Everyone has their hangups. Professionally, it goes without saying that I assess every wine that crosses my lips without prejudice. Well, at least I try. Privately, it’s a different matter. I’ve never been fully comfortable with New World wines, often struggling to find bottles that match the perceived classicism or elegance of European favourites.
Yes, I know this is a ridiculous blanket statement – to lump together six or more major wine producing countries, numerous regions, microclimates and winemaking styles, then to tar them all with the same brush. Especially ridiculous when presented with one of the most delicious bottles I’ve happened across this year. Or any year.
The Supernatural Wine Co’s Green Glow 2015 is a superb skin fermented Sauvignon Blanc, reminding me a little of the wines of Sepp Muster or Andreas Tscheppe. It’s all the more satisfying having seen the progression in quality and confidence at the estate, from a gawky 2013, and the decent but less extraordinary 2014. But now, with this third vintage of Green Glow the boys really seem to have cracked it.
Millar Road (rather fancy looking self-catering accomodation) and Supernatural are the projects of globe trotting Gregory Collinge, a man who appears to visit more countries in a month than I do in a year. Based in Hawkes Bay, the the Collinge family planted vineyards between 2002-2004, initially selling the grapes. In 2009, Greg decided the potential was sufficiently high to be worth starting a winery, and the Supernatural Wine Co. was born. Production is organically certified, with biodynamic certification on the way.
Winemaker Hayden Penny is on hand at the estate, whilst Greg orbits the planet to fulfill promotional duties. 2015 was Penny’s first vintage at Supernatural, I tip my hat to him.
Green Glow 2015 was wild fermented on the skins for roughly 3 weeks, before an extended stay on the lees, and bottling without filtration or fining. It’s upfront but beautiful, and so damn ripe on the nose. The aromas span mango, papaya, dried apricot, citrus fruit and toffee-apple. I could go on. In the mouth, it’s the texture that grabs the attention – velvety, smooth and caressing with just a tiny prickle of tannins. It could easily be too big, too boisterous, over ripe. All the things I love to hate about “The New World”. But there’s a seam of lemony acids and a lick of minerals that reins everything in. And then the finish – so long, so silken, so fine.
I knocked back two glasses while writing this, pretending I was tasting it. But the truth is I’m outright drinking, and it seems to get better and more complex with every greedy slurp.
And… the label glows in the dark. You can’t say that about Puligny Montrachet now can you?