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.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Grower's Mark Gisborne Malbec 2010

Grape Variety: 100% Malbec

Growing Region: Gisborne - Tietjen Block, New Zealand

Consultant: Kim Crawford

I have always enjoyed the early approachable nature of Malbec and its suitability to so many Kiwi palates and cuisine. Yes - we generally need a site with a warm, long summer and this Gisborne vineyard and the 2010 vintage was just that.
After harvesting prime fruit, the grapes had a cold soak for colour extraction for three days, then warmed up and fermented dry. Early in the fermentation the wine was vigorously pumped over to extract the rich colour and flavours without extracting too much tannin. Once fermented dry, the wine was pressed off and underwent malolactic fermentation before filtering and bottling.
In the glass you will see a deep crimson, almost black colour. Sneaking out of the glass you have an elegant, lifted floral nose with hints of violets and black Doris plums, balanced nicely with hints of toasty oak and cassis. On the blind - you might even think you have in your glass a young full bodied red of Bordeaux qualities. On the palate hints of liquorice, black Doris plum and blackberry jam fill the mouth. The wine has good tannins, and the finish has lingering sweet fruit and clean acidity.

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

Perfect wine match with a bbq'd steak sandwich, tapas, or cheese board, enjoy.

An early drinking New Zealand red wine.


Mosel (wine region)

Mosel is one of 13 German wine regions and takes its name from the Moselle River (German: Mosel). The wine region is Germany's fifth largest in terms of volume but is the leading region in terms of international prestige. The region covers the valleys of the rivers Moselle, Saar, and Ruwer near Koblenz and Trier. The area is known for the steep slopes of the region's vineyards overlooking the river. At 65 degrees incline, the steepest recorded vineyard in the world is the ‘Calmont’ vineyard located near the village of Bremm. The Mosel is mainly famous for its wines made from the Riesling grape.
The Mosel wine region has a northerly continental climate that is marked by cool temperatures. The best vineyard sites are south & southwest facing slopes because of the increased exposure to direct sunlight that aid in ripening of the grapes. The soil of the area is dominated by porous slate which has ideal drainage for the regions heavy rainfall and good heat retaining properties. During the summer months the weather is warm but rarely hot with July's average temperatures around 18C.

The steep river bank slopes are considered some of the most labour intensive vineyards in the world. Mechanical harvesting is impractical and nearly seven times more man hours are needed than in more flat terrain. Grapevines are individually staked to the ground without connecting wires so that vineyard workers can tend the vine more easily.
A positive characteristic of the Riesling grape is that it can create a wine of finesse and elegance that would escape most other grape varieties. White grape varieties cover 91 percent of the region's total vineyard surface. The wines of the Upper Mosel are characterized by their low alcohol content in the 6-9% range with intense fruity notes and high acidity.
The wines of the Middle Mosel are considered the most complete examples of German wines with some of the finest examples being able to age gracefully for 50-100 years. Mosel Riesling relies on a strong presence of tartaric acid to balance the grape's sugar and to help impart its fruity notes. The wines of the Mosel region are traditionally packaged in long green coloured ‘hock style’ wine bottle, to distinguish Mosel wines from the brown bottles of the Rheinhessen. The Mosel is also well known for its Eiswein production with the area's characteristic high acidity coupled with the sweetness produced by the concentration of the sugars in the frozen grapes.

Wines in Brief:

