Tasting Reviews

Corofin – A New Venture for the Paterson Family

Corofin is the new and personal venture of Mike and Anna Paterson, a well-respected Marlborough and New Zealand wine industry couple. Mike is best known for his role as winemaker at Jackson Estate from 2003 until the end of 2011, and Anna in various marketing roles, and most recently as general manager of TerraVin. For years they’ve hankered to have something they could call their own, and the establishment of Corofin as their own label is the realisation of this dream. They’re starting out small, as they have other projects they are involved with, Mike with the worldwide Naked Wines project, and Anna spending some special time with their young daughters.

Corofin is named after the village in County Clare where Mike’s family originates from, and the wines, Pinot Noir at this onset stage, are designed to show the individuality of selected sites growing fruit in Marlborough’s Southern Valley hillsides. Mike and Anna have built special relationships with growers who have developed vineyards of great character. The wines they bottle under Corofin will be their way of allowing these vineyards to be expressed during any given vintage, under the gentle, non-interventionist approach that Mike has learnt over the decade of working with Pinot Noir fruit from Marlborough. In Mike’s words, Corofin "will only use proven sites or sites with potential”.

Mike Paterson - Corofin

The Projected Development of Corofin
Mike Paterson paid a visit in Wellington to discuss the new label and to show the first wine under the Corofin label, to be released at the start of April to the trade. The wine is from the ‘Settlement Block in the Omaka Valley owned by Dog Point. Mike is particularly pleased with this young site which is undergoing organic certification.

Mike suggests that next year’s release of the 2013 wine will give an even better idea of where he and Anna are heading with Corofin. There will be three Corofin Pinot Noirs, the ‘Settlement Block’ to be joined by wines from the ‘Cowley’ Vineyard of Auntsfield in the Benmorven Valley and the Weavers’ ‘Waihopi Slopes’ vineyard for the Churton label. The Patersons are sure the vineyards will express their terroirs clearly, the Omaka wine an even red-fruited openness, the Benmoven wine distinctive floral aromatics, and the Waihopi wine a muscularity. Quantities so fare are tiny. There are under 100 dozen of the 2012 wine, and in 2013, there is in the region of 130-140 cases of each made. To date, the winemaking has been carried out at the Fromm winery facility.

Looking ahead, Mike and Anna are keen to add Chardonnay into the portfolio, the variety having a natural affinity to Pinot Noir, as is the case on Burgundy. Both varieties there, show a sense of place, and the Patersons envisage the same in Marlborough. From 2016, they may grow the brand to its final stage by the leasing or ownership of their own site to serve as their home. It will be in the Southern Hills of course, but Mike is playing his cards close to his chest on details until further down the track. All up, Corofin may end up producing a maximum of 1,000 cases of wine annually. www.corofinwine.co.nz

Tasting the Corofin 2012 Pinot Noir
Here is my tasting note of the first release of Corofin Marlbrough Pinot Noir:

Corofin ‘Settlement Vineyard – East Slope’ Marlborough Pinot Noir 2012
Medium deep ruby-red, even hearted, a little garnet on rim. The nose is subtle and gentle with red berry fruit aromas, seamlessly interwoven with delicate layers of whole bunch savoury elements. The oaking is very sensitive, and the bouquet builds in depth, showing savoury herbs and florals. Medium-bodied and restrained in expression, delicate flavours of red berries and red florals are harmoniously melded with savoury herb elements. The palate has a smooth flow, showing its richness stylishly, and unfolding savoury and spicy nuances. The extraction is positive and the tannins are silky, and there is excellent presence with great understatement. A soft, red-fruited lingering finish completes the wine. This will continue to develop richness and subtle interest over the next 5-6 years. Serve with poultry and pork. Hand-picked fruit, predominantly clone 777 with 667 from the ‘East Slope’ of the ‘Settlement Vineyard’, Omaka Valley from vines around 10 y.o., indigenous yeast fermented with 80% whole berries and 20% whole cluster to 13.5% alc., the wine spending 25 days on skins and aged 11 months in 3 and 4 y.o. French oak barrels. 94 dozen made. 18.0+/20 Mar 2014 RRP $45.00
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