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.”

The Range

Meltwater Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2023
Added

Meltwater Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2023

As you would expect from a producer of Mike Paterson’s calibre, Meltwater’s hand-crafted Marlborough Sauvignon hits all the right notes with considerably more texture and interest than this category typically delivers. For a start, it’s low-cropped from a single, certified-organic vineyard in the southern foothills of the Wairau Valley. It’s a sheltered site, protected from the Pacific Ocean’s influence by mountains that lie to the north and south.La Niña once again resulted in low crops, but the fruit came in at full flavour ripeness with great acidity, thanks to the region’s significant diurnal shifts. The fruit was picked by hand and pressed to small tanks for spontaneous fermentation―with the exception of stainless-steel fermentation, these practices are considered outside the norm for the category. The wine then rested on fine lees for nine months. Stylistically, Paterson is driving towards texture and substance while keeping a tight rein on palate weight. The time on lees in tank builds texture and longevity. He’s struck a fine balance from the excellent 2023 vintage; you’ll find crisp freshness and potent purity in abundance.

Meltwater Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2023
Added
Corofin Marlborough Pinot Noir 2021
Added

Corofin Marlborough Pinot Noir 2021

The inaugural release of this label is drawn from Wrekin Vineyard (65%) in the Brancott Valley, and Dog Point’s Settlement Vineyard in the Omaka Valley (35%). Mike Patterson loves the blend of these two contrasting sites. The Settlement is often Corofin’s first block to be harvested and contributes elegance and red-fruited suppleness. The Wrekin block, on the other hand, lends brooding savoury depth and palate weight: it’s a match made in Marlborough! In ’21, the Settlement block was picked on the 2nd of March, while the Wrekin block followed just a day later. Regarding the winemaking, both batches were destemmed and fermented wild with gentle, once-daily pump-overs. The batches were then transferred to seasoned (two and three-year-old) barrels, where they remained for 13 months on lees. After blending, the wine was married in tank for five months before being bottled unfined and unfiltered. This screams succulence. It’s a bright, juicy and snappy Pinot with an alluring mix of red fruits, earth and spice swirling around a supple and generous texture, lip-smacking intensity and a very moreish finish. Delicious. It’s a challenge to stop drinking.

This screams succulence. It’s a bright, juicy and snappy Pinot with an alluring mix of red fruits, earth and spice swirling around a supple and generous texture, lip-smacking intensity and a very moreish finish. Delicious. It’s a challenge to stop drinking.

“Cherry, strawberry, a little sappy and earthy, a bit of spice, and a lovely rosy perfume. It’s medium-bodied, has a wonderful ferrous quality to graphite tannin, and the quality of the tannin here is really a highlight, with crisp acidity, some redcurrant and cranberry crunch and brightness and a very long and firm finish. Wonderful structure, energy, and persistence. This is such a high quality Pinot Noir. Terrific.”
95 points, Gary Walsh, The Wine Front
“Beautifully done. Almost haunting, sappy red cherry fruit, bit of recurrent and a bit of wild strawberry. Very Fine. Really impressed with this. This is a wine that shows the potential for Marlborough to make really world-class Pinot Noir.” (via Instagram)
Jamie Goode, Wine Anorak
“Light crimson. A fresh, precise and bright nose - crunchy cooler fruit with a slight herbal edge. Delicately structured on the lively, elegant palate with very fine, bony tannins, cradling a very sweet core of concentrated raspberry coulis which drives through with vibrant acidity to the fruit-focused finish and ends with sumac and red dates. Piercingly sweet on the palate, giving way to ground spice, this is charming, light-bodied and pretty. Hard to resist right now but with enough structure to see it evolve over the near term.”
92 points, Stephen Wong, The Real Review
Corofin Marlborough Pinot Noir 2021
Added
Corofin Wrekin Vineyard Chardonnay 2021
Added

