The world's first re-sealable, reusable and recyclable sparkling wine closure. The ZORK SPK is the world's first re-sealable top for sparkling wines. This radical design move has given a new option for presentation and closure of sparkling wine. It allows easy open and re-seal, which encourages consumption in moderation and extends the life of the product.
ZORK is a privately owned South Australian company that designs and manufactures alternative closures for the beverage industry - (founder, inventor and technical director, John Brooks). They began development of the Zork SPK in 2007; the closure is a sister to the company's still wine seal STL. Prototypes have been under test since March 2008, made from the same food-grade materials as its still wine STL relative, the new sparkling wine closure (dubbed SPK for short).


Containing an ingenious 4 piece construction, the ZORK SPK features a soft seal which holds the pressure, a foil gas barrier to prevent flatness and oxidation, and a collet and cap locking mechanism. The ZORK SPK has a 40% smaller carbon footprint than the 'cork - muselet' and foil method, and becomes a reusable re-sealer for other bottles for the rest of its working lifetime and is 100% recyclable.
The ZORK SPK design combines the ease of use found in screw tops with the pop and resealing ability of a natural cork. To open a zork sealed wine, the user peels off the bottom part of the cap and then simply lifts the top part off. The cap can be reused after popping to preserve the wine and never requires a corkscrew or other special tool.
ZORK says that thorough testing has shown that the 'peel and re-seal', low density polyethylene closures retain the same qualities in wines as traditional cork and muselet closures with no flavour reduction or tainting. Plus the 'pop' sound on opening is also retained.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


Chaptalisation is the process of adding sugar to unfermented grape must in order to increase the alcohol content after fermentation. Under certain circumstances, such as grapes not ripening fully in cool climates, there may be insufficient natural sugar in the grapes to give a suitable level of alcohol. When it is used, it has to be handled carefully, or it may cause unbalance to the wine due to the artificially elevated alcohol.
The technique is named after its developer, the French chemist Jean-Antoine-Claude Chaptal (1756-1832). In 1801, while in the services of Napoleon, Jean-Antoine-Claude Chaptal began advocating the technique as a means of strengthening and preserving wine. This process is not intended to make the wine sweeter, but rather to provide more sugar for the yeast to ferment into alcohol.


Chaptalisation has generated controversy and discontent in the French wine industry due to advantages that the process is perceived to give producers in poor climate areas. In response to violent demonstrations by protesters in 1907, the French government increased the taxation on sugar and passed laws limiting the amount of sugar that can be added to wine.
Chaptalisation is sometimes referred to as enrichment; the legality of chaptalisation varies by country, region, and even wine type. The technique of adding sugar to grape must has been part of the process of winemaking since the Romans added honey as a sweetening agent.
Different techniques are used - In the normal chaptalisation process; cane sugar is the most common type of sugar added, although some winemakers prefer beet sugar or corn syrup. In many wine regions, brown sugar is an illegal additive, and in regions that disallow chaptalisation altogether, grape concentrate may be added.
In some areas, such as Germany, wine regulations dictate that the wine makers must label whether or not the wines are 'natural', (i.e. without sugar). Other areas, such as France, do not have such label requirements.

Sacred Hill 'Halo' Sauvignon Blanc 2010

Grape Variety: 100% Sauvignon Blanc

Growing Region: Marlborough, New Zealand

Chief Winemaker: Tony Bish

At this time of year whether you are at home, on holiday or dining out - fresh fish is a popular choice. Plus due to the heat or in the case of Auckland the humidity - a cold glass of a refreshing wine is also high on the list of requests. So you can see why for this week I have chosen this bright Sauvignon Blanc to suit all these and more summer-time situations.
The 2010 vintage in Marlborough was a good year for intensity of flavour in Sauvignon Blanc grapes, plus many other aromatics grapes varieties. This lively white wine will nicely maintain Marlborough's position as one of the great wine regions of the world, producing fruit driven - early drinking styles of wines. The fruit for this wine came from selected parcels in the Wairau Valley in Marlborough. The juice was cold settled and then cool fermented in stainless steel tanks. Minimal handling and careful batch selection at blending time by Tony and his team has produced this extraordinary wine.
In the glass you are greeted by a bright pale lemon straw colour. The bouquet has lifted citrus blossom floral notes with ripe tropical aromas mingling with lemon-grass and hints of guava. The palate is intense and mouth-filling with good depth of flavour. Ripe fruit salad and tropical notes abound with textural depth and an incredibly long finish. The overall effect is lively and the finish has a seamless purity. Serve at 8C.

Drinking perfectly well this summer; and well into 2011.

Perfect wine match with seafood, chicken dishes, a goat cheese salad, or as an aperitif, enjoy.

A versatile - food friendly Sauvignon Blanc.