Forty years ago, on 24 August 1973, the first vines (of the modern era) were planted at Brancott Estate (formerly Montana), in Marlborough. Since then, this region has gone ballistic. These days there is an ocean of sauvignon blanc sloshing out of Marlborough every year, but it is the pinot noirs which have really caught my eye and I am certain that Marlborough is the most improved area in New Zealand for this alluring variety.
Zephyr is one of the newer labels and it is really on song. The Glover Family Vineyards were established in 1985, at Dillons Point near Blenheim, and Ben Glover (ex-Wither Hills and currently with Mud House) makes his family’s wines with real style and grace. Aromatically superb, with bright cherry purity and hints of spice, the sleek, silky palate runs on beautifully to a lifted, perky finish, and it has a lovely momentum throughout.
It’s a wine that would wow fans of Burgundian stalwarts Givry, Santenay or Monthélie, given its dimensions, and you will save a tenner every time you drink Zephyr rather than a French version, too!
• Matthew Jukes is a winner of the International Wine & Spirit Competition’s Communicator of the Year (www.matthewjukes.com).