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, 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.

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