Corofin: new releases from one of Marlborough’s most interesting producers
These are the 2019 releases from one of Marlborough’s most interesting producers. Mike and Anna Paterson have been making their own wines since 2012, and they are a micronegociant, sourcing grapes from some of the region’s top organically farmed vineyards (read my write up on a visit a couple of years ago.)
‘For us these set of wines represent the most accurate and singular expressions of site we have made to date,’ says Mike Paterson (pictured above). ‘We believe these are a unique group of wines as their personality seems to hang solely on textures and aromas without viscosity. The Pinots especially are only 12.0-12.5% alcohol but are grown on sites that demand earlier picking through abundant physiological ripeness at lower sugar levels. We certainly aren’t going out to deliberately pick early, as flavour ripeness from site to site is so individual, and being this is what we are trying to capture, we would never compromise.’
‘Generally speaking, 2019 growing season was exceptionally warm with moderate/low yields,’ says Patterson. He says that maturity was early across the region in all varieties. ‘Managing extraction especially with Pinot was crucial as tannins were a significant feature especially off the clay-based soils.’
There is a change in the sites used. The new one is the Wrekin Vineyard, which is in the foothills of the Brancott Valley, in the southern clays. It’s organically farmed, as all the sites used now are. This has meant that Mike has had to drop Cowley. And Churton takes a one year rest in 2019.
‘From 2020 harvest onwards all Corofin and Meltwater wines will be 100% organically farmed and made,’ says Paterson.
The Meltwater range massively over-delivers. These are proper wines. ‘Our aim with Meltwater is to introduce a more commercial range for Corofin while allowing us to maintain all our core ethos of minimal intervention from vine to bottle (hand harvest, natural ferments and no fining or filtration),’ says Patterson.
Corofin Meltwater Sauvignon Blanc 2019 Marlborough, New Zealand
13.5% alcohol. This is ripe and quite exotic with some quince character as well as bold passionfruit and mandarin, as well as a slight smokiness on the nose. There’s good concentration to the ripe fruit, with some melony richness, but it all comes together in the bright, juicy finish. A lovely characterful, forward Marlborough Sauvignon, but with nice edges and a bit of complexity. 92/100
Corofin Meltwater Chardonnay 2019 Marlborough, New Zealand
13.5% alcohol. This is a beautiful expression of Marlborough Chardonnay. It has a fine, spicy edge to the nose with crisp lemony fruit, and a touch of orange peel. The palate has amazing freshness and a lovely grainy, saline character to it. This has a nice sour cherry edge to the lemony fruit, and it’s really engaging and compelling. Fresh, with nice detail. Such a lovely wine. 93/100
Corofin Meltwater Pinot Noir 2019 Marlborough, New Zealand
13.5% alcohol. Wonderfully floral on the nose with sweet cherry and plum fruit with some meaty richness and a spicy edge. The palate is fresh, showing good concentration and intensity, with bright, sleek berry fruits and some fine spicy notes. Lovely intensity and vitality: this is a serious Pinot Noir with a lot of personality. 92/100
Corofin Chardonnay Wrekin Vineyard 2019 Marlborough, New Zealand
13% alcohol. The Wrekin vineyard is tucked away in the southern valleys, and has clay-rich soils. This is rich and quite rounded with a mandarin and pear character, as well as some peachy richness. There’s a fine spicy thread here with a nice mineral streak. Characterful and quite bold with nice weight, and a rich mid-palate. Has some grainy texture and a hint of apple on the finish. 93/100
Corofin Chardonnay Folium Vineyard 2019 Marlborough, New Zealand
13% alcohol. This is from Takaki Okada’s vineyard in the Brancott Valley, and the vines are dry grown. Clay-based top soils moving into silt loams after 20-30 cm. 12 months in 3 year old puncheons and then into a stainless tank where sulphur is added over 7 months settling prior to bottling. This is quite powerful and bold, with pear, peach and citrus fruit. There’s a lovely fruit intensity here with a touch of grapefruit and good acidity sitting under the bold fruit. Very fine with some nice toastiness in the background, and notes of meal and spice from well-judged oak. This is a really lovely Chardonnay with focus and depth, and it should age beautifully. 95/100
Corofin Pinot Noir Settlement Vineyard East Slope 2019 Marlborough, New Zealand
12.5% alcohol. This is a vineyard in the Omaka Valley owned by Ivan Sutherland of Dog Point. It’s hillside clays planted at 5000 vines/hectare, and it’s all 777 clone. 12 days cuvaison, with no pre-ferment cold soak, natural ferment, pressed on dryness. 12 months in older oak. This has a beautifully aromatic nose with sweet berry and sour cherry fruit, some floral notes, and a hint of leafy greenness. The palate has lovely focus with more of the sour cherry character, a hint of undergrowth, and a lovely finely spiced structure to the fruit. This is pretty serious: it’s got bags of Marlborough character. I love the sour cherry notes which are just wonderful, and integrate really well with the green herby characters. Lots of personality here. 95/100
Corofin Pinot Noir Wrekin Vineyard 2019 Marlborough, New Zealand
12.5% alcohol. Newer Dijon clones 828, 943. Hillside clays, planted at 5000 vines/hectare. 14 day cuvaison. This is focused, dark and a bit grunty, with structured black cherry and raspberry fruit, with some plummy notes and a touch of citrus peel. It’s grippy and assertive with a juicy edge to the fruit. There’s a sense of freshness, as well as just-ripe fruit and an intriguing savoury, spicy, slightly gravelly edge. Notes of blood and iron on the finish. A really serious Marlborough Pinot. 94/100
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