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Iconoclast dismissed

[vineyard]Shake, bottle & roll

This morning, there was an earthquake. Not a very big one – 6.4 or so – but enough to wake Theresa with middle-of-the-night accusations of bed-shaking. For my part, it’s something rattling upstairs that shakes me to consciousness, and I spend a few fruitless minutes checking for prowlers before finally coming back to bed, blissfully (as yet) unaware of the cause of our disruption.

On any other day like today, an earthquake probably would have been the most shocking thing to happen to us; the most jarring event amongst an otherwise peaceful procession of winery visits and beautiful drives through the viticultural Nelson countryside. But that’s any other day. As an unsettling force that rattles the foundations and disrupts the perspective, an earthquake’s got nothing on Glover’s.

Birds of a feather

On our first attempt at finding Glover’s, we go roaring right past the winery. In retrospect, we never should have turned around. Not that our experience is so horrible – it’s decidedly not – but of all the times that our arrival has somehow put a winemaker or staff member out, this one seems to be the worst.

David Glover is standing in front of us, virtually bathing in his own sweat…a perspiration that continues to bead atop his forehead from a dozen pore-sized springs. His clothes are soaked through, he’s a little dirty (the ever-persistent curse of the working winemaker who’s also in the ad hoc hospitality business), and he’s holding something. A wrench, a hammer, a cudgel…I’m a little too edgy to be sure, because alongside the sweat and the bludgeoning instrument, he’s got a decidedly wild-eyed look to him. When he finally speaks, he’s just about as short as the ever-polite Kiwis can bring themselves to be.

“Yes?” Clipped and laden with impatient meaning, yet delivered through that slightly psychotic smile.

“Um…we have an…uh…appointment?” A blank stare. “Uh, um, Russell called?” I’ve reached that point where every phrase is uttered as a tentative question. Better to avoid any appearance of aggression.

…continued here.

Photo ©Glover’s Vineyard.

Back to Front

[vineyard]Glover’s 2001 Pinot Noir Front Block (Nelson) – Tannic. Tannic. Aside from the license plate, we’d been warned by others, so we can’t claim to be completely unprepared. But this much tannin in an otherwise helpless pinot noir is still shocking, no matter how prepped one feels. It’s got waves of acidity to match its tannin, too, with stringy bark, walnut, dirt and gravel making up virtually the entire palate. The finish is – big surprise – bitter. And sour. And…oh, never mind. You get the picture. (3/05)

Glover’s 2001 Pinot Noir Back Block (Nelson) – The difference between this and the Front Block is allegedly a matter of slope. Whatever the change, it’s for the better, with a richer, riper fruit core that is, nonetheless, still pummeled into near-oblivion by chewy, nutty tannin and a dirt-filled, bitter finish. It will probably age longer than the other, though to what end I can’t imagine. I don’t “get” this wine either, though I fail to “get” it somewhat less than the previous version. (3/05)

How dry I am

Glover’s 2003 “Dry” Riesling (Moutere) – From Kahurangi Estate’s grapes. Those things get around, don’t they? In any case, despite the iconoclasm, this is a much better interpretation than anything from the source winery, with massive minerality unfortunately muffled by reduction, white pepper, and salt. Sharp and quite “wet”-tasting (by which I suppose I mean juicily acidic), this clearly needs time. The wine would appear to have a potentially good future, but I do worry that once all the sheathing is eroded by time, the core will be too severe for its own good. However, that’s a pure guess. Maybe this is (or rather, will be) terrific. I just can’t tell. (3/05)

Oh Moutere, I’m in love

Glover’s 2001 Cabernet Sauvignon (Moutere) – Chunky blackberry with rosemary. Very, very tannic, but the raw materials here are much more supportive of this kind of structure, and there’s something approaching what anyone (other than Mr. Glover) might consider balance. (3/05)


Glover’s 2003 Riesling “Icewine” (Moutere) – A flat nose of sweet, simple apple. Short and disappointing. Given the originality shown elsewhere in this lineup, I expected this most idiosyncratic of wines to be better. Alas, it’s not. (3/05)

Richmond district

Glover’s 1997 “Late Harvest” Riesling (Richmond) – Creamy and definitely entering its mature phase, with thick minerality and salted lemon. I can’t decide if this is more like an ultra-dense (but old-style, not powerfully sweet and overripe as in the modern idiom) spätlese or…I don’t know, perhaps a Rheingau halbtrocken auslese. What I do know is that it’s big, crystalline, and thoroughly delicious. I’ve had many quality New Zealand rieslings – some I’d even call “better” – but I’ve never had one quite like this. (3/05)

Glover’s 2002 “Late Harvest” Riesling (Richmond) – Strikingly mineral-driven, salty, and almost smoky, with a good balance between sweet and dry. The finish is a bit shorter than one might like, but nothing to panic about. (3/05)