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 29, 2012

Cookoothama 'Botrytis' Semillon 2008

Grape Variety: 100% Semillon
Growing Region: Darlington Point, Riverina, New South Wales, Australia
Head Winemaker: Daren Owers
Trophy - Royal Melbourne Wine Show 2011
Those of you that have even the slightest sweet tooth - I encourage you open and share a bottle of this 'Cookoothama 'Botrytis' Semillon' with someone special and enjoy it with your favourite grilled stone-fruits and fresh desserts. Known by those who know good sweet wines - this is something slightly special and delicious.
The Semillon fruit for this unique dessert wine was sourced from their own Cookoothama Vineyard on the banks of the Murrumbidgee River at Darlington Point in Riverina. The Riverina region is renowned for its ability to craft wonderful dessert wines. With daily inspections and careful monitoring of the botrytis infection in the vineyard, this allowed the 'super' ripe fruit - that was picked in June - to be delivered to the winery in ideal condition for this style of wine. The fruit was gently crushed, chilled, and with skin contact for 18 hours. Once pressed the juice was filtered and warmed up ready for fermentation. Fermentation started in stainless steel tanks and was then transferred into oak for partial barrel fermentation. The wine was then allowed to mature in oak barrels for 8 months.
In the glass you will be greeted by a rich golden yellow colour. The wine has a bouquet of concentrated dried apricots and fig notes entwined with toasted nuts and grilled pineapple, melded with home-made orange marmalade. The palate is luscious and perfectly balanced with intricate natural acidity - giving a clean bright finish to the wine. Chill and serve at 8°C.
Drinking perfectly well this summer; and over the next 4-5 years.
Perfect wine match with fruit tarts, cool crème brûlée, cheese cake & dried fruits, enjoy.

Treat yourself and your dessert to a glass.

Wine in Brief:


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Winemaker Series:

Welcome to another in the series of winemaker interviews.
Grégory Viennois has recently joined the renowned Chablis winery Domaine Laroche as head winemaker. The name Domaine Laroche is synonymous with quality Chablis. For 5 generations, the family has been dedicated to producing top quality wines from the appellation. Michel Laroche runs a dynamic and wine focused family business - guiding the company with a clear philosophy. Convinced of the appellations potential for high quality wines, Michel embarked on a period of expansion taking the holdings from 6 hectares in 1967 to over 130 hectares of prime Chablis vineyard today.
"To produce the best Chablis, you need to produce the best grapes". This is how Michel Laroche summarises the Domaine Laroche approach to viticulture. The focus is on creating the optimum conditions to achieve optimum quality grapes - purity and ‘typicity’ being the heart of the Domaine Laroche philosophy.
Grégory has an exciting opportunity ahead of himself working with the people, vineyards and wines at Domaine Laroche in Chablis and the varied ‘terroirs’ in Chile and South Africa - So I thought what better way to get to know Gregory and find out what shapes a winemaker, who will shape these influential wines.
What first attracted you in the wine industry and as a winemaker?
My grand parents were farmers. So, naturally as long as I can remember I have always been attracted by everything that came out of the ground, by cultivation.  The fermentation processes were fascinating.
Where and when did you study winemaking?
I studied oenology in Burgundy at the University of Dijon, at the end of the 1990’s.
Which person has influenced you the most as a winemaker and why?
Two people have been extremely important to me.
Jean Pierre de Smet, Domaine de L’Arlot, in the appellation Nuits Saint George: Thanks to him, I learnt  accuracy, precision and respect for the organic matter.
Stéphane Derenoncourt , who taught me how to decipher the terroirs and how to taste  (grapes and wines); the two elements that  permit to understand and anticipate the development of a particular wine.
What is your favourite grape variety(s) to work with and why?
Of course, Chardonnay for White Wines and Syrah for Red Wines.
Why Chardonnay? Although it is a widespread grape variety in France and all over the world, it makes unique wines, thanks to the complex and singular Burgundian terroirs.
Why Syrah? Syrah delivers wines that are both elegant and manly, racy and floral…simply complex!
Which grape variety would you most like to work with in the future and why?
Pinot Noir on the Côte de Nuits appellation… because it makes the best red wines of the world.
With each new vintage what do you most look forward to?
Each wine has to express respectfully, as possible as it can, the soil and terroir it comes from.
So far, what has been you most interesting/challenging vintage and why?
2011: It was my first vintage in Chablis and we took lots of risks (though calculated) by harvesting at perfect maturity.
Which person ‘current’ or ‘past’ would you most like to have met or meet and why?
Henri Jayer (renowned French vintner): I met him with Denis Mortet. A great winegrower, humble…
If you were stranded on a desert island and you could take one bottle of wine with you - what would it be and why?
Domaine de la Romanée Conti, La Tâche 1990. A unique tasting memory.
If you could make wine anywhere else in the world - where would it be and why?
I am lucky to have already worked in Chile and South Africa, in wonderful regions with a strong potential for making wines.
What advice would you give a young person starting out as a winemaker?
To observe the vines, taste the wines, don’t add too much oenological products… Don’t be a chemist!
When you are ‘not’ making wine - what is one of your favourite things to do to relax?
Going for a walk in the countryside.
In the future, what exciting changes can you see, or would like to see for your wines, wine styles, vineyard or winery?
More energy, more vibrations for the wines!
Domaine Laroche wines are available in New Zealand and around the world from quality wine retailers and restaurants. Or visit their website: Domaine Laroche.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Nga Waka 'Martinborough' Chardonnay 2011

