Small is best for Novum

Novum is the brainchild of Will and Rachel Hoare (pictured) (Photo: Novum Wines)

Novum is a hot new wine brand from Marlborough. You are forgiven if you haven’t heard of Novum, they’ve only released two wines from the 2016 vintage with a third due for release shortly. I awarded a score of 94-points to their 2016 Novum Pinot Noir and gave the 2016 Novum Syrah 95-points. That’s an impressive tally for a first effort. Both wines are competitively priced at just NZD $40 each.

Novum deserves to be on every wine lover’s radar.Novum is the brainchild of Will and Rachel Hoare. Will started as a cellar hand and left as General Manager of Fromm after 19 years. Will’s family were among Marlborough’s very first contract grape growers and still own around 40-hectares of vineyards on land purchased in 1977/78. They are Cloudy Bay’s oldest grower.

Novum has a simple philosophy. They buy small parcels of grapes from established vineyards in special sites to make the very best wine they can. Will’s experience and wide network of grower contacts in Marlborough puts him in a unique position to make his dream a reality.

“Most producers think in terms of vineyards. We think in terms of small parcels within vineyards. Soil types and even aspect can vary considerably even in a seemingly homogenous vineyard. There are always ‘sweet spots’ that consistently produce better grapes than all the rest. That’s what we’re after.”

Why would a grape grower allow Novum to skim off the cream?

“Growers always know what part of their vineyard produces the best results. They are excited by the prospect of making a small batch of very special wine, which will hopefully become a source of great pride.”

Will and Rachel considered making their wine in their own shed, but instead have a space in a brand-new winery just two minutes away from the family vineyard.

“It’s like having our own winery without investing heavily in land, buildings and equipment.”

“We keep costs down by having few overheads and doing everything ourselves. We want to make around 2000 cases a year, although rigorous selection this year will probably result in about half that volume.”

“I would like Novum to be a modern version of Dry River in its early years. I’d like to sell around 40% of our wine locally and the rest at export. We did a pre-release offer at Christmas and sales are still ticking along from that. We will probably deal direct with retailers and restaurants both locally and at export.”

“Coming soon” is Novum 2016 Chardonnay made from grapes grown on Mendoza clone chardonnay vines that were planted in the early eighties.

Novum deserves to be on every wine lover’s radar.

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