Interesting Marlborough: new releases from Corofin

chardonnay new zealand pinot noir

Interesting Marlborough: new releases from Corofin

This was a chance to taste through the 2016s from Mike Paterson’s impressive Corofin project (which I reviewed a while back). 2016 was a pretty good vintage, but the following two weren’t. 2017 was a tricky vintage in the region, but Sauvignon suffered the most and Mike’s sites did quite well, and the Pinot is really good, he says. 2018 was more of a challenge: it was a humid summer and there was 200 mm rain at the end of February. ‘The Pinot was close to ripe,’ he says, ‘so we were struggling. There were a lot of mealy bugs around, and a lot of the stuff on the sorting table wasn’t good.’ He discarded 40% of what he brought in.

The 2016s are looking very good indeed. Mike’s model is to make Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from privileged sites in Marlborough, many of which are shared with others. It’s a great model, and it’s important as it helps establish which really are the best spots in the region for these grapes: more than one interpretation of a site does this better than a single producer. ‘If there can be half a dozen people making wine from these sites, the more the better,’ says Mike.

Corofin Folium Chardonnay 2016 Marlborough, New Zealand
Complex, mealy and spicy with real texture. Has a supple, fresh personality with some lemony detail. Finishes taut and finely spiced. 94/100

Corofin Carter Ashmore North Corner Chardonnay 2016 Marlborough, New Zealand
Fresh and linear with lovely citrus and pineapple, as well as bright citrus fruit and some lovely minerality. Detailed and precise, this is potentially very long lived. Pristine. 95/100

Corofin Settlement Vineyard Pinot Noir 2016 Marlborough, New Zealand
This is an organic vineyard in Omaka planted at 4500 vines/hectare, 15 years old, 47% whole cluster. There are no punchdowns here: everything is sealed for six days, with whole cluster fruit at the bottom and destemmed fruit on top. Then the lid is taken off, there’s some foot treading, and the rest of the fermentation rips through in three days. Supple and bright with lovely fine spiciness and a bit of grip. Has some fine herby notes with nice raspberry and red cherry fruit, with taut structure. Finishes grippy with good purity. 94/100

Corofin Cowley Family Vineyard Main Slopes Pinot Noir 2016 Marlborough, New Zealand
22 year old vines planted at 3200 vines/hectare. 40% whole bunch. Supple with lovely red fruits, very fine grained structure and nice brightness. Raspberry fruit with some sappy notes. Forward, with a bit of flesh, and very fine. 95/100

Corofin Churton Vineyard Pinot Noir 2016 Marlborough, New Zealand
Supple, bright and fresh with lovely juiciness. Very fine and expressive with redcurrant and sweet red cherries, a hint of sappiness and some juicy detail. Nice precision. 94/100

Find these wines with


Part 1, Te Whare Ra
Part 2,  Mahi
Part 3, Fromm
Part 4, Saint Clair Pioneer Block wines
Part 5, Spy Valley
Part 6, Two Rivers
Part 7, Zephyr
Part 8, Framingham
Part 9, Clos Henri
Part 10, Brancott, Stoneleigh and Deutz
Part 11, Meeting the Vandals
Part 12, The Growers’ Story (video)
Part 13, Novum
Part 14, Folium
Part 15, Villa Maria
Part 16, Corofin
Part 17, Hans Herzog
Part 18, Te Pa
Part 19, Giesen’s single vineyard wines

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