Monday, October 24, 2011

Nga Waka 'Martinborough' Pinot Noir 2010

Grape Variety: 100% Pinot Noir

Growing Region: Martinborough (Parkinson & Old Cemetery Blocks), New Zealand

Owner/ Winemaker: Roger Parkinson

This is one of my crystal ball moments, as I am not encouraging you to find the best in this Martinborough Pinot Noir in the next year or so. That would be totally miss representing this wine, the honesty, integrity and quality of Pinot Noir that Roger has crafted here with his 2010 vintage. But it would be remiss of me not to give you a heads-up on buying this wine now before it's all gone and find a prime place in your cellar.
The theme song for the 2010 vintage, as Roger states with apologies to the band 'Dragon' must be "April Sun in Martinborough". Looking at the season, it is the 2-month periods at both the start (2 of the coolest months on record) and end (seemingly endless fine, warm weather) of the growing season that has given this wine its unique personality. Harvested two weeks later than normal, in mid-April at 24.6 Brix.
After respectful winemaking and attention to detail we have come to expect from Nga Waka. In the glass I was greeted by a rich, luscious and powerful Martinborough Pinot Noir showing dark summer fruit flavours and subtle spice notes. The mouth feel has balanced tannins and subtle, refined oak from barrel maturation in French oak. The finish is persistent and will develop into a very more-ish wine. If you can't wait, decant for 45-60 mins and serve at 16C.


Drinking perfectly well from 2013 through to 2020.


Perfect wine match with herb crusted lamb rack, duck, foie gras and creamy cheeses, enjoy.

One of New Zealand's most complex style of Pinot Noir.


Wine Lake

The term 'wine lake' refers to the continuing supply surplus of wine (or supply glut) around the world - it historically referred to the over production in Europe. A major contributor to this surplus is the Languedoc-Roussillon wine region, which produces over one-third of the grapes grown in France. In 2007 it was reported that for the previous few vintages, European countries had been producing 1.7 billion more bottles of wine than they were selling.
This resulted in hundreds of millions of bottles of wine turned into industrial alcohol each year, a practice that was described as "emergency distillation". In the period since 1994, world wine production has remained in the range of 25 - 28 billion litres except for 2004 when production edged just over 30 billion litres.

One of the many attempts to remedy this was the 'Plan Bordeaux' an initiative introduced in 2005 by ONIVINS, the French vintners association, designed to reduce France's wine glut and improve sales. Part of the plan was to uproot 17,000 hectares of the 124,000 hectares of vineyards in Bordeaux. In 2006 Bordeaux alone distilled around 23 million bottles-worth of wine into ethanol or bio fuel - and some fear that this could be a familiar occurrence if the situation is not addressed.
The Castile-La Mancha region of Spain, which has the largest single area of vineyards in the world - roughly 500,000 hectares, is also another area requiring careful management. In 2010 the Spanish government was forced to intervene, with some 20 million litres of wine across Spain being bought and converted into industrial alcohol. All this means that the global wine surplus for *2009 was estimated at around 29.4 million hl, a figure which has grown from 24m hl in 2008 and 18.9m hl in 2007.
Vinexpo and IWSR recently forecasted that the world wine surplus will fall over the next few years. In 2009, 8% more wine was produced than consumed, but this is expected to fall to 6% in 2014. Though a much more manageable volume, the situation remains challenging.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Geoff Merrill 'Fleurieu' Cabernet / Shiraz 2008

Grape Variety: 57% Cabernet & 43% Shiraz

Growing Region: McLaren Vale & Langhorne Creek, Australia

Chief Winemaker: Geoff Merrill


The 2008 vintage was not easy for anyone in the region. One of the many challenges faced during the vintage was the incredible heat wave that affected South Australia and the flow-on affect associated with it.
The growing season began well, with many in the McLaren Vale announcing it would be one of the greatest vintages in recent memory - however once the heat wave struck, conditions rapidly changed, with the early ripening varieties and those well cared for vineyards producing some exciting flavours. After careful management and selective harvesting Geoff and his team have been able to craft another flavour packed wine.
In the glass you have a vibrant, deep red colour with a youthful purple hue. The aroma shows both the grape varieties well, with ripe berry fruits, spice, hints of capsicum, liquorice and black pepper all supported nicely by subtle oak. The palate has a very inviting and well balanced mouth feel with good depth of rich fruit, a well structured mid palate with firm clean tannins and a flavour filled finish. Decant for 30mins and serve at 18C.


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


Perfect wine match with tapas, pizza, pasta and the great kiwi summer BBQ, enjoy.

A fruit forward wine, ready to please.



