Exploring Marlborough’s Zephyr: An Insight into Ben Glover’s Unique Approach

By | 9 February 2024

Website: https://zephyrwine.com/about.htm

Ben Glover earned his renown as a winemaker while employed at Wither Hills under Brent Marris, and subsequently at Mud House. This experience served as the perfect foundation for establishing his own family winemaking venture, Zephyr.

Prior to stepping into the world of winemaking, the Glovers were dairy farmers in Marlborough. They sold off their dairy business along with a significant amount of land in 1985. Using the sales proceeds, they planted 30 hectares of vineyards in Dillons Point, a high-demand subregion of Marlborough. Their home block is nestled among the Wither Hills and overlooks the Wairau Lagoons. Before the Wairau Diversion was constructed in the 1950s, these lagoons would frequently flood, resulting in deep silt loam soils. The majority of the Zephyr wines are sourced from this area. Ben and his wife, Susie, purchased half of the vineyard from Ben’s parents and they manage it organically, while the rest is leased.

Additionally, the Glover family owns the Alice Mills block in Rapaura. This 28-hectare vineyard, which is not located in the stony/bony part of the region, is the source of Zephyr’s Pinot Gris. Zephyr also procures some Pinot Noir from the Rawhiri vineyard, which is situated on southern clay-rich land that is more conducive for Pinot than the fertile lower Wairau.

In 2018 Ben acquired the Seresin winery, including a 3 hectare vineyard now known as the Brink. This vineyard holds the title for the oldest organic vineyard in Marlborough, having been planted back in 1992. The winery has been rebranded to The Coterie and alongside producing their own wines, it functions as a contract winery space.

The name of the winery is inspired by the Mark 3 Ford Zephyr that Ben possesses. In tribute to this vintage automobile, one of the wines is christened Mark III. An opportunity to taste the latest releases was enjoyed over lunch in Hunan.

Zephyr Pinot Gris 2022 Marlborough, New Zealand
This wine originates from 15 year old vines in Rapaura. It’s highly expressive, flaunting delicious pear, apple, and white peach flavors coupled with a refreshing undertone. It’s crisp with a touch of spiciness and a pleasing texture and freshness. 92/100

Zephyr Riesling 2022 Marlborough, New Zealand
It is derived from 1.5 hectares planted in 1996. It has 8 g/litre residual sugar and elevated acidity. The wine is lively, sharp, and rigid featuring a prominent lemony fruit taste ended by hints of lime oil. A certain pithiness is discernable, yet it retains a lovely clarity and purity. 93/100

Zephyr Riesling 2011 Marlborough, New Zealand
Intense, vivid and dry with just the tiniest hint of TDN. Lovely lemon and lime fruit with fine toasty notes and some crystalline detail. Purity and precision here. 93/100

Zephyr Sauvignon Blanc 2022 Marlborough, New Zealand
Sauvignon ‘doesn’t have to be beige,’ says Ben Glover. He’s right, and this is really good. He’s not looking to accentuate the thiol characters that Dillons Point is famous for, but uses neutral Champagne yeast, looking to get tomato leaf, fennel and aniseed notes in the mix. Taut, mineral nose with some reductive hints. So salty and intense, this is vibrant, pristine and crystalline with great detail, and some subtle tomato leaf and salad green notes complementing the citrus fruit. 93/100

Zephyr Sauvignon Blanc 2011 Marlborough, New Zealand
This was a real surprise. Lovely grapefruit, pear and passionfruit aromatics with some herbal greens. Pristine still, with freshness. Fresh and expressive with a touch of aniseed and lovely weight to the fruit. It has aged beautifully. 94/100

Zephyr Mk III 2022 Marlborough, New Zealand
First made in 2013, this is a different expression of Sauvignon: hand picked, oxidatively handled and fermented and matured in old barriques. Fine and expressive with a nice mineral twist, showing lovely mineral notes and a nice savoury twist. Lovely stuff. 93/100

Zephyr Chardonnay 2020 Marlborough, New Zealand
Ben Glover, the expert winemaker maintains that ‘Chardonnay is a fantastic variety.’ This particular variant is made from grapes planted in 1996. The precise and expressive wine displays fine, spicy undertones with citrus fruit notes. The wine portrays a charm akin to that of Chablis, and is complemented by a high acidity level rather than ostentatious, exotic flavors. It scores an impressive 93/100.

