The other week we had the pleasure of Ben Glover from Zephyr wines pop in for a tasting. Based in Marlborough they produce a full range of wines from the family farm in Dillons Point, which was converted to vines in 1985, firstly being planted with Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Riesling and Pinot Noir, then further adding Gewürztraminer in 1991. The Glovers continued enthusiasm prompted them to launch their own brand Zephyr, and Ben came back to become winemaker, after working at other New Zealand wineries such as Wither Hills.
The 2017 Sauvignon Blanc is absolutely delicious, not at all over pungent with its aromas, but elegant, filled with lovely green fruit, citrus and the classic hints of tomato leaf. These all come through on the palate with a thirst-quenching acidity that helps the flavours stay on your palate for what seemed like forever. The MKIII is Bens oaked Sauvignon, now I’ve found these to be really hit and miss, with some people getting very right and many getting it very wrong, fortunately Ben has got it very right. He only uses old oak so as not to impart any flavour to the wine only to add texture, they are then allowed to go through wild fermentation. The flavours are similar to his unoaked, with melon, citrus and the classic gooseberry, but they are far more elegant, add in the softer, richer texture of the wine and it becomes a very different beast, soft, elegant but just enough acidity to stop it from being flabby and disappointing. Ben follows a similar process to this with his Chardonnay, however he swaps 15% of the old oak for new French oak and allows the wine to go through a partial Malolactic fermentation. On the nose you get hints of spice, citrus and apple, these come through on the palate but with a softer creamier acidity, but not like heavily oaked whites from Burgundy. With that added acidity to it, it makes the wine far more enjoyable whether your having it with or without food.
To go along with the classic whites of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc they also grow Gewürztraminer and Riesling producing much more restrained styles of these aromatic grapes. The Riesling has those classic new world flavours and aromas of Citrus and Apple fruit, with some floral hints and ginger spice, combine this with acidity and slightly richer texture and you certainly get a glass of wine that does not disappoint. The Gewürztraminer, again is a very classic new world example, filled with ginger, quince, orange blossom and a slight saline edge to the finish, which just works so well with the fruit and acidity which is just a little softer.
Finally, we got to his Pinot Noir, which as I’m a big fan of New Zealand Pinot I was really looking forward to tasting, and thank fully I wasn’t disappointed. It is a much lighter and leaner style of Pinot than many others produce, full of fresh red berry fruit and hints of spice, a crisp refreshing acidity and fine silky tannins create that classic fruit bomb style that we came to love from New Zealand.
Having tasted through Ben’s range, they were all great wines that I think I’ll be enjoying for a while, and hopefully you guys will as well, wines should be in stock soon.