A sommelier or wine steward is a trained and knowledgeable wine professional, usually working in fine restaurants and specialises in all aspects of wine service as well as wine and food matching. The sommelier role is more specialized and informed than that of a waiter, maitre d' or wine waiter.
The key role of a sommelier is in the areas of wine procurement, wine storage, cellar rotation, and expert service to wine customers. A sommelier may also be responsible for the development of wine-lists and for the delivery of wine service and training for other restaurant staff. Also preferably working with the chef, to pair and suggest wines that will best complement each particular dish on the menu. This requires the need for a deeper knowledge of how food and wine, beer, spirits and other beverages work in harmony with cuisine.

A professional sommelier also works on the floor of the restaurant and is in direct contact with restaurant guests. The sommelier has a responsibility to work within the taste preferences and budget constraints of the customer. In some situations, a sommelier's role may be broader than simply working only with wines, and may encompass all aspects of the restaurant's service, with an enhanced focus on wines, beers, spirits, soft-drinks, cocktails, mineral waters and even tobaccos.
Though sommelier is a title potentially anyone may claim, becoming a certified sommelier requires classes and an examination. The Court of Master Sommeliers, established in 1977, is the examining body for the Master Sommelier Diploma, Advanced Sommelier Certificate, Certified Sommelier Certificate and the Introductory Sommelier Certificate and was created under the guidance of the Vintners Company, The Institute of Masters of Wine, The British Hotels & Restaurants Association, The Wine & Spirit Association of Great Britain and The Wholesale Tobacco Trade Association. Since the Master Sommelier Diploma was introduced in 1969, approx. 180 people around the world have become Master Sommeliers by 2011.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Sacred Hill 'HALO' Hawke's Bay Chardonnay 2010

Grape Variety: 100% Chardonnay

Growing Region: Hawke's Bay, New Zealand

Chief Winemaker: Tony Bish


I am the first person to remind people when tasting a wine which they know the producer - not to use previous experiences to pre-judge the wine. But with this wine I found it hard - when nearly every Chardonnay that Tony has ever made, is such a great expression of both the variety and the site from which he sources the fruit. Not to give too much away - I wasn't disappointed.
The Hawke's Bay summer ensured the vines ripened well with good varietal flavours and maturity well advanced by late February and into early March. Sacred Hill's vineyards got off to a good start, with an excellent spring and early summer period ensuring the fruit developed on strong and healthy canopies.
In the glass you are greeted by a pale gold colour. With a few swirls of the wine in your glass the wine opens to reveal a complex Chardonnay, packed with ripe peach, toasted almonds and cashew nuts round out the aroma.
On the palate the wine has a soft texture with those same peach and nougat notes along with a nutty complexity giving a good mouth feel. The fruit is ripe, rich and seductive, followed by a silky texture that dominates the mid-palate, leading to a long and lingering finish with subtle citrus notes - searching to be enjoyed with an array of cuisine matches. Serve at 10-12C.

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

Perfect wine match with rich seafood & white meat pastas, bbq chicken, pork and ripe cheeses, enjoy.

Classic Hawke's Bay Chardonnay.


Rhine Valley - (German wines)

The Rhine River, whose name comes from the Celtic word 'renos', meaning raging flow, begins at the Glaciers in the Swiss Alps and flows north-west approximately 1,320 km to the North Sea coast in the Netherlands.
The Rhine Valley, where the Rhine carves its way through steep hills topped with countless castles, is one of the most famous and most visited parts of Germany. Most of Germany's vineyards owe their existence to the Rhine River. Made up of many diverse, small and unique areas - all of these German regions produce different styles of wine, but in general, Rhine wine is fuller and richer then Mosel wines. The primary grape is the Riesling, but there are other varieties of grapes like Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc) and some Chardonnay.

