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.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Lake Chalice ‘Falcon Vineyard’ Riesling 2012

Grape Variety: 100% Riesling

Growing Region: Marlborough, New Zealand

Chief Winemaker: Matt Thomson

As many of you know - I enjoy Riesling in all its forms - and with the stunning summer many of us have been enjoying over the past weeks, what better way to refresh the taste-buds before enjoying the 'catch of the day' or a summer salad. Riesling is a variety which is highly ‘terroir-expressive’, meaning that the character of Riesling wines is clearly influenced by the wine's place of origin.
The fruit for this wine was sourced from the notoriously stony 'Falcon Vineyard', in the Rapaura district of the Wairau Valley in Marlborough. The Falcon Vineyard was the foundation site for Lake Chalice Wines, and on part of an old river course. The vines must be carefully coaxed and nurtured to grow on these stony, sandy soils. Harvest yields are low but the fruit is intensely flavoured, hence their motto: “let the fruit do the talking”.
The grapes were picked on the 5th of April at 19.2 brix to retain the fresh citrus flavours. After pressing the fruit underwent a long, cool controlled fermentation which was stopped with 27 grams of sugar per litre remaining to give the wine a low alcohol of 9%. Have your sunglasses handy when pouring this wine - as in the glass you are greeted by a bright, pale straw colour. On the nose - the wine has a delicate aroma, alive with fresh citrus characters of sweet lime and mandarin with subtle floral notes. The palate has great structure and nicely balanced acidity which lead to a lively, lingering finish. Best served lightly chilled 8°C to 10°C.
Drinking perfectly well this summer season; and over the next 2-3 years.
Perfect wine match as an aperitif, with shellfish, Asian cuisine, or a summer salad, enjoy.
A racy and refreshing Riesling.
Other Lake Chalice Wine Reviews:

Wine in Brief:




Sunday, January 20, 2013

Brookfields 'Bergman' Chardonnay 2011

Grape Variety: 100% Chardonnay
Growing Region: Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand
Owner/ Chief Winemaker: Peter Robertson
Over the past 2 decades - I have had the pleasure of visiting Brookfields Vineyards and sampling the dynamic wines crafted by Peter. All of the grapes for this ‘Bergman’ Chardonnay are estate grown - harvested from the vineyard right in front of the winery - where you can even play a friendly game of Petanque on the pitch laid alongside some of the vines. The ‘Bergman’ Chardonnay takes its name from the hundred or so ‘Ingrid Bergman’ named roses growing adjacent to the winery and a popular spot for wedding photos.
With only a very short distance to travel to the winery - the harvested grapes were pressed, and the juice immediately chilled. Following settling and inoculation with a selected yeast strain, the juice was racked into predominantly French oak, with the balance American for fermentation and subsequent aging on its lees. A small portion of the juice underwent malolactic fermentation - with the total time in oak being eight months.
As you pour the wine - a golden straw colour fills your glass. Even though this ‘Bergman’ Chardonnay was barrel fermented, it is still a fruit driven wine. Due to barrel stirring and partial malolactic fermentation, the 2011 ‘Bergman’ Chardonnay has palate weight and complexity, which is dominated by peach and melon characters - balanced by subtle oak notes. As the wine develops in the glass - you start to enjoy hints of butterscotch on the mid palate - enhancing the wines lingering finish. Chill and serve at 8°C.
Drinking perfectly well this summer season; and over the next 2-3 years.
Perfect wine match with roast chicken, BBQ’d pork and ham steaks, plus several light pasta dishes, enjoy.
A flavoursome, food friendly Chardonnay.

