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Mike Paterson from Corofin Wines Talks with Specialist Cellars

Mel Brown sits down with Mike Paterson from Corofin Wines to discuss all things wine in our “Down In The Cellar” series.  

WHO DO YOU ADMIRE MOST IN THE WORLD OF WINE AND WHY?

I would say a winemaker but I am going to have to think twice about that. There are a lot of people involved who I’ve learn from and worked with …  but in many ways it’s the people who actually market and sell our wine that I admire most.

It’s lovely as a winemaker because we can just totally focus on growing and making wine, to whatever philosophy you have and to the best of your abilities. I think what we forget is that next step, the next piece of the puzzle is actually getting it into peoples wine glasses.

So the part of the puzzle I admire most are the people who set up businesses, whether that be distributions, retail, restaurants and actually communicate and translate what we’ve done in the vineyard and in the winery, to the customer. I think there’s a lot of great wine that doesn’t see the light of the day because of that piece, and vice versa.

WHAT WINE VARIETY ARE YOU MOST EXCITED ABOUT FOR IT’S FUTURE IN NZ?  

Chardonnay! For sure. There seems to be an encouraging renaissance with it globally. Chardonnay has always been popular around the wine world but I think in our neck of the woods, we are such a young wine nation, and a lot of vines have been pulled up and replanted with different varieties. I think Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc, if we are generalising they’ve definitely taken the focus with growth in every direction.

In many ways Chardonnay has been removed and replanted with other aromatics, and now there has been a refocus! That’s not to take away from Kumeu River and Neudorf who have always focused on the variety, but now we are seeing new clones and replanting in different and better places to get the vine density right, and from a vineyard end it’s best to find where it’s suitably growing best. So for me that’s an exciting piece of what’s happening in NZ. And stylistically there are so many interpretations, so Chardonnay really excites. Other winemakers are excited too, there’s a real sense of refocus in many ways

WHAT ARE YOUR 5 FAVOURITE WINES AVAILABLE AT THE NEW ZEALAND CELLAR?

Dog Point Chardonnay – just phenomenal. The style, the precision, they absolutely nail it.

Pegasus Bay Sauvignon Semillon – love it. Just love it. Its a real beast in NZ, like the way it’s made, its not a shrinking violet and you have to know when to drink it.

Framingham Rieslings – all of them! Mr Hedley … there’s another man at the top of his game. He’s doing incredible stuff so love to have anything that he’s got his hands involved in.

Another one who started out the same time as us, whose doing exciting stuff, and is a great winemaker and is doing some interesting stuff is Mr Coles… The Hermit Ram. Love what he’s doing. Think it’s very cool to see the classic grape varieties as well. The wines are beautifully made.

And I have to say I’m a little biased here as my last choice is from Marlborough, and a guy I admire who has put his foot on the gas is Ben from Zephyr wines. Ben & Jack are putting something together behind the scenes.

YOU ARE DRINKING YOUR FAVOURITE WINE, WHAT IS IT & WHO ARE YOU WITH? WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO AND WHATS FOR DINNER?

So I am drinking Corofin Folium Chardonnay at Takaki’s place – who owns the vineyard – if you’ve ever been to his place and have had the privilege of having him cook for you before, his teppanyaki is something to behold. Obviously I would be there with my beautiful wife Anna and we’d be listening to …. Woolshed sessions ‘Tiny Ruins’.

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