The 15 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 slither at the top of the vineyard's east slope, a clay-rich parcel planted to a density of 4,600 vines per hectare.
Picked first, Settlement is typically the most red-fruited and youthfully radiant of the Corofin trio although this '17 also has plenty of stuffing. Cropped at close to 1kg per vine, it's already super impressive. Expect a fine yet firm, racy Pinot loaded with waves of Grenadine, bright plum and anise notes, as well as plenty of fine, powdery tannins on the brambly close. Great intensity, length and character for the money.
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.
JOE CZERWINSKI - WINE ADVOCATE
Sourced from 13-year-old vines in the Omaka Valley, the 2017 Settlement Vineyard East Slope Pinot Noir offers complex aromas of rose hips, dried flowers and ripe cherries. It's medium-bodied and silky in texture but not as forward as expected, instead finishing dry and savory. It should drink well for at least 3-4 years.