Zephyr Gewurztraminer 2022 Marlborough, New Zealand
This version is an excellent representation of the Gewurztraminer variety- it maintains freshness while offering the rich flavors this grape is revered for. The balance and weight of the notes of fresh rose petal and lychee contribute to good complexity. It enjoys a respectable rating of 92/100.

Zephyr Agent Natural New Zealand Wine 2022 Marlborough, New Zealand
This is an orange wine, first crafted in 2016 as a skin-fermented blend of different varieties. All the two barrels from the initial production were immediately sold to the importer in Denmark. Over the years, the contact with the grape skins has been increased to between 70 and 110 days (from an initial 30) with no sulfites added except for 25 ppm at bottling. The color is a golden/orange and the wine itself is termed as slightly wild, with the fruity flavor of mandarin, pear, and peach usually complemented by the spicy phenolics of what tastes like Brettanomyces. It enjoys a rating of 92/100 for its depth and focus.

Zephyr Pinot Noir 2022 Marlborough, New Zealand
This variant tastes juicy and vivid, with a nice flavor of raspberry and red cherry fruit. The wine is known for its supple bright fruit flavor, is quite fresh and floral along with a tinge of seriousness on finishing. It is rated 91/100.

Zephyr Pinot Noir 2014 Marlborough, New Zealand
Bright and gentle with notes of raspberry and cherry. A hint of fine spice comes through and ends on a mildly sharp note with beautiful fruit, a suggestion of mint and lovely green undertones. Soft and remarkably exquisite. 93/100

Zephyr Pinot Gris 2017 Marlborough, New Zealand
Introduced in 2016, this exhibits a wonderful texture with a whisper of sweetness and appealing notes of pear and spice. A touch of tangerine is present, along with a delicate spicy complexity and some authentic Pinot Gris character. Nicely weighted. 89/100

Zephyr Riesling 2017 Marlborough, New Zealand
This offers fantastic purity: lively and vibrant with direct citrusy fruit. Beautiful acidity is balanced with a touch of sweetness (11 g/litre). Linear and refreshing with a lovely heaviness and some pithiness on the finish. Unique. 89/100

Zephyr Gewurztraminer 2016 Marlborough, New Zealand
Wasn’t produced in 2017 as the vine never took off. 2-3% of skin ferment brought down to 8 brix. Wonderful texture, pleasant spiciness, and notes of grape, rose petal, and Turkish delight are present. It has a grip under the smooth fruit. Quite captivating, ending with a touch of sweetness. 91/100

Massey Dacta Sauvignon Blanc 2017 Marlborough, New Zealand
This brand is designed with a lighter, more whimsical touch. It’s full of sweet melon and citrus flavours, and brims with exuberance. There’s also an alluring hint of green. Its exotic nature is part of its charm, earning it 88/100.

Zephyr Sauvignon Blanc 2017 Marlborough, New Zealand
This wine has fresh and subdued tones, cleverly balanced with notes of green and a mineral streak. What stands out is its heart of citrus, teamed with a savoury aspect. It intentionally avoids the usual tropically-heated tone and is better off doing so. The balance is delightful, indeed. 90/100

Zephyr Chardonnay 2016 Marlborough, New Zealand
15% new oak, puncheons, picked by hand. It’s juicy, animated, and sharp, with a pleasant spice and a hint of grapefruit and white peach. Looks fresh with a well-managed spiciness from the integrated oak. The drinkability quotient is high, with a touch of brine making the finishing note. 90/100

Zephyr MKIII 2013 Marlborough, New Zealand
A different twist on the Sauvignon: hand-picked from east-west rows, choosing only the golden fruits on the northern side in order to minimize the methoxypyrazine. Once bunch pressed, the wine is moved directly into the barrels. Only two barrels’ worth were made. The intensity is lovely, intriguingly accented by a slightly saline edge and complex notes of nut and wax. The core of citrus fruit is presented with great fineness along with a well-strung acid structure. There’s also some fennel and straw mixed in. 93/100

Zephyr MKIII 2015 Marlborough, New Zealand
Three barrels. Concentrated and briny 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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