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, June 28, 2011

Taylors 'Jaraman' Cabernet Sauvignon 2008

Grape Variety: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon

Growing Region: Clare Valley 64%, Coonawarra 36%, Australia

Chief Winemaker: Adam Eggins

Silver Medal - Int. Wine Challenge 2009

2008 was another year of challenges in the Clare Valley and Coonawarra; yields were slightly below average for Cabernet Sauvignon - but with careful site selection and patience before harvest the wine is showing excellent colour, good varietal distinction and ripeness.
In the winery delicate handling and a lighter than usual oak regime was employed to compliment the intensity of the fruit characters. The grapes were de-stemmed and transferred to potter fermenters where the juice was fermented using a Cabernet-specific yeast. After precise fermentation, the wine was then gently pressed and transferred to French oak hogshead barrels (20% new, 60% 1 year old and 20% 2-3 year old) for malo-lactic fermentation. After just over 12 months in oak, the wine was fined, filtered and bottled in June 2009.
In the glass you have a deep vibrant red, with a crimson edge. On the nose the wine has lifted, aromas of violets, blackcurrant, cassis and liquorice along with complex, earthy aromas of cigar box and subtle note of after-eight dinner mint. On the palate the wine is full-bodied with good balance between fruit and tannins. Ripe flavours of black current and cassis abound, followed by subtle secondary French oak characters of cedar and spice. The tannins are fine and elegant and the finish is long and persistent. Decant for 30-40mins, serve at 18C.

Drinking well this winter season; and over the next 4-6 years.

Perfect wine match with game, meaty dishes with wine jus and hard aged cheese, enjoy.


Wine Sediment

Wine sediment can form naturally in wine both during the fermentation process and while maturing in a bottle. Some wines are more likely to develop sediment and some wines will almost never form sediment. Wine sediment isn't harmful and can be perceived as a sign of wine's quality, but you will normally want to separate the sediment before serving and drinking.
The initial sediment which forms in wine appears during the fermentation process and is called 'lees'. The lees sediment consists of dead yeast cells, proteins, stems, bits of skin, and other solid matter that has settled to the bottom of the fermentation tank or barrel.


In wine barrels more lees sediment can form, so it's common for wine to be racked out of the first barrel and into a second to separate it from the lees sediment, this process might occur several times depending on the wine. When people think about sediment in wine, they probably think about the formation of sediment in wine bottles that you have to take care to remove before serving. The sediment which develops in red wine bottles and which you need to carefully remove is formed from tannins and other solid matter that gradually falls to the bottom (or side, if you are storing a cork closure wine). The presence of this material helps give the wine character and complexity, but you don't want to leave it in the wine when serving.
It is possible that a young wine will show some form of sediment, particularly unfiltered wines. It is important to know that this is not an indication of a fault. Even white wines can leave a deposit of harmless tartrate crystals inside the bottle, which is simply an indication that the wine was exposed to very cold temperatures after bottling. Decanting a wine will clear the wine of sediment; allow the bottle to stand undisturbed in advance for about 24 hours, to allow the microscopic solids to settle at the bottom of the bottle. Do not shake or vibrate the bottle before opening, as this will stir up the sediment and make decanting difficult.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Pasqua Grappa - Di Vinaccia Di Amarone NV

Grape Variety: Corvina, Rondinella - 45% Alc.

Growing Region: Veneto, Italy

Owner: Carlo Pasqua

Grappa is a uniquely Italian drink. Traditionally, made from pomace, the discarded grape seeds, stalks, and stems that are a by-product of the winemaking process, Grappa has been around since the middle ages. For generations, Italians have sipped this 'firewater' after meals and even added a little to their morning espresso and in the evening to make a 'Cafe Corretto', a popular after-dinner concoction.
This grappa was produced by a double distillation of grape lees and marc from the carefully managed grape skins from the dried Corvina and Rondinella grapes used in the production of their Amarone wine.
In the glass this Grappa is crystal clear and transparent in colour. This traditional high quality Grappa with its rich, generous and distinctive aromatic tones of dry, intense and profound style, hints of raisins and herbs. Concentrated and dry on the palate, with a fiery finish.
Grappa is served chilled in small glasses and served after the meal, as the Italians believe that it aids digestion. It's a fiery, but tasty beverage, just the thing for a cold winter's night.