Other Brookfields Wine Reviews:

Wine in Brief:



Sunday, January 13, 2013

Jules Taylor 'Marlborough' Sauvignon Blanc 2012

Grape Variety: 100% Sauvignon Blanc
Growing Region: Marlborough, New Zealand
Head Winemaker: Jules Taylor
Well finally after a staggered start, summer has arrived and so have the summer BBQ’s and fresh cuisine, including fish, shellfish and salads a plenty. So to match many of these fresh flavours you need a bright, lively and crisp white wine - so enters Sauvignon Blanc. The fruit for this quality Sauvignon Blanc was grown in the Hawkesbury, Lower Wairau & Awatere Valley sub regions of Marlborough. Each parcel of fruit was chosen for its specific contribution to the aroma, flavour and structure of the final blend.
You have heard the saying ‘less is more’ well for Sauvignon Blanc in order to encourage the flavours of each individual vineyard parcel to come through in the final blend - Jules kept the winemaking deliberately simple. The grapes were harvested, pressed and cold settled over a period of 48 hours. After racking off juice lees, fermentation was cool and long - using selected yeast strains. Post fermentation, the components were blended, stabilised and then quickly bottled to retain freshness.
In the glass you are greeted by a radiant light yellow hue, tinged with a green edge. On the nose aromas of elderflower and currants dominant, underpinned with notes of citrus and passion-fruit. The palate has fresh herbal flavours - that are layered over tropical fruit and citrus notes. A fine stream of natural acidity ensures the flavours are focused and lead to a delicate yet persistent finish with an underlying mineral character. Chill and serve at 8°C.
Drinking perfectly well this summer season; and through to the end of 2013.
Perfect wine match with shellfish, freshly caught white fish and a freshly tossed summer salad, enjoy.
Gold Medal - New Zealand International Wine Show 2012.

Other Jules Taylor Wine Reviews:

Jules Taylor 'Marlborough' Sauvignon Blanc 2011

Wine in Brief:




Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Winemaker Series:

Welcome to another in the series of winemaker interviews.

I would like to take this opportunity to again congratulate - Régis Camus, the director of winemaking at Piper and Charles Heidsieck, who was named ‘Sparkling Winemaker of the Year’ in 2012 - for the seventh time, by the International Wine Challenge. This rounded off an award-winning year for Charles Heidsieck, in which their Champagnes won two Trophies and four Gold medals at the IWC, as well as two Trophies and three Gold medals at the Decanter World Wine Awards.

It must be remembered that Régis Camus stepped into some very big shoes when he took over as ‘Chef de Caves’ at Charles Heidsieck back in 2002, following the untimely death of Daniel Thibault, who had revitalised Charles Heidsieck, turning the Champagne House into one of the world’s leading names. Though it did seem however that Régis had the necessary understanding and talent - after studying oenology in Reims, he then joined Piper and Charles Heidsieck to work with Daniel Thibault in 1994. The two formed a remarkable partnership, so it could be said that Régis has in fact already played his part in the development, and it was perhaps only right that he should make his own name as he put his hand on the tiller and decided on the best direction to head.
When a great winemaker is trained by another great winemaker, when their understanding runs so deep that the absence of one fails to weaken the other, when this constancy finds resonance in the wine, year after year, something very special happens - something that our restless, fickle times forget to value, but something that is essential for a great champagne house and a great champagne - is continuity.
I have had the unique honour and pleasure of being guided through an extensive tasting of the components that make up these two great Champagne houses with Régis himself back in 2009. An experience that made my years of wine study finally make sense - and has given me a confidence and clarity that has assisted me since when leaning and tasting new wines from across the globe.

What first attracted you to the wine industry and as a winemaker?
I first studied food sciences in Reims and it was here that I met some very interesting people from the Wine Industry.
I then decided to move onto ‘Oenological’ studies. Since 1979 I have been working as part of a winemaking team, and I became the Winemaker - ‘Chef de Caves’ of Piper-Heidsieck & Charles Heidsieck in 2002.


Where and when did you study winemaking?
I studied in 1974 and 1975 at the Faculté d’Oenologie in Reims, France. After obtaining my Oenological Diploma - my first winemaking experience was in 1976.

Which person has influenced you the most as a winemaker and why?
There have been 2 key influences: Jacques Peters, who was my tutor during my internship in 1976. He also helped me find my first job in Champagne.
Daniel Thibault who trusted me - chose me and allowed me to reach the position of ‘Chef de Caves’ of Piper-Heidsieck and Charles Heidsieck.

