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, March 31, 2013

Akarua 'Central Otago' Riesling 2012

Grape Variety: 100% Riesling
Growing Region: Central Otago, New Zealand
Head Winemaker: Matt Connell
With New Zealand still enjoying a long summer, what better way to share the last long weekend with friends before we change our clocks for autumn/winter - than to enjoy a refreshing glass of wine with some shellfish on the BBQ. This bright Riesling from Akarua in Central Otago was perfect for the occasion.
The fruit for this wine was sourced from the Redback Ridge vineyard which is exclusively a Riesling block and is also the warmest and most exposed ridge. The terraced vines are at 265m above sea level - with a north-west aspect to capture the warm afternoon sun. The soils are made up of broken schist with a thin covering of sandy loam. Matt and the vineyard team lead by Gillian Wilson work hard to achieve the best flavours in the grape bunches. Strict pruning, shoot thinning and leaf plucked by hand to carefully manage fruit exposure, with crop thinning to match vine vigour, with approximately 1.2kgs per vine.
The fruit was picked on the 24th April with the grapes undergoing a pre-ferment maceration. The fruit was whole bunch pressed and with various yeast strains - the wine was fermented at a cool temperature at less than 13°C to retain the natural brightness in the fruit.
Matt is a complete perfectionist and has exacting standards for winemaking practices. He aims to make wines that typify the amazing terroir of Bannockburn, but most importantly wines that people love to drink. In the glass you will be greeted by a very pale straw colour, with ripe stone-fruit aromatics. On the palate - bright stone-fruit and citrus characters with great balance between fruit sweetness and acidity. The wine has a fresh and lingering finish. Chill and serve at 8°C.
Drinking perfectly well this season; and over the next 2-3 years.
Perfect wine match with scallops, steamed mussels, chili prawns, seafood salad, enjoy.
Fruit forward wine, with cleansing acidity.


Wine in Brief:



Saturday, March 30, 2013

Matching Wine with Seafood:

When matching food and wine - simply think of matching the strength of flavours and weight of the dish with the wine. Wine and food are meant for each other; each enhances and strengthens the experience of the whole.
Consider whether a dish is ‘heavy’ or ‘light’ in nature - in general, look to pair a light-bodied wine to go with a light dish, a medium-bodied wine to match a fuller dish, and a full-bodied wine to go with a heavy dish. Think about the flavours in a dish the same way you think about the flavours in wine - as families of flavours.  The following wine and seafood suggestions - are just starting points - as there are so many different wines in the world - there are so many varied ways to cook and serve seafood.







Sunday, March 24, 2013

Taylors ‘St Andrews’ Riesling 2010

Grape Variety: 100% Riesling
Growing Region: Clare Valley, Australia
Chief Winemaker: Adam Eggins
Taylors is one of Australia's most loved and trusted wineries in the heart of the Clare Valley, South Australia. Located approx 130km north of Adelaide and at 350 metres above sea level, the area enjoys a Mediterranean climate. This is characterised by a large diurnal temperature range with warm days, where the vines enjoy high sunshine hours; and cold nights, which allow them to rest and recuperate - essential for retaining their intensity of flavour.
For the Taylor family, the 'St Andrews' wines are their signature on the world of wine. Every bottle is a testament to their winemaking philosophy and a showcase for their hand-crafted approach to winemaking. The first Taylors St. Andrews wines were released in 1999 and have developed a reputation as benchmark examples of great Clare Valley wine - and only crafted in the finest vintages.
Sourced from a single vineyard and carefully harvested at night only - the fruit went through a controlled and cool fermentation in stainless steel tanks to retain and express the natural brightness in the juice.
The 2010 Taylors St Andrews Riesling offers pronounced spicy lime aromatics and soft honey notes with nuances of peach blossom, grapefruit and a hint of jasmine. The wine is light to medium bodied and fermented virtually dry with naturally high acidity, supporting layers of honey, mineral and citrus-driven palate flavours and a long finish. The wine has excellent structure and is backed up by a persistent and refreshing lime acidity on the finish. Chill and serve at 8-10°C.
Drinking perfectly well this season; and will age well for another 7-8 years.
Perfect wine match with shellfish, and a wide array of Malaysian & Asian cuisine, enjoy.
Gold Medal - Clare Valley Wine Competition 2011.

Wine in Brief:



Sunday, March 17, 2013

Waipara Hills 'Equinox' Late Harvest Riesling NV

Grape Variety: 100% Riesling
Growing Region: Waipara Valley, New Zealand
Chief Winemaker: Simon McGeorge
If you enjoy well crafted wine - and have even the slightest sweet tooth - this wine is a real treat for the wine enthusiast and young person inside each of us that needs an excuse to have dessert after a great meal. This unique wine is crafted from 100% Riesling fruit sourced from 'The Mound Vineyard' in the Waipara Valley, grown on gravel and silt loam soils. This wine has an extra level of complexity in the winemaking and in the layers of flavour - as it is a blend of several years; wine made in 2009, 2010, 2011 and from 2012 hence this non-vintage blend.
To get the most concentrated flavours Simon and his team pressed frozen fruit, then after a gradual fermentation in stainless steel tank the wine was racked into a mixture of oak barrels for maturation. The blend is a mixture of previous vintage wines, all adding different characters and textures. 2009 was aged in oak barrels for 36 months; the 2010 for about 28 months, 2011 for 16 months and 2012 was aged for about 4 months.
The resulting blend has a residual sugar of 200g/L, and with balancing acidity. In the glass, you have a rich golden colour. On the nose clover honey, grilled pineapple, vanilla and dried apricot aromas lead to a rich decadent sweet spectrum of tropical flavours with subtle oak highlights. The fresh acidity and lingering flavours make this luscious wine seem remarkably fresh and light. This wine is really a treat for your taste-buds - decadent, rich sweetness and intense lifted summer fruits, bold and well structured. Mouth-coating fruit is followed by cleansing acidity making a heavy wine seem a lot lighter and fresh. The luscious lingering flavours will have you and your guests asking for more. Chill and serve at 6-8°C.
Drinking perfectly well this season; and will age for another 8-10 years.
Perfect wine match with fresh fruits, fruit tarts, homemade cheesecake and blue cheeses, enjoy.
Candy for adults; go on, treat yourself.

Wine in Brief:



Sunday, March 10, 2013

Tupari ‘Awatere’ Dry Riesling 2011

Grape Variety: 100% Riesling
Growing Region: Awatere Valley, Marlborough, New Zealand
Owner / Winemaker: Glenn Thomas
The Tupari vineyard is situated at an elevation of 150m on north-facing river flats overlooking the braided Awatere River, in the southern part of Marlborough. It’s here that the Turnbull family and Glenn Thomas work with the unique ‘terroir’ of the Awatere valley's terraces to harness and express the special characteristics from this site.
These carefully nurtured Riesling grapes allow Glenn to create a sophisticated, elegant wine, with a finely tuned structure. The thin silty-loam, river-run gravels, are a harsh environment for any grape vine. The gorge heats up on windless days, but as evening approaches a sea breeze flows up the valley and cools the air.
The Tupari Riesling block is situated on a thin terrace stretching along the top of the cliff face with magnificent valley views. Warm days and cool nights combined to create this wine's distinguishing mineral character and rich flavours typical of the Awatere Valley. Following harvest in the cool of the night, the gently pressed juice was carefully fermented and the process suspended with only a few grams of sugar remaining.
As a pure expression of the variety, this Tupari Dry Riesling sourced from a single vineyard - has a silky texture, with rich flavours and complexity, underpinned by a pleasing mineral character.
In the glass you have a pale straw colour with green tints to the edge. On the nose bright citrus notes, with sweet lime and a touch of spice and elderflower. The palate shows distinct varietal characters of ripe limes and grapefruit. At the heart you have crisp, bright fruits following through, with complementary well-balanced natural acidity, mineral seams and a fresh, lively finish. Chill and serve at 8°C.
Drinking perfectly well this season; and over the next 18-24 months.
Perfect wine match with fresh shellfish, tempura prawns, fish kebabs and a fresh summer salad, enjoy.
This wine will bring a smile to your taste buds.

Wine in Brief:




Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Winemaker Series:

Welcome to another in the series of winemaker interviews.
Fernando Gómez is the chief winemaker at the internationally acclaimed Marqués de Caceres winery - based in Spain's most renowned wine region Rioja.
Marqués de Caceres is unanimously recognised as the leading producer of quality Rioja and one of the best ambassadors for Spanish wines worldwide. With their brilliant vineyard sites in the Rioja Alta, they are exclusively focused on high quality Rioja and are one of the best-selling wines from Spain.


Marqués de Caceres was founded in 1970 by the Forner family and is considered largely responsible for the renaissance in Rioja that has occurred over the past few decades. The Forner family, one of the region's most innovative producers - introduced to Rioja the most up-dated winemaking techniques and practices, fully respecting the local ‘terroir’ and grape varieties, mainly Tempranillo and Grenache for red wines. The result was a new style of Rioja, with rich concentration and a subtle balance between ripe fruit and discreet oak; colourful, harmonious and velvety wines, full of finesse and elegance, always balanced and ready to drink when released to the market. The traditional Crianza, Crianza Riserva and Crianza Grand Riserva, made from Grenache and Tempranillo command international acclaim and deliver a defining expression of Spanish red wine.
I had the pleasure to visit the winery (after driving 5 hours from Barcelona to Logroño) and meet Fernando and the passionate team in Rioja back in 2008. The dramatic surrounding landscape, vineyards, immense barrel halls, the expressive wines and the diversity of the local cuisine have never left me.

What first attracted you to the wine industry and as a winemaker?
I was born in Rioja Alta and, since I was a child, I was happy working with my father who was a winegrower.  I loved spending time with him in the vineyards where I used to help him to look after the vines and share great experiences together.  At a time when most of the growers were looking to increase production, I learned from my father the secrets on how to produce quality.  He taught me how important it is to keep old vines rather than replace them to produce more.  I also had the privilege of enjoying the superb landscape, which surrounds us, with its mountain views, and the effects produced by light that causes shadows during the different stages of the day.  When I grew up, I moved to Bilbao, our nearest big city, to work as an industrial technician.  In 1970, I heard about Marqués de Cáceres, the winery founded by Mr. Enrique Forner next to my village, that same year.  My dream to get back to my roots came true, as he offered me the opportunity to work with him in the winemaking and viticultural processes.
Where and when did you study winemaking?
Mr. Forner taught me everything about making wine.  I also attended conferences on matters of interest to help me improve my experience.  Above all, I believe that my motivation and sense of modesty have been the best tools in fulfilling most of my personal and professional commitments.
Which person has influenced you the most as a winemaker and why?
Mr. Forner was my teacher and the example I decided to follow.  He was a special character who was obliged to immigrate to France during the Spanish Civil War at the end of 1936.  When he established Marqués de Cáceres, he chose the very heart of Rioja Alta for the production of a new style of red wines.  At that time, most of the red wines from Rioja were over-oaked, whilst the whites and rosés were almost oxidised.  Breaking with this local tradition, he made red wines with more colour and more fruit, and fresh white and rosé wines with a fruity character.  He considered that the Marqués de Cáceres brand had to be built on consistency in quality.
What is your favourite grape variety to work with and why?
From experience, I like working with the Tempranillo grape.  Throughout my profession, I’ve been able to anticipate how Tempranillo will respond in different circumstances as regards climate, soil, exposure to the sun and the age of the vineyards.  My knowledge of this grape’s potential in every harvest has enabled me to interpret its singularity.  Besides, Tempranillo adapts very well to our area due to the diverse climate and moderate rainfall that enables it to mature nicely with its typically elegant tannins.  It also produces wines that marry well with all types of gastronomy, with structure and finesse that don’t overpower the flavours of the food.  I love Tempranillo, for it produces wines to enjoy with pleasure.
Which grape variety would you most like to work with in the future and why?
I would like to blend Tempranillo with other varieties in smaller proportions.  I have actually been experimenting for several years now with Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz.  I’ve been producing tiny quantities of wines from small parcels authorized by our DO for the planting of different grape varieties for experimental purposes.  These represent only a few hectares here in Rioja.  I need more experience to appreciate the potential in certain vintages but I like the structure that these two varieties add to wine.  I’ve also been experimenting for many years now with Graciano in which I’m more experienced and I’m already blending this variety in our red wines.  Please let me remind you that our DO only authorises the use of indigenous grapes, which for red wines, are Tempranillo, Graciano, Garnacha and Mazuelo.  All other varieties are planted on an experimental basis so as to maintain the typicality of the wines from Rioja that date back thousands of years.
With each new vintage what do you most look forward to?
Every harvest, I like discovering the singularity of each little parcel of land.  Each time round is a new experience for me to extract the best characteristics from the grapes.  I see each harvest as an opportunity for me to reveal in full the character of our wines.  Each year is a new responsibility and an active experience, for we are in nature’s hands and we have to adapt to the circumstances to produce the best possible grapes.  Every moment of the day is, therefore, crucial: hand-picking the grapes, the selection process, vinification, etc.
To date, what has been your most interesting/challenging vintage and why?
1970 was my first and most challenging vintage.  Challenging, for it was my first experience and I knew that, as a new bodega with an innovative style of wines, everyone would be judging the results.  Besides it was the very first wine that we would launch.  We couldn’t afford to make any mistakes.  This was also the first link in that tandem that I formed with Mr. Forner for more than 40 years and I couldn’t let him down, although at that time, he supervised 100% every single task I had to perform using his vast professional experience.
Which person ‘current’ or past would you most like to have met or meet and why?
I was very impressed on meeting Professor Emile Peynaud.  I can recall his expertise as our consultant in the initial stages, almost unheard of in Rioja at that time.  He was a man who demanded respect but, at the same time, was an approachable character who loved talking about the land and had a special interest in Rioja.  It was actually he who helped Mr. Forner choose Rioja and initiate the Marqués de Cáceres project.  I was very young at the time and, on observing and listening to Professor Peynaud, I realised I still had a long way to go!  I remember being very shy, for he seemed so influential, whilst I was just starting out and had very little professional experience.
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 would take the wines from the vintages in which my son and daughter were born.  It would be the ideal time and place (although with a fridge to enjoy the wines at the correct temperature…!!!!)  to recall these happy times in a peaceful setting and with the impression that time goes by more slowly on a desert island.
If you could make wine anywhere else in the world - where would it be and why?
I would venture into the unknown, for example China, an emerging market for both production and consumption.  It would be a new challenge for me, in studying to acquire adequate knowledge before departure and in experiencing a new world as regards, climate, grape varieties, i.e. a whole new culture for me.  A move that I would try to get as much out of as possible to overcome all the difficulties.
What advise would you give a young person starting out as a winemaker?
I would advise young people starting out, to never believe that they know everything, for there is something new to learn every day for as long as they live.  Hard work, conviction, modesty.
When you are not making wine - what is one of your favourite things to do to relax?
I like spending time with my family and friends.  Cooking and gardening are hobbies that go hand in hand with wine: human relations, cooking and being able to cultivate my own little vegetable garden to obtain the finest products.  I agree with respecting the environment and the ecological culture.  I think I can boast about producing the most flavoursome tomatoes in this area and delicious green vegetables that I grill and serve with good quality olive oil.  I find all of this relaxing and enjoyable whilst savouring some good wine.
In the future, what exciting changes can you see, or would you like to see for your wines, wine styles, vineyard or winery?
I would like to further increase our range of wines from Rioja.  We are in fact working on this and have already achieved a few successful launches.  This year, we will introduce a young, ecological wine made from 90% Tempranillo and 10% Graciano (these grapes have, in fact, represented a good part of my experiments and come from a single vineyard that is cultivated ecologically to respect the natural environment).  Two years ago, we also launched a wine from outside Rioja, a white Albariño from Rias Baixas, called Deusa Nai, which is exquisite on tasting with a mineral and citrus character.  We continue to work on new opportunities to consolidate our quality image with wines of character so as enrich our current range of wines.
Marqués de Caceres are available in New Zealand and around the world from quality wine retailers and restaurants.
Or visit the website: Marqués de Caceres