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Corofin

Corofin

Perfect Tempo—Small Batch, Artisanal Marlborough from a Rising Star

With each passing vintage, Mike and Anna Paterson further cement their fledgling domaine among New Zealand’s most exciting up-and-comers. Having spent the majority of their working years in and about Marlborough, Mike and Anna have no doubt regarding the potential of their adopted region and were well placed to approach their first choice of vineyards. Indeed, Paterson’s selection of sites reflects both a winemaker’s enthusiasm for Marlborough’s Southern Valley hillside vineyards plus the dedication of certain grape growers whose vineyards he believes ‘act as a beacon of Marlborough individuality’. In a region where (traditionally) money talks and terroir walks, Mike and Anna Paterson’s Corofin project is carving out a terrific reputation by fashioning exceptional wines of place from the finest hillside vineyards of Marlborough’s Southern Valleys.

Established in 2011. Corofin is a tiny operation, working with a small roster of low-yielding vineyards, drawing on just three or four tonnes per site. The largest parcel they work with is a quarter of a hectare and yields only 150 cases a year. From the very start, Patters has worked with the Settlement Vineyard, located in the Omaka Valley to the south of Marlborough’s Wairau plains. This is site is managed by Dog Point’s gun viticulturalist Nigel Sowman and Paterson sources his Pinot from the vineyard’s East Slope, a clay-rich hillside.  Another of Corofin’s foundational parcels is the Folium Vineyard. This beautiful site is owned and tended by the inimitable Takaki Okada, who lives in a little house in the middle of his vines. The dirt here is ‘Southern Valley’ clay, around 1.5 metres deep, sitting on top of gravelly silt. 

“We are setting out to make wines that tell a story about some pretty special Marlborough sites,” says Mike Patterson. “These wines reflect the dedication of grape growers whose vineyards act as a beacon of individual terroir.”

Today Corofin’s portfolio also includes the exciting, biodynamically farmed Wrekin Vineyard at the top of the Brancott Valley (pictured above), which he calls “a real find” and Ben Glover’s Brawn Vineyard in Dillon’s Point has also joined the Corofin family, allowing Paterson to shine a light on another of Marlborough’s excellent, if under-garlanded, sites. 

The elevation and small size of the plots allow them to pick rapidly at the perfect moment—a reality that plays out in the balance of ripeness and freshness, the length and the supple structure of their wines. The vineyards are all managed organically and/or biodynamically. In addition, Paterson’s artisanal and highly intuitive approach in the winery does justice to the personality of each site. Corofin’s metier includes hand-harvesting and sorting, whole-berry ferments, no yeast additions, no fining or filtration, no acidification and no new wood. Year on year, Paterson’s courage to do less in the winery is paying greater dividends.

Now ten years in, this tiny operation is making some of New Zealand’s most lyrical Pinot Noirs and seamless, precise Chardonnays. The wines have the aromatic prowess and elegant texture that will appeal to Burgundy fanatics, but also youthful generosity and reasonable price tag; qualities all Pinot and Chardonnay lovers can get behind. The ‘entry level’ Meltwater range—which includes Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and most recently, Chenin Blanc—represent massive value from a region riddled with underwhelming wines that lack true character. In the words of Jamie Goode — “The Meltwater range massively over-delivers. These are proper wines.”

Region

Marlborough, New Zealand

Wine Maker

Mike Paterson

“For me, Corofin is one of Marlborough’s (and New Zealand’s) most exciting wine projects. The people behind it are Mike and Anna Paterson, and the idea is to tell the new Marlborough story: interesting, organically farmed terroirs seen through the lens of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.” Jamie Goode, Wine Anorak

What They Are Saying

“For me, Corofin is one of Marlborough’s (and New Zealand’s) most exciting wine projects. The people behind it are Mike and Anna Paterson, and the idea is to tell the new Marlborough story: interesting, organically farmed terroirs seen through the lens of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.” Jamie Goode, Wine Anorak

“‘In Marlborough there are plenty of great vineyards,’ says Mike [Paterson], ‘but for many of these sites, there’s only one person speaking about them.’ He envisions a scenario where there’s a collective realization of which sites are effectively Marlborough’s Grand Crus. This could happen if in addition to the winery vineyard owners, other people made wine of these top sites.” Jamie Goode, wineanorak.com

Corofin

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