Drinking perfectly well at any time.

Perfect wine match with chocolate, ice-cream and as an ideal digestive and conclusion to a wonderful meal - enjoy.

A classic Italian end to a good evening.



Fining wine consists of adding a 'fining agent' to the wine and mixing them together. Fining agents are typically naturally occurring proteins or substances that have been synthesised to mimic the action of proteins. Phenolic substances have a strong natural chemical affinity for proteins. So when they come in contact with each other, they react, and precipitate out of the wine. So in effect, protein fining agents are used to strip out the phenolics from wine.
Fining can be done for several reasons including: adjusting colour, odour, flavour, tannin, astringency, stability and remove microscopic particles that could cloud the wine. A number of different fining agents are used depending on the type of wine to which they are being applied. Examples include bentonite, gelatine, egg white, milk casein, fish bladders, seaweed, clay, and others.


Usually bentonite and egg whites are used by themselves, but gelatine is commonly used to fine white wines. These fining agents have a specific gravity that is slightly greater than the wine. As the substances sink through the wine it binds with any remaining unwanted particles that are suspended in the wine and carries them to the bottom, leaving the wine free of cloudiness.
White wines are fined to remove particles that may cause the wine to brown or lose colour as well as removing heat-unstable proteins that could cause the wine to appear hazy should it be exposed to high temperatures after bottling. Red wines are fined for the same reason but also for the added benefit of reducing the amount of bitter, astringent tannins, making wines smoother and more approachable sooner after bottling.
New Zealand has wine labelling laws that require the use of fining agents that may be an allergenic to appear on the label, as there may be trace amounts left in the wine.
As with filtration, there is the risk of some loss of flavour with fining due to desirable flavour molecules being precipitated out, though, fining is considered less harsh than filtration.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Hewitson 'Ned & Henry's' Shiraz 2009

Grape Variety: Shiraz - (nearly 100%)*

Growing Region: Barossa Valley, Australia

Owner/ Winemaker: Dean Hewitson

This wine is named after 'Miss Harry' - Harriet's older brothers Ned & Henry, two real characters and the wine likewise.
After traditional fermentation the wine was pressed and went into selected French barriques, where the wine finished fermentation and also underwent malolactic fermentation. The wine matured in these barrels for a total of about fifteen months before racking.
While the base for this wine has always been Shiraz, each year Dean has blended in a small portion of Mourvedre with the Shiraz, which accentuates the fruit and delivers greater complexity. In the glass you have a very deep red with a purple hue to the edge. The wine has a bright aroma that is distinctively Barossa Valley: ripe black fruits and berries with a solid, concentrated core. On the palate the wine has a seamless class of perfectly ripe fruit and the French oak currently plays a strong role. The fruit flavours are full and concentrated yet soft and supple. The tannins are gentle yet persistent and completely mould into the wine.
Ned and Henry's is most definitely full-bodied: chocolate, blackberry and dark-earth characters. Yet the wine has great balance and poise and carries that signature called 'drinkability'. This is perhaps the best vintage I have tried to date, very reminiscent of the fabulous 2006. Decant for 30-40mins, serve at 18C.

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

Perfect wine match with game, rich meat dishes, wine reductions jus and rich cheeses, enjoy.

A classic old dry grown bush vine Shiraz.



The indigenous Zierfandler grape is a curiosity found in the 'Thermenregion' of Austria, situated in the outskirts of Vienna consisting of various towns and villages. It takes its name from the thermal springs of the Roman town of Aquae, which is known as Baden today. Zierfandler is indeed an endangered species, with just a few hundred hectares in the whole world, most of it found here. Thought to have derived from Roter Veltliner and a second, unknown parentage that is thought to liken Traminer.

The synonym 'Spatrot' refers to the late-ripening grapes that gain a red tinge to the skins in sunny exposures. Grape varieties grown in the region include both the rare Zierfandler and Rotgipfler which can be vinified individually or as its legendary blend known as Spatrot-Rotgipfler. 