Grape Variety: 100% Chardonnay
Growing Region: Martinborough, New Zealand
Chief Winemaker: Roger Parkinson
I look forward to tasting each new vintage of Roger's wines, as not only does he give them nothing but the best attention. His wines are a true reflection and expression of the vintage, growing season and of the vineyard from which they are grown. Plus with the added dimension of vine age and character that Roger carefully retains and lifts with deft winemaking choices.
The rich personality of this wine was crafted by having 100% of the fruit barrel fermented in tight-grained French oak barriques with approx 20% being new. Half of the wine went through malolactic fermentation - and all barrels were lee-stirred by hand monthly for a period of 10 months to give palate complexity and richness.
In the glass you have a green, gold colour with a good shine to the surface. This wine has already developed a confident bouquet showing a rich, complex Martinborough Chardonnay with intense ripe stone fruit flavours. The palate has a thread of subtle oak, supporting the ripe fruit notes which are complemented by the malolactic and barrel fermentation characters. Giving the wine a full-bodied appearance and with natural acidity finishing clean and dry. Chill slightly and serve at 10-12°C.
Drinking well this coming summer; and over the next 3-4 years.
Perfect wine match with grilled white meats, bbq vegetables and creamy cheeses, enjoy.
Serve in a large glass with flavoursome cuisine.

Wine in Brief:


Saturday, October 20, 2012

INDEX - Winemaker Series:

(Simply click on image to read interview)








Monday, October 15, 2012

Duboeuf Beaujolais Villages 2010

Grape Variety: 100% Gamay Noir

Growing Region: Beaujolais, France

Owner / senior winemaker: Georges Duboeuf

Beaujolais-Villages takes its name from 39 winemaking villages in the Beaujolais wine producing area that has long stood out for the superior quality of their wines. "Superior" meaning - greater aromatic complexity, greater concentration and greater reliability.
The vineyard that the fruit was sourced - comes from one of the oldest winegrowing families in the Beaujolais. 'Les Vins Georges Duboeuf' was formed through the passion of a lifetime with wine by Georges Duboeuf. From the very beginning - he built on his reputation in restaurants of high quality, and it was in this way that his wines have won the approval from the world's great chefs. Georges Duboeuf wines are now found in over 140 countries - and he works closely with some 400 winegrowers in the region. Les Vins Georges Duboeuf is without doubt the most recognized Beaujolais wine brand worldwide.
In the glass you are greeted by a purple-magenta colour with a bright ruby hue. The nose has lifted notes of wild strawberry and cherry, fruit driven with a touch of earthiness. The palate is bright, pleasing and smooth, with good acidity and structure. A smooth, approachable wine with fine tannins, harmonious and a lively finish. Serve slightly chilled at 13-15°C.

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

Perfect wine match with meat kebabs, bbq pork chops, pizza and creamy cheeses, enjoy.

Enjoy slightly chilled with good friends.


Wine in Brief:


