2016 Chardonnay, Marlborough
2016 Pinot Noir, Marlborough
2016 Syrah, Marlborough

Novum is the new venture from William Hoare (who sold his interest in Marlborough Fromm Vineyard last year), and his wife, Rachel Jackson-Hoare. Hoare has an ebullient, witty personality which belies a very serious love of wine. A very impressive set of wines. Sourced from Will’s parents’ vineyard, the 2016 Novum Wines Chardonnay ($40.00) is 100% wild ferment Mendoza fruit. Lovely, expressive nose with fruit sitting firmly in the citrus spectrum but with some delicate white peach, lemon curd and white flowers too. There is a touch of gunflinty reduction which gives a smoky edge but this doesn’t overpower, instead adding interest. Some new oak adds a lovely digestive biscuit, sizzled butter note. The palate is at once both taut and focussed (more of the citrus notes) but also has a touch of fleshiness and weight that gives rather a come hither quality, a fresh line of acid tying it all together. The 2016 Novum Wines Pinot Noir ($40.00) is sourced from four parcels in the Southern Valleys. Bucking the whole bunch trend, this is 100% destemmed, though not showing any lack of aromatics, structure or finesse for this choice. Plenty of pure red fruits, especially strawberry, on the nose and a lovely savoury, textural palate. Nice lick of spice on the finish, rich and ripe but balanced and pleasingly dry on the finish. From a mass section vineyard in the Brancott Valley, with 4% viognier and just 12.5% alcohol, the 2016 Novum Wines Syrah ($40.00) is a vibrant, expressively varietal wine with violets, crushed red berry fruit, damson plum and peppery spice. Silky texture, touch of fine oak, it’s deliciously fresh and offers great drinking now, though should look even better in a couple more years. With the current tiny production, this wine is already sold out so that’s probably a moot point now alas.