The Zierfandler grape dates back to the Hapsburg Empire in Austria and was the favourite wine of the emperors. Zierfandler is number 222 on the list of the most commonly grown grapes and is used in both red wine and white wine. Even with many European wine regions planting international varieties, today Zierfandler is still mainly a local grape predominantly grown in Austria.

The wines often have a subtle bouquet, delicate fruit aromas over spice, often with a hint of nut and almond, supported by fine, racy acidity. As a late-harvest Spatlese quality, Zierfandler shines with rich, opulent and powerful wines, usually with aromas of dried fruit and tropical notes.
The natural sweetness, the rich extract and long-lasting noble sweet quality wines have remarkable aging ability and exceptional potential. Zierfandler can be found as the main grape in the much sort after sweet wines called - Trockenbeerenauslese.
The variety is also found in Hungary where is known as Cirfandel and in Slovenia as Zerjavina. The rumours that it is related to Zinfandel are just that and nothing more.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Arrogant Frog 'Croak Baronne' Shiraz 2009

Grape Variety: 100% Syrah

Growing Region: Languedoc, France

Owner/ Winemaker: Jean-Claude Mas

A wine proud of its Mediterranean origins - a lively blend of Syrah from three different 'Terroir': Domaine de Nicole, the Montagne Noire foothills and the Haute Vallee de l'Aude, Jean-Claude has created a model for Languedoc Shiraz. Each parcel was fermented separately - before careful blending to express the best from the vintage and region.
The fruit was machine harvested at night to retain bright fruit notes. After harvest the grapes were cooled down to 12C for 4-days cold pre-fermentation maceration. Fermentation then took place at 28C on the first day and then at 25C for the next 4 days. After fermentation, maceration lasted for 6 days with daily pumping over. Only the soft first pressings and free run juice were used in this particular blend. Before malolactic fermentation 45% of the wine is put in traditional oak barrels. 30% of the final blend is aged in oak barrels, where they use 70% new American and 30% new French oak barrels. The wine is aged for 5 months in barrels with 'racking'. The other 70% of the blend is aged in stainless steel.
In the glass you have an intense deep purple colour with garnet red tints. On the nose you initially find spices and balsamic then a second layer develops of blackcurrant, violets and finishing with toasted oak notes. The palate is full bodied but mellow with velvety tannins. Ripe and floral flavours on the middle palate, liquorice and spicy flavours on the lingering finish. Decant for 20-30mins, and serve at 17C.

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

Perfect wine match with meat pies, game, beef stews and hard cheeses; enjoy.

A bright and honest wine, made to be enjoyed young.



Airen is a white wine grape variety native to Spain where it represents about 32% of the total area of vineyards. Due to its high sugar levels and large yields, it is estimated that 30% of its production is dedicated to the production of brandy. Airen was estimated to be the world's most grown grape variety in terms of planted surface area, although it is almost exclusively found in Spain. Since Airen tends to be planted at a low density, several other varieties including Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are now planted more in terms of number of vines. Plantations of Airen are declining as it is being replaced in Spanish vineyards with various red varieties, such as Tempranillo.
The first recorded mention of Airen was in 1615, in the 15th century it was known as Lairen (as it is in the Cordoba region today). Airen is allowed in the following DO's: Alicante, Bullas, Jumilla, La Mancha, Valdepenas and Vinos de Madrid.


Primarily planted in La Mancha and Valdepenas, Airen is not only able to withstand the vast and severe temperatures in these regions, but this light skinned grape can also live successfully through long droughts.
Like most vines in Spain, Airen vines are typically trained into 'goblet' shaped growth. This ancient method of vine training does not involve wires or posts, but rather careful pruning. The trunk of the vine is kept quite short, whereby forming a gnarled lump of old wood at the head of the trunk from years of the new branches that sprout from the crown. These vines resemble a small bush or shrub, and may also be described as 'bush vines'.
Amazingly - Airen isn't grown anywhere else but Spain and in Spain isn't really grown outside of the arid plains of La Mancha. Airen traditionally produced base wines for Spain's Brandy industry and oxidized, alcoholic white wines. However, recently using stainless steel equipment and temperature controlled fermentation and improved vinification; it has been used to create simple, refreshing, dry wines marked for early consumption.