Monday, October 8, 2012

Akarua 'Central Otago' Pinot Gris 2011

Grape Variety: 100% Pinot Gris
Growing Region: Bannockburn (Cairnmuir), New Zealand
Winemaker: Matt Connell
If you haven't made your way down to Central Otago, after visiting the region and the picture postcard vineyards of Akarua - you may find yourself wanting to stay. Those in the know are aware that Central Otago is producing exciting Pinot Gris that suits so many fresh everyday NZ cuisine choices.
Both Matt and long serving viticulturist Gillian Wilson aim to make wines that typify the amazing terroir of 'Bannockburn' and the surround vineyards sites, but most importantly - crafting early drinking wines that people love to share.
This Pinot Gris was sourced from the Clutha and Cairnmuir White vineyard sites which are approx 250 meters above sea level with a North West aspect. After harvesting - the fruit underwent a combination of fermentation with various yeast strains in stainless steel tanks and 15% in old neutral oak barriques - with the juice on lees being stirred once a week for 6 months.
The final blend of both sites and winemaking techniques has created a wine that in the glass is bright and clear with a pale golden hue. On the nose there are lifted aromas of orange blossom and pear juice. The palate is lush and layered with white peach and citrus flavours. Well structured with a richness and poise that typifies Akarua Pinot Gris. The wine finishes with a lively punch of fresh ginger and mineral notes. Chill and serve at 8°C.
Drinking perfectly well this coming summer; and well into 2013.
Perfect wine match with shellfish, Asian dishes and vegetarian cuisine, enjoy.
A vibrant expression of Pinot Gris.

Wine in Brief:


Thursday, October 4, 2012

‘Marlborough Smart and Connected’

In June of this year an exiting initiative was launch called: ‘Marlborough Smart and Connected’, an economic development project presented by project leader Economic Anthropologist Amanda Lynn. Amanda explained that too often communities focus on economic growth, and that a focus on growth alone may not be sustainable. Amanda gave the example of economic incentives to encourage the establishment of a ‘gumboot factory’ in a rural New Zealand town which while meeting the objective of economic growth - unfortunately was not sustainable, as a few years later the factory moved to another town that offered better incentives. Unfortunately the town’s economy had become dependent on the factory and the loss was catastrophic for the community.
The ‘Smart and Connected Project’ is aimed at getting Marlborough to think innovatively and work together to create and market their products more effectively. The presentation was interesting, however it was focused on strategy, which, while important, must lead to actions or all the effort will be for nothing.
Marlborough is such a great place - with many talented and successful people from all walks of life who choose to live and contribute to the community/ region. There is a diverse range of skills which can be leveraged and ensure success with a ‘smart and connected’ strategy.
Marlborough has quite a few strings to its economic bow. The largest wine-growing region accounting for over 70% of New Zealand’s wine production. They also have dairy, sheep, beef and arable farming, cherries, apples, forestry, aqua-culture, fishing, aviation and tourism based around the Marlborough Sounds and the surrounding wine industry. Marlborough also has a ‘Tui’s to Town’ project, with the aim being to encourage residents to plant appropriate native species to attract native Tui birds back into the town environment of Blenheim.
There are innovations underway in Marlborough that could be linked together in a ‘Smart and Connected’ way such as Doug Avery’s model farm situated on the dry east coast. In this part of Marlborough farms are struggling with soil erosion and lack of profitability and yet Doug Avery has tackled both problems head on with great success. Doug’s farm is great example of working with the land and the environment for a sustainable (including financial) future.
Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand which is based in Marlborough, is a sustainability program designed to provide a ‘best practice’ model of environmental practices in the vineyard and winery. The scheme ensures a quality assurance from the vineyard to the bottle and addresses consumer concerns regarding products, which are made taking care to respect the environment.
If all of these threads are pulled together Marlborough could become a sustainability hub encompassing more than just the wine industry. Marlborough’s forestry, marine farming and traditional agricultural industries; would all benefit from a region wide sustainability regime that linked all of these industries and the community as a whole.
The wine industry as the dominant land user close to Blenheim could be encouraged to plant small areas of appropriate native species in the ephemeral streams that run through many vineyards, to hop scotch the Tui’s from the hills onto the valley floor and back into town. The expertise that ‘Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand’ has built up over the years could be adapted and applied to other Marlborough industries.
Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand is an independently audited production system, where winegrowers must report all of their inputs and complete a scorecard. There are practices that are banned, such as some chemicals that lead to unacceptable environmental effects and or residues in the finished wine, practices that deteriorate the soil and or lead to erosion, labour practices and minimizing fuel use. That is by no means a full list of requirements, but I’m sure you get the picture.
Importantly accredited members must complete a scorecard and have complete records of all their inputs, vineyard practices and compliance with resource consents etc - and accreditation requires that vineyards and wineries be independently audited.
A key aspect of ‘Sustainable Winegrowing’ is that it is an iterative program that evolves over time as new practices and technologies come along. While the program has been designed for vineyards and wineries it could easily be adapted to other industries and that flexibility could be used in a ‘Smart and Connected’ way to pull Marlborough’s strengths together and make the region the ‘Sustainability Capital’ of New Zealand. This will undoubtedly lead to sustainable economic development for Marlborough.
For more information on Sustainable Winegrowing NZ - CLICK HERE:

*(Key contributor to this article; Mr Stuart Smith - New Zealand Winegrowers Chairman, and proprietor / owner of Fairhall Downs & Torea Wines)