What is your favourite grape variety(s) to work with and why?
Chardonnay is my favourite for the complexity in the ageing and Pinot Noir which is the predominant grape variety in the Piper-Heidsieck range.

Which grape variety would you most like to work with in the future and why?
In Champagne we are very lucky to have 3 grapes varieties acclimatised to our unique temperatures.
Example: in 1985 we experienced -35°C in winter & then in 2003 we had +45°C in the summer.

With each new vintage what do you most look forward to?
Every vintage has its own characteristics. I look out for its personality, what makes it specific so as to see if it bears the style that I look for in Piper-Heidsieck and Charles Heidsieck.

To date what has been you most interesting/challenging vintage and why?
The challenge is not really on vintage making, but on NV making. We have to make the Brut Cuvée every year and we have to create a constant wine of quality and style. The first years of the 2000’s were quite demanding - with 2001 and so much rain - and then 2003 with so much sun - and in the middle of the excellent 2002 season.

Which person ‘current’ or ‘past’ would you most like to have met or meet and why?
Life is a long journey and obviously you meet a lot of different people. They share their know-how, their knowledge. I have met ‘anciens’ (old) ‘Chefs de Caves’ and Grandes Maisons Head Managers, all very famous and knowledgeable in Champagne.
If you were stranded on a desert island and you could take one bottle of wine with you - what would it be and why?
I am afraid it would not be a bottle, but a Magnum (he states with a smile). As of today, it will be a Magnum of Piper-Heidsieck Rare 1998.

If you could make wine anywhere else in the world - where would it be and why?
The place wouldn’t be what matters! But it would be somewhere without the daily struggles of the world these days. If possible a place with lots of light. ‘Luminous’

What advice would you give a young person starting out as a winemaker?
To be curious, passionate and to persevere.

When you are ‘not’ making wine - what is one of your favourite things to do to relax?
Working in the garden, DIY, cinema - and looking after my grand-children.

In the future, what exciting changes can you see, or would like to see for your wines, wine styles, vineyard or winery?
We have to be the guardians of the Piper-Heidsieck style and I have to listen, to look at what is happening around me - and in the world - to work on the evolution of the Cuvees for the pleasure of our consumers and Champagne Lovers.

Piper Heidsieck & Charles Heidsieck Champagne are available in New Zealand and around the world from quality wine retailers and restaurants.
Or visit their websites: Piper Heidsieck & Charles Heidsieck.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Allan Scott 'Marlborough' Pinot Gris 2012

Grape Variety: 100% Pinot Gris
Growing Region: Marlborough, New Zealand
Chief Winemaker: Bruce Abbott
The Allan Scott family themselves provide all the incentive the team needs to adopt environmentally friendly methods. After all, the vineyards and winery has to be safe and productive for their children and grandchildren! As with all balanced wines - viticultural excellence lays the groundwork for this aromatic estate-grown wine.
The team lead by Bruce Abbott - aim to achieve varietal fruit flavour, the fruit picked at the optimum moment to retain its natural acidity and ripe characters. Pinot Gris is very labour intensive in the vineyard - with continuous vineyards practices required to ensure an intensely flavoured crop.
Picked in the cool of the morning when the desired maturity and flavour development has been reached, the grapes are promptly de-stemmed and left to macerate on their ski
ns for a few hours. The grapes are then gently pressed, with the clear juice racked and inoculated with cultured yeast in stainless steel tanks at a cool temperature to maintain fruit purity. 10% of the juice went through fermentation in old French oak barrels, and a small portion under-went a wild ferment on full solids. All the wine was lees stirred and spent the time until bottling on its lees, adding further depth and texture to the palate.
Elegance is the key for this old riverbed grown wine. Fruity aromas of ripe pears with sweet apples. These fruit flavours expand in the mouth evolving and integrating with the subtle sweetness of the wine to produce a long lasting finish. Chill and serve at 8°C.
Drinking perfectly well this summer; and over the next 2-3 years.
Perfect wine match with Asian cuisine, summer salads and fresh fruit desserts, enjoy.
Bright, ripe fruit fills your palate.

Wine in Brief: