Millar Road in Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand was established by the Collinge family – Ginny and Jeremy and son Gregory – in December 2004. It’s an estate that offers both stylish accommodations (and a lovely venue for weddings) as well as their own brand of wines. They started producing their first wine,’The Supernatural’ in 2009, from vineyards they planted on the property. The Supernatural Wine Co. now produces certified organic, low intervention white and skin-fermented white wines with interesting label designs that are distributed throughout the world.
Millar Road’s Supernatural Wine Company
When it comes to The Supernatural Wine Company‘s branding and design, they state that “The way our wines look is as important to us as the way they are made and the way they taste.”
Wanting to be different in all aspects, they derived their inspiration more from beer branding than wine branding. They liked the way beer brands had managed to own their product and their bottles more than traditional wine companies had and wanted to create something simple that reflected the simple and natural approach to their winemaking.
InHouse Design developed branding for them that plays nicely on the double meaning of the word Supernatural.
“When we introduced our skin-fermented wines ‘Green Glow’ and ‘Spook Light’ in 2013, we wanted to keep the supernatural theme going. These labels were developed in tandem as a pair of sophisticated older siblings to ‘The Supernatural’. Green is the colour of the Sauvignon Blanc grape and the ‘glow’ represents the deeper colour obtained from the skin fermentation. The images on the label are deep sea creatures that glow green at the bottom of the sea. The ‘spook light’ is an unexplained orange light phenomenon that has been observed in the Ozark region of south-western Missouri and north-eastern Oklahoma. The bats and moths on the label represent the creatures finding the light.”
The Supernatural is a very atypical New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. Smoky and spicy notes are characteristic of our site, along with richness and texture we encourage with skin and lees contact.
The 2014 The Supernatural has a beautiful, ripe Sauvignon Blanc nose of pink grapefruit, guava, ginger, honey drizzled pears and orange blossom. The palate delivers a lovely satiny texture and tons of citrus and ginger laced flavors with a lively acid backbone and very long finish.
91/100 – Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate (2014 vintage)
Lisa Perrotti-Brown, The Wine Advocate / eRobertParker.com #223, March 2016, 91 points
2017 Super-Nat Sparkling Wine
100% Sauvignon Blanc bottle-fermented in the ‘pétillant naturel’ style, farmed organically, estate grown and vinified by winemaker and viticulturist Hayden Penny. The vineyard and wine are certified organic with www.biogro.co.nz effective from March 2015. The block has an excellent history of organic farming since first plantings in 1989.
Green Glow is 100% skin-fermented Sauvignon Blanc.
Green Glow 2013 was New Zealand’s first skin-fermented Sauvignon Blanc and the style provides a really interesting and friendly wine. Oh, and the label glows in the dark.
Well, this is a bit different. Bottled under a beer bottle-style crown cap, it’s low sulphur, certified organic and made with full skin contact. A relatively deep yellow/green colour and lightly nutty, lightly oxidised character showing a touch of yeastiness, with the more orthodox Sauvignon flavours coming through, punchy and tinged with tropicality on the palate, and a fine, natural, unforced freshness and acid punch to the finish. A very interesting take on Kiwi Sauvignon, but this supernatural is not too scary.
Wine Gang, August 2016, 90 points
Spook Light is 100% skin-fermented Pinot Gris.
Rose gold in colour, with alpine strawberries, cherries and plums on the nose, and a lovely background of exotic spices. Spook Light has a delightful cleansing astringency on the palate with great intensity, opulence and length. This wine is perfectly suited to matching with charcuterie and tapas.
Minus 220 is the first wine that they produced with no additions, including sulphur.
When they were asked to participate in Budburst 2016, New Zealand’s first natural wine and food fair, they were asked to produce one ‘gold standard wine as an example of the intention and goal of full natural winemaking’.
They took the opportunity to take some of our Green Glow 2016 and make a barrel (225 litres) of wine. Minus 220 is the result and it has been a fantastically successful experiment – so much so, that we will make two barrels in 2017. Minus 220 was barrel-fermented in neutral wood on its lees for six months before being sent straight to bottle. This is a completely handmade wine, with grapes hand-picked, the wine hand-stirred and manually transferred to bottle, the bottles hand-corked and hand-labelled and the natural beeswax seal (from local honey company Arataki) hand-applied.
The wine is golden yellow in colour and has fresh straw, dehydrated pineapple and spicy apricot on he nose and rich, full flavours of caramel, pineapple and citrus in the mouth. Grapefruit pith phenolics and a crisp acidity round out the finish.
Pacific Potion was produced in 2015 for exclusive use in the airline KLM’s business class cabin during October and November 2016 as part of their in flight organic wine conference (what a great idea for an airline). It was so popular that they were asked if they could provide more during the period – sadly, they couldn’t.
It is an organic Hawke’s Bay Sauvignon Blanc like The Supernatural, but made in a slightly less full-bodied way. It is still a very distinctively Hawke’s Bay Sauvignon Blanc.
The opportunity from KLM allowed them to develop this beautiful brand. The lines on the label represent Pacific Island weaving patterns and a holographic foil has been applied which gives the label a paua shell sheen as you look at it from different angles.
ABOUT SUPERNATURAL WINE CO.
Winemaker and viticulturist Hayden Penny joined Supernatural Wine Co. at the beginning of 2015. Hayden is one of a new breed of young passionate winemakers who is totally focused on organic and natural winemaking in order to truly express terroir.
Hayden has been working with Supernatural Wine Co. since 2013 and helped develop our skin-fermented wines, Green Glow and Spook Light. He is a naturally gifted vigneron with a fine palate and a love of cool climate styles and he is taking our vines and wines in a fantastic direction.
The brand’s philosophy relies on great terroir and traditional processes. They aim to make all of their wines as naturally as possible in order to produce true terroir driven wines. They use indigenous yeast gathered from our vineyard for fermentation and we add nothing to our wines other than a little sulphur before bottling. They do not fine their wines and have not filtered their skin-fermented wines from the 2015 vintage onwards. They want to focus on producing dry aromatic and skin-fermented white wines in a very clean and direct style.
The vineyard at Millar Road has proven pedigree being in proximity to and on similar soils, slope and aspect as Te Mata Coleraine, one of New Zealand’s most accoladed vineyards. Over 90% of New Zealand’s vineyards are on flat land with alluvial gravel soils, so this soil and site produces very distinctive wines in a New Zealand context.
The vineyard is an amazing site for viticulture being situated on a north-facing hillside with slopes up to 30 degrees. Soils are lime-rich clay with volcanic influence – they are classified as Matapiro sandy loam over Kidnappers Group sandstone and carbonaceous mudstone.
The Millar Road property is 19.4 hectares, with 8.9 hectares planted in vines – 8.0 hectares Sauvignon Blanc (approximately 18,000 plants) and 0.9 hectares Pinot Gris (approximately 1,800 plants). Vines were planted in 2004 and 2005.
Supernatural Wine Co. obtained full organic certification with BioGro New Zealand in March 2015 and commenced biodynamic farming practices in 2015.
The Supernatural Wine Co. purports that their wines can last several days in the fridge without sealing – in fact, they benefit over the first couple of days from air contact, as this releases many of the aromas and flavours. And yes, they do also have plans for a ‘supernatural stopper’ just to allay any lingering fears.
You can purchase some of their wines here
all images and information courtesy of Millar Road and The Supernatural Wine Co.; Label images courtesy of Voss Selections
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