The Carter Ashmore Vineyard, in Marlborough's Fairhall sub-region, is situated on an ancient riverbed where the soils are a mixture of layered silt and alluvial gravels deposited over the aeons. This site is farmed organically by Dog Point's viticulturalists, and is planted to the Mendoza clone of Chardonnay. The vineyard team has worked hard on introducing strong biological competition, and a canopy management regimen that encourages the vines to channel all their energy into the fruit (vis-à-vis the vegetation). The overall approach has given Corofin the ability to harvest fruit that is fully flavour ripe at lower sugar levels.
This is stunning Chardonnay. It strikes a fine balance between generosity, with layers of ripe, Golden Delicious, nectarine fruit and gently nutty lees characters and both purity and freshness. There is intense, punchy acidity to balance the fruit and a long saline, complex close. Simply a beautiful wine.
Established in 2011, Corofin is the new home for ex-Jackson Estate winesmith Mike Paterson and his partner Anna, until recently GM at TerraVin. At this early juncture, while Mike is contracted to another project and Anna busy raising the couple’s two young daughters, Corofin craft two (soon to be three) single-vineyard Pinot Noirs, each in tiny 100-150-case lots. You can read about two of these “pretty special Marlborough sites” below (the third being the Weavers’ ‘Waihopi Slopes’ at Churton). Not too far down the line we’ll see a little Chardonnay as well. For the time being the wines are made out of temporary digs at Fromm. 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’. Not by accident do these growers focus on organic and/or biodynamic principles. In addition, Paterson’s artisanal approach in the winery does the necessary justice to each site; hand-harvesting and sorting, whole berry/cluster ferments, fermentation with indigenous yeast, no fining nor filtration and zero new wood, with the wines raised in 2-4 year old barrels. In a region where for much of the time money talks and terroir walks, Corofin’s 2013s show that great, singular terroir is thriving in Marlborough (a cliché that has sometimes hit troubled waters in its journey across the ditch). Paterson goes one step further in demonstrating that precocious, ripe Marlborough Pinot can be made without confected fruit, nor winemaking artefact—Paterson’s are beautifully aromatic, detailed and sculpted Pinot Noir, which combine the best of all worlds: finesse, freshness, terroir transparency. We can already tell you he’s got a similar way with Chardonnay. 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 lovers can get behind. In short, we’re delighted to be working with this talented and classy young project.