The German wine regions are some of the most northerly in the world. The main wine-producing climate lies below the 50th parallel. Above this line the climate becomes less conducive to wine production, but there are still some vineyards above this line. Because of the northerly climate, there has been a search for suitable grape varieties (particularly frost resistant and early ripening), and many crosses have been developed over the years in the Geisenheim Grape Breeding Institute. Recently there has been an increase in plantings of Riesling as local and international interest has been demanding high quality wines.
Most wines are produced around rivers, mainly the Rhine and its tributaries, often sheltered by mountains. The rivers have significant microclimate effects to moderate the temperature. The soil is slate in the steep valleys, to absorb the sun's heat and retain overnight. The great sites are often extremely steep so they catch the most sunlight, but are difficult to harvest mechanically. The preferred slopes are also facing the south or south-west to angle towards the sun. The vineyards are extremely small compared to new world sites. This makes the lists of wines produced long and complicated, and many good wines limited in production.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Ti Point 'Matriarch' Syrah 2010

Grape Variety: 100% Syrah

Growing Region: Matakana, New Zealand

Owner/ Winemaker: Tracy Haslam

Gold Medal - New Zealand International Wine Show 2011.

Ti Point Estate enjoyed a relaxed and enjoyable vintage - as 2010 turned out to be a sensational vintage for the Matakana Region. The near drought like conditions that the vines experienced, produced amazing fruit which was harvested at its optimum condition.
The grapes were able to reach their full potential, and the clean bunches were then handpicked, chilled and destemmed. Fermentation took place for 9 days and then underwent 2 weeks post ferment maceration. A basket pressed was used to gently press the fruit and then aged for 10 months in new, one and two year old oak barrels. The wine was then minimally fined with egg whites and filtered through a rock-stopper to avoid any finer filtration.
In the glass the wine displays a rich ruby red colour. The exceptional Syrah fruit has produced a wine that is rich in both aromas and flavours. On the nose savoury, earthy aromas are enhanced with hints of exotic dried herbs. The palate has a rich, velvety texture that is completed by a peppery, spicy finish. The soft tannins that are integrated with a good acid structure, give the wine a wonderful length and persistence to the finish. A Syrah that will only continue to improve with age - if you can hold yourself back. Decant for 30mins and serve at 16-17C.

Drinking well this coming summer; and over the next 5-7 years.

Perfect wine match with roast chicken, rabbit, lamb and rich cheeses, enjoy.



Pomerol is the smallest wine producing area in the Bordeaux region. Its relatively small vineyards produce sumptuous, lively wines which are constantly sought after. This appellation has not been classified, yet the wine-making standard is extremely high throughout this region. You will not find typical huge Bordeaux chateaux as in the Medoc area.
As in the neighbouring appellation of Saint-Emilion, the predominant grape variety is Merlot, often with Cabernet Franc and smaller quantities of Cabernet Sauvignon. Unlike other Bordeaux regions, Pomerol has no official wine ranking or classification. However, wines like Chateau Petrus and Chateau Le Pin are priced as high as the classified first growths of the Pauillac and Saint-Emilion such as Chateau Ausone and Chateau Cheval Blanc.


Thanks to its soil, Pomerol is home to the world's elite Merlot-based wines. These wines blessed by the gods combine exceptional aromatic power with incredibly silky tannins. A work of art of the Bordeaux countryside and every possible square metre of ground that is suitable for growing vines are carefully planted.
Created in 1936, this appellation has a winemaking tradition began by the Romans. The unique 'terroir' has a surface of stones and sandy deposits covers clay mixed with iron oxides, which is also known as "crasse de fer" (iron filth).
Merlot grows so well here that it can easily represent 70-90% of vines planted on some sites. Tasting the resulting wines is an extraordinary experience for any wine lover. The use of these grapes gives Pomerol wines their smooth suppleness, and usually allows them to mature faster than Cabernet Sauvignon based wines. However, there are so many different producers on these small estates that the style of Pomerol is quite individual.
The most famous Pomerol chateaux are found to the east on the 'plateau of Pomerol'. The desire for Pomerol wines is generated both by the exceptional quality and by their rarity, due to the small size of the vineyards.