Corofin Wrekin Vineyard Chardonnay 2021

Organic. Planted in 2002, the Wrekin Vineyard is a small, organically certified (Biogro) and biodynamically farmed site at the top of the Brancott Valley, almost in its own locality. It’s an excellent site for Corofin, providing both Pinot Noir and Chardonnay with “exceptional individuality and quality”, according to Paterson. Owned by Jan and Andrew Johns and farmed by Jeremy Highland, Wrekin sits in the lee of the scarps of the Southern Valley foothills on clay-rich soils laid over greywacke mother rock. Orientated northeast and planted at 4,000 vines per hectare (to moderate vigour), it’s also one of the highest vineyards in the valley, producing fruit that is often the last to be harvested each year. Crops were minuscule in 2021, with the Wrekin Vineyard giving up meagre yields of just 25 hl/ha. Hand-harvested on the 6th of March, the winemaking mirrors the Marlborough Chardonnay, but here the wine was raised in two 500-litre seasoned French oak puncheons. A picture of its site, the Wrekin 2021 oozes mineral charm, elegant citrus flavours and hints of white florals. The palate is lithe and pure, its sleek and textured weight energized by pin-point acidity and sinewy phenolic structure. It finishes savoury and long with subtle complexities pulling you back for the second glass. A very classy Wrekin.

A picture of its site, the Wrekin 2021 oozes mineral charm, elegant citrus flavours and hints of white florals. The palate is lithe and pure, its sleek and textured weight energized by pin-point acidity and sinewy phenolic structure. It finishes savoury and long with subtle complexities pulling you back for the second glass. A very classy Wrekin.

“The 2021 Chardonnay Wrekin Vineyard has a fine-boned structure with flesh on the mid-palate coming from the clone (95) and extended time on lees. It is drawn out and precise with delicate fruit flavors, citrus and savory autolytic characters. Subtle and finely textured.”
91 points, Rebecca Gibb MW, Vinous
“Spicy, nettle, lighter green apple, restrained, subtle flint. Really elegant and driving with finely etched and defined fruit. There is classy oak treatment here but it is well controlled. Saline finish, nice phenolics, the mid-weight fruit is persistent and measured with excellent balance throughout. A refined and modern take on chardonnay.”
94 points, Stephen Wong, The Real Review
Corofin Wrekin Vineyard Chardonnay 2021
Added
Corofin Settlement Vineyard Pinot Noir 2021
Added

Corofin Settlement Vineyard Pinot Noir 2021

Organic. The 18-year-old Settlement Vineyard is located in the Omaka Valley, to the south of Marlborough’s Wairau Plains. This organically certified site is managed by Dog Point’s gun viticulturist, Nigel Sowman. The fruit for this bottling hails from a 0.25-hectare sliver at the top of the vineyard’s east slope, a clay-rich parcel planted at a density of 4,600 vines per hectare (all 777 clone). Picked first, Settlement is typically the most red-fruited and youthfully radiant of the Corofin Pinot Noir single-vineyard bottlings, although Mike tells us he’s witnessed a significant evolution in the phenolic structure of the fruit in recent years. This year the crop yield was less than one kilogram per vine, or 25 hl/ha. The grapes were hand-picked, manually sorted and then destemmed before a snappy ferment that lasted just seven days (with very gentle pump-overs once a day). It was then pressed into seasoned French oak (two and three-year-old) barrels for 13 months before resting in tank for seven months.It’s a pure and pretty release that showcases this site’s bright and elegant personality with impressive clarity and charming appeal. Juicy and red-fruited, the palate is flecked with minerals, earth and savoury depths. It pops with all the poise and fine detail of this producer’s Pinot Noir and finishes with sustained length. It’s already raring to go, but if you choose to wait, there will be plenty more to follow.

A pure and pretty release that showcases this site’s bright and elegant personality with impressive clarity and charming appeal. Juicy and red-fruited, the palate is flecked with minerals, earth and savoury depths. It pops with all the poise and fine detail of this producer’s Pinot Noir and finishes with sustained length. It’s already raring to go, but if you choose to wait, there will be plenty more to follow.

"Cherry, strawberry, rosy perfume, with gravelly/earthy bass notes, plus some biscuit spices. It’s medium-bodied, deep and full in flavour, with a rich seam of pumice stone tannin, some blood orange and amaro tang to acidity, cherry pip and raspberry, with a stony and firm finish of excellent length. So good. At the top of the NZ Pinot tree for me. Outstanding"
95 points, Gary Walsh, The Wine Front
“Bright crimson. A pretty nose with delicate sweet and savoury fruit aromas, florals and hints of cool minerals. Bony, etched tannins which build towards the back, balanced by saline-tinged acidity. Powdery-sweet primary fruit with red currants and red berries on an elegantly structured palate with good delineation and definition. Light-bodied, mid-weight flavours of icing sugar and strawberry follow through to the finely detailed and long finish. Pretty and refined. Modern and thoughtfully constructed without being overdone, this should age gracefully by virtue of its balance.”
95 points, Stephen Wong, The Real Review
Corofin Settlement Vineyard Pinot Noir 2021
Added
Corofin Marlborough Chardonnay 2021
Added

