Zephyr Wines, Marlborough, New Zealand

Ben Glover

I remember meeting Ben Glover years ago (in 2006), when he was working for Brent Marris at Wither Hills. This is where he established his reputation, and later he developed this as winemaker for Mud House. He left fairly recently and is now busy developing his family business, Zephyr.

The Glover family come from the Marlborough region. They were dairy farmers, but sold the business and quite a bit of land in 1985. They then planted the first vines on their Dillons Point property in 1988, just as Marlborough was beginning to take off. This Dillons Point property is now the basis of Zephyr. It’s a 27 hectare vineyard on some of the most expensive vineyard land in the region, in the lower Wairau, where it’s possible to get 20 tons/hectare of pretty good quality Sauvignon Blanc (hence the high land prices). The family also have another block, the Alice Mills block, in Rapaura. This is a 28 hectare vineyard and the Zephyr Pinot Gris comes from here. Zephyr also purchase some Pinot Noir from the Rawhiri vineyard, which is on the southern clays and is better suited to Pinot than the fertile lower Wairau.

Zephyr is owned by Ben and his brother Jack. They have bought half the vineyard from their parents, and they are converting it to organics: most is already managed organically. The portfolio here is what you might expect from a Marlborough winery, but there’s some geek interest with the MKIII (a reference to the Mark 3 Ford Zephyr that the winery is named after), which is an alternative style of Sauvignon Blanc. The Gewurztraminer and Pinot Noir are also pretty interesting.

Zephyr Pinot Gris 2017 Marlborough, New Zealand
First vintage was 2016. This has lovely texture with just a hint of sweetness and nice pear and spice notes. There’s a touch of tangerine with a delicate spicy complexity and some real Pinot Gris personality. Nice weight. 89/100

Zephyr Riesling 2017 Marlborough, New Zealand
Lovely purity here: zippy and bright with direct citrussy fruit. Really nice acidity here with just a bit of sweetness (11 g/litre) balancing out the high acid. Linear and refreshing with lovely weight. Some pithiness on the finish. Distinctive. 89/100

Zephyr Gewurztraminer 2016 Marlborough, New Zealand
Didn’t do this in 2017: it never got off the vine. 2-3% add back of skin ferment down to 8 brix. Lovely texture here with a nice spiciness and some grape, rose petal and Turkish delight. Has a bit of grip under the smooth fruit. Really compelling with some sweetness on the finish. 91/100

Massey Dacta Sauvignon Blanc 2017 Marlborough, New Zealand
A separate brand, meant to be more fun and frivolous. Very fruity and expressive with sweet melon and citrus fruit, with a juicy, vibrant personality. Some appealing greenness. Quite exotic, with lots of appeal, 88/100

Zephyr Sauvignon Blanc 2017 Marlborough, New Zealand
Fresh and showing some nice restraint, with well integrated green notes and a mineral streak. There’s a lovely citrus core to this wine, and it has a savoury dimension. It’s not looking to be an exotic, tropical style, and it’s all the better for it. Very nice balance here. 90/100

Zephyr Chardonnay 2016 Marlborough, New Zealand
15% new oak, puncheons, hand-picked. Juicy, lively and focused with a nice spiciness and some grapefruit and white peach. Very fresh with nice supporting spiciness from the well integrated oak. Lovely and very drinkable, with some brininess on the finish. 90/100

Zephyr MKIII 2013 Marlborough, New Zealand
Alternative style of Sauvignon: hand picked from east/west rows, just the golden fruit on the northern side, with a view to losing the methoxypyrazine. Whole bunch pressed straight to barrel. Two barrels. Lovely intensity here with a slightly salty edge and some complex notes of nut and wax. There’s a lovely core of citrus fruit with real finesse and a lovely acid structure. There’s some fennel and straw, too. 93/100

Zephyr MKIII 2015 Marlborough, New Zealand
Three barrels. Concentrated and briney with lovely acidity. There’s a waxy, fennel complexity and a juicy lemony finish. Very expressive with a tangy finish. Give this a little time to settle down, and this should age really well. 92/100

Zephyr MKIII 2017 Marlborough, New Zealand
Five barrels. Delicate and fine with lovely citrus core and some nettle, fennel detail. It’s pure and linear, more about the texture than the fruit. Grown-up Sauvignon blanc with a nice salty, slightly mineral finish. Lovely balance. 92/100

Zephyr Pinot Noir 2016 Marlborough, New Zealand
Rawhiri vineyard. Some whole bunch. Juicy and lively with nice spicy framing. Has a lovely sour cherry edge and some savoury chalkiness, as well as supple berry fruits. Vibrant with some nice structure and well integrated greenness. Supple and balanced with elegance and drinkability, but also a bit of grunt. 92/100

Mr Glover Pinot Noir 2015 Central Otago, New Zealand
From Bendigo. Juicy and lively with a slightly savoury twist to the sweet but balanced cherry fruit, with some warmth, nice texture, and a grainy, savoury edge. There’s a richness to this, but it avoids being heavy or too dense: it’s still very drinkable. Supple and juicy. 92/100

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1 comment to Zephyr Wines, Marlborough, New Zealand

  • Piers Baker

    The winery is named after the wind that blows through the region I believe. And I don’t think they started making the MkIII until 2015 so I think the vintages above are 2015 and 2016 (my notes are certainly similar of the 2016).
    Piers

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