NOVUM PINOT NOIR 2016
t’s a beautiful bottle to look at, but we’ve been fooled by a trendy wax capsule and some smart calligraphy before, so we weren’t going to be influenced by the packaging, yet it only took one swirl and a satisfied inhalation of glorious Pinot Noir aromas to know that we had stumbled upon something special. It’s a deeper hue than you might expect from Marlborough, still translucent through the glass, but with a healthy dark cherry sheen to the colour. The aromas are opulent, flamboyant even, like molten jewels laced with sweet blackcurrants and Chinese five spice. On the palate it