Corofin Marlborough Chardonnay 2021

Organic. The first release of Corofin’s Marlborough ‘Villages’ Chardonnay was sourced from two sites in the Brancott Valley: the Wrekin Vineyard (70%) and the Folium Vineyard (30%). Planted by Fromm in 1996, the Folium Vineyard is an organically tended site on Southern Valley clay (around 1.5 metres deep with gravelly silt on top). The site is dry-grown, and Corofin works with just five rows, a total of 1,200 vines. The brilliant Wrekin Vineyard is a small, organically certified (Biogro) and biodynamically farmed site at the top of the Brancott Valley. In ’21, both blocks were hand-harvested on the 6th of March. At the winery, the fruit was slowly whole-bunch pressed into a tank for six hours before the juice was transferred with lots of solids to seasoned French oak puncheons and two stainless steel barrels for fermentation. The wine remained on lees in these vessels for 13 months before it was racked to tank for another four months. It saw full malo and was bottled unfiltered and unfined. What an impressive first release. Showcasing the intensity and drive of the low-yielding vintage, the nose is awash with enticing stone fruits, grilled nuts and a wisp of smoky reduction. The full-flavoured palate flows beautifully and is shot through with snappy acidity and mouth-watering phenolic grip before a potent, layered and lengthy close. It’s a great first release from Corofin in a generous style.

What an impressive first release. Showcasing the intensity and drive of the low-yielding vintage, the nose is awash with enticing stone fruits, grilled nuts and a wisp of smoky reduction. The full-flavoured palate flows beautifully and is shot through with snappy acidity and mouth-watering phenolic grip before a potent, layered and lengthy close. It’s a great first release from Corofin in a generous style.

“The first regional blend from Corofin, the 2021 Chardonnay Marlborough is a blend of three vineyards. It is a sleek, pure Chardonnay with clarity and sweet vanilla-derived oak notes around white stone and citrus fruit. Light in body yet it packs plenty of concentration and welcome generosity within its precise core.”
91 points, Rebecca Gibb MW, Vinous
“Peach, grapefruit, butterscotch pudding with vanilla custard, but really tight with intense acidity through some glossy caramel, with a little spice in tow, and a distinct brine character. No shortage of zip and flavour. Lemon/lime and peach on a lively acid etched finish, some toast and sizzled butter in the aftertaste. Good.”
92 points, Gary Walsh, The Winefront
Corofin Marlborough Chardonnay 2021
Added
Meltwater Marlborough Chenin Blanc 2022
Added

Meltwater Marlborough Chenin Blanc 2022

Organic. This is the second release of Mike Paterson’s small batch, single-vineyard Chenin Blanc. Alongside Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, the Brancott Valley’s Wrekin Vineyard is also home to a small parcel of Chenin Blanc. Although demand for the grape is increasing throughout the region, Mike has managed to maintain his allocation from close friends and owners, Jan and Andrew Johns. To ensure the grape’s thick skins and high acidity are mellowed in Marlborough’s moderate climate, Patterson seeks ripeness, with 13° Baumé the norm. This drives the style, which is a wine of generous texture that works beautifully at the table. The handpicked fruit is whole-bunch pressed and sent with full solids to a seasoned puncheon for a wild ferment. The Meltwater Chenin is made much like the Corofin Chardonnays but taken out of oak a little earlier (in this case after seven months). This year, the wine went through full malo and finished with four grams per litre residual sugar, which contributes to the delightful mouthfeel.Expect fleshy and ripe fruits, floral brightness, spice and waxy Chenin texture before a potent finish that lingers with a twist of bitter grapefruit and salinity.

Expect fleshy and ripe fruits, floral brightness, spice and waxy Chenin texture before a potent finish that lingers with a twist of bitter grapefruit and salinity.

Meltwater Marlborough Chenin Blanc 2022
Added
Show All

“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

Country

New Zealand

Primary Region

Marlborough

People

Winemaker: Mike Paterson

Availability

National

While you're here

Welcome