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, May 31, 2011

Cecchi Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG 2006

Grape Variety: 90% Prugnolo Gentile (Sangiovese), 10% other red grapes

Growing Region: Montepulciano, Italy

Chief Winemaker: Andrea Cecchi

The premium quality fruit harvested for this wine was grown in calcareous soil, located at 350 meters above sea level. Harvested during the first ten days of October, the fruit was transported to the winery where traditional vinification took place in temperature-controlled small and medium sized stainless steel tanks on it skins for approximately 21 days at 28C.
The wine was then transferred to oak barriques where it matured for approximately 24 months in the Cecchi cellars. The wine was then blended, lightly fined and rested in tank for 4 months before bottling, where it rested again for a minimum of 3 months before labelling and release.
It has been my pleasure to visit Italy, and in particularly Tuscany on many an occasion over the past few years and this wine in my opinion is one of the great wines of Tuscany. A predominantly Sangiovese based wine, expressing all the complexity that this grape has to offer. In the glass the wine has a rich red colour tending to garnet now with age.
On the nose the wine shows an intense aroma of purple violets and dried herbs. In the mouth this Vino Nobile has a well balanced tannin and oak structure, complimented by harmonious dark fruit characters and a long and persistent finish. Decant for 30-40 minutes and serve at 18C.

Drinking well this winter season; and over the next 5-7 years.

Perfect wine match with hearty, rich meat dishes, roasts and hard cheeses, enjoy.

A classic wine, one not to be missed.


Orvieto DOC Wine

Orvieto is an Italian wine region located in Umbria and Lazio, centred around the town of Orvieto. It is primarily known for its white wines made from a blend of mostly Grechetto and Trebbiano, which is sold under the (DOC) Orvieto and Orvieto Classico. Blended red wine and eight varietal reds are sold under the Rosso Orvietano DOC.
Viticulture was introduced to the Orvieto region by the early Etruscans, who carved out cellar-like caves from volcanic soil that housed wine production with long, cool fermentation and produced the type of sweet wine that was popular in the ancient world, made with the noble rot, Botrytis cinerea, described by the poet Gabriele d'Annunzio as "the sun of Italy in a bottle". Today's white Orvieto is dry, but off-dry wine and a semi-sweet style, known as Orvieto Abboccato, and dolce (sweet), are also produced in small quantities.


White Orvieto is composed primarily of Grechetto and Trebbiano and a blend of Malvasia, Drupeggio, Verdello and Canaiolo Bianco grapes. Grechetto is valued for the fruitiness and weight that it brings to the wine; some of the most highly rated examples of Orvieto have a high concentration of Grechetto.
Orvieto became a papal stronghold and one of the richest cities in Italy. As Orvieto wine became famous, the wine was renamed "the Pope's wine". When the Orvieto cathedral was built it was used to pay the workers. Luca Signorelli, the Italian Renaissance painter who painted the frescoes of the Last Judgment in the Cathedral of Orvieto, he asked to the paid with 1000 litres of Orvieto wine every year.
Today there are four classifications of Orvieto DOC:
Orvieto DOC
Orvieto Classico DOC, produced in the ancient area.
Orvieto Superiore DOC, low-yield, of superior quality in respect of Orvieto DOC.
Orvieto Classico Superiore DOC, ancient area of production, with low-yields, the top-quality Orvieto.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Geoff Merrill 'McLaren Vale' Shiraz 2006

Grape Variety: 100% Shiraz

Growing Region: McLaren Vale, Australia

Winemaker: Geoff Merrill

91 pts, Campbell Mattinson, ‘The Wine Front’ 2010.

The 2006 vintage overall was quite good for McLaren Vale. It was set up well early on with good winter and spring rains. The weather dried up at the right time, and warmed up considerably before harvest, bringing many varieties to ripeness almost simultaneously resulting in a very hectic few weeks. Geoff is well known for developing his wines to perfection in the winery before release - and this wine has spent an amazing 28 months in French oak - but the wine does not taste necessarily oak driven.
In the glass you are greeted by a dark red with good clarity and depth. The aroma shows a complex blend of fresh red berry fruits, liquorice, leather, oak, earth and spice. The palate is seamless, harmonious, warm and seductive. It begins with ample ripe fruit and subtle well integrated oak which gradually fills the mouth.
Velvet tannins hold everything together nicely and the finish is long, reflective and satisfying. Decant this wine for 20-30 minutes and serve at 17-18C. *(Limited).

Drinking perfectly well this winter season; and over the next 3-5 years.

Perfect wine match with seasoned red meats, rich pasta dishes, pizza and tapas, enjoy.



Tannat is a red wine grape, historically grown at the foothills of the Pyrenees Mountains in southwestern France in the Madiran AOC, having been grown in that region since the 17th and 18th centuries. It is also grown in Uruguay, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Peru, and in Italy's Puglia region where it is used as a blending grape.
Tannat wines produced in Uruguay are usually quite different in character from Madiran wines, being lighter in body and lower in tannins. It is also used to make Armagnac and full bodied rose wine. In France, efforts to solve the harsh tannic nature of the grape lead to the development of the winemaking technique known as micro-oxygenation, by the Madiran winemaker Patrick Ducournau.


Tannat is notable for its very high tannin levels and is often blended with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc to soften the astringency and make them more approachable. A French Tannat wine is characterized by its firm, tannic structure with smoke and plum aromas, a spicy finish and the ability to age well.
French kings accepted Madiran wines as payment for taxes. Madiran appellation laws mandate that Tannat be blended with Cabernet Sauvignon or Cabernet Franc, but producers have recently begun receiving notable press for their 100% Tannat Madiran wines.
Tannat continues to be grown in the Basque country, most notably in the tiny appellation of Irouleguy, on the Spanish border. In 1870, Basque immigrants took the grape to Uruguay, where it adapted perfectly well. Today it is often blended with Pinot Noir and Merlot and is made in a variety of styles including those reminiscent of Port and Beaujolais.
From Uruguay the vine spread to Argentina and from there flying winemakers promoted the grape's resurgence in California at the end of the 20th century. It has since become the national red grape variety of Uruguay, accounting for approximately one third of all wine produced in that country; more Tannat is grown in Uruguay than in the varietal's native France.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Rimu Grove 'Nelson' Chardonnay 2009

Grape Variety: 100% Chardonnay

Growing Region: Nelson - Moutere, New Zealand

Owner / Winemaker: Patrick Stowe

Nelson still seems to get forgotten by many a wine buyer - be it in their favourite wine store on perusing a wine-list. So please do whatever it takes to jog your memory next time it comes to enjoying a glass of wine and keep Nelson as an option. This Nelson Chardonnay has its own unique personality that will not only please you and your guests, but may even make you start to question which is your favourite style of this dynamic grape.
This particular wine was 100% barrel fermented in French oak. The grapes were picked by hand and carefully whole bunch pressed, followed by cool fermentation in traditional oak barriques, with the lees being routinely stirred by Patrick for 11 months.
In the glass you have a bright golden yellow colour. On the nose you are greeted by lively citrus and toasted caramel notes that excite the senses and alert the palate for things to come. In the mouth the wine is fresh and vibrant; smooth, round and generous. A nicely layered wine with elegant sweet nut and toasted oak notes shining through with mineral notes that echo on the long and impressive finish.
Serve at 10-14C.

Drinking perfectly well this season; and will age gracefully for another 3-4 years.

Perfect wine match with poultry, pork, rabbit, fish and pasta which features cream or butter, enjoy.

A Chardonnay that should be on the lips of more wine enthusiasts.



Maceration is the winemaking process where the phenolic materials of the grape tannins, colouring agents (anthocyanins) aroma and flavour compounds are leached from the grape skins, seeds and stems. Maceration is the process by which red wine achieves its red colour, since 99% of all grape juice is a clear-greyish colour. In white wine making, maceration is either avoided or only allowed in a very limited manner. This is can be seen in the production of varietals with less natural flavour and structure like Sauvignon Blanc. For Rose production, red wines grapes are allowed some maceration between the skins and 'must', but not to the extent of red wine production.


The process of maceration begins as soon as the grape skins are broken and exposed to a degree of heat. Temperature is the influencing guide, with higher temperatures encouraging more breakdown and extraction of phenols from the skins and other grape materials.
Cold maceration is a practice of cold soaking the skins of red grapes in their juice for a period of time prior to the start of fermentation. Temperatures of the must are kept low to encourage extraction by water and added sulphur dioxide rather than relying on heat and alcohol to act as a solvent. Maceration continues during the fermentation period, and can last well past the point when the yeast has converted all the sugars to alcohol. During fermentation, higher alcohol levels can encourage this process with the alcohol acting as a solvent to assist in the breakdown of the compounds within the grape materials. This process seems to slow once the wine reaches an alcohol level of 10%.
Depending on the varietal, the process of maceration can enhance the body and mouthfeel for many wines. Greater extraction can add to the complexity and life expectancy of the wine by developing more complex tannins that will soften over a longer period of time. Care must be taken as too much extraction can also increase the harshness of some tannins to where the wine is not very approachable.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Allan Scott 'The Hounds' Pinot Noir 2009

Grape Variety: 100% Pinot Noir

Growing Region: Marlborough, New Zealand

Owner / Viticulturist: Allan Scott

Gold Medal - Air NZ Wine Awards 2010.

The grapes were picked from 'The Hounds' single vineyard in the cool of the morning to retain fresh characters in the fruit. After which they were promptly destemmed, and cold macerated in tank for up to 7 days. Fermentation occurred naturally, with a rigorous routine of pumping over and lively plunging of the cap, until the fermentation died down.
The wine was then left to macerate on its skins for a further 10 days before being transferred into mainly new French oak, followed by natural malolactic fermentation. The wine developed for 12 months in 50% new French Oak.
On the nose you will find dark berry fruits combining with a savoury spiciness and chocolate tones which are supported by the French oak. The palate displays a well balanced range of characteristic Pinot fruit flavours with dark cherry & plum, natural acidity, integrated mouth-filling tannins and oak, with chocolate complexities - that give the wine a lingering finish. Decant for 15-20 minutes and serve at 17-18C.

Drinking well this winter season; and over the next 2-3 years.

Perfect wine match with Lamb, Pork, mushroom linguini and mature cheese, enjoy.



Furmint is most widely grown white grape variety in Hungary, particularly in the Tokaj-Hegyalja wine region where it is used to produce single-varietal dry wines as well as being the principal grape in the better known Tokaji dessert wines. It is also grown in the tiny Hungarian wine region of Somlo, the Slovakian wine region of Tokaj. It is also grown in Austria where it is known as Mosler, also planted in Croatia, Romania and the former republics of the Soviet Union.
The name Furmint is taken from the word "froment" the wheat-gold colour of the wine it produces. While it is possible that if the grape is native to Hungary, the grape was likely brought to Hungary in the 13th century during the reign of King Bela IV.


DNA profiling at the University of Zagreb has shown Furmint to be likely to have a parent-offspring relationship with Gouais Blanc. Furmint has also been confirmed to be the same grape as the Croatian white variety Moslavac.
Furmint grapes begin maturation with a thick skin, but as they ripen the skins become thinner, and transparent. This allows the sun to penetrate the grape and evaporate much of the liquid inside, producing a higher concentration of sugar. Other types of grapes mature to the point of bursting; however, unlike most other grapes Furmint grows a second skin which seals it from rot. This also has the effect of concentrating the grape's natural sugars. The grapes are left on the vine long enough to develop the 'noble rot' (Botrytis cinerea) mold. Grapes then are harvested, sometimes as late as December - for true Eszencia, occasionally in January.
Furmint wines, particularly the botrytized dessert wines, can have immense aging potential of over a century. Dessert style wines can develop notes of marzipan, blood orange, apricots and barley sugar.
Furmint is the grape responsible for Hungary's legendary dessert wines from the Tokaji region. The most famous of these wines are known as Tokaji AszĂș Essencia.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Lake Chalice 'Marlborough' Pinot Gris 2010

Grape Variety: 100% Pinot Gris

Growing Region: Marlborough, New Zealand

Owner/Winemaker: Chris Gambitsis

Gold Medal - Royal Easter Wine Show 2011

I find myself reviewing a second Pinot Gris in nearly as many weeks; someone asked me if Pinot Gris had hit its peak in popularity. I stated - as I have for the past few years, we have all enjoyed some 'young vine' Pinot Gris with an array of cuisine and occasions here in NZ. With more vine age and with more vintage experience and confidence, we have an exciting future ahead with this variety here in NZ.
The grapes for this wine are predominantly from the Eyrie Vineyard in the Waihopai Valley, complemented with fruit from Falcon Vineyard, and the Barnett vineyard in the Wairau Valley. The fruit was crushed and pressed immediately after harvest. Carefully temperature controlled fermentation retained the wine's lifted aromas and palate. An extended period on gross lees enhances the yeast/biscuit base aromas.
In the glass you are greeted by a bright, straw colour. On the nose you will find aromas of ripe pears and almonds. The palate is soft and round, enhanced by having a small portion of the blend fermented in oak barrels, which adds a touch of spice to the full, rich finish. Serve at 8-10C.

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

Perfect wine match with seafood, Asian cuisine, young brie cheese, enjoy.


Touriga Nacional

Indigenous to Portugal, Touriga Nacional is the finest and most revered grape for producing vintage port. Despite the low yields from its small grapes, it plays a big part in the blends used for ports, and is increasingly being used for table wine in the Douro and Dao.
The tiny berries of Touriga Nacional have a high skin to pulp ratio which heightens the amount of extract in the wines. The grapes can produce intense, very aromatic wines with high tannin content. In the Douro it is grown in searing heat in steep schist vineyards that are more rock than soil. The alternative name of Mortagua pays tribute to these harsh conditions. It is usually trained under one of the Guyot systems, and needs severe pruning to keep it under control. In contrast, the vine produces just a few bunches of blue-black grapes which vary in size from small to tiny. The vine is vigorous; producing a lot of foliage and fewer bunches of grapes. In the late 1990s there were 2,760 hectares of Touriga Nacional in Portugal.


Thus yields are among the lowest of any commercial grape variety. It constitutes a small percentage in the blend of most port wines and due to its low productivity accounts for only 2% of the Douro Valley's vines. In recent years, scientists have been working on cloning the Touriga Nacional to produce vines that are able to pollinate better with the goal of increasing yields by 15% and sugar content by 10%.
Grown for quality rather than quantity, Touriga Nacional produces wine with finesse, structure, body and warmth, and yields dark, concentrated, massively tannic and aromatic wines, with an intense black fruit fragrance.
The depth and richness of flavour in the best port wines owes much to the flavours of Touriga Nacional, but ports nearly always contain a mixture of varieties. In fact about 80 varieties are authorised for inclusion. The most common varieties in red port are: Touriga Nacional, Touriga Francesa, Tinta Barroca, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Cao, Souzao, Tinta Amarela and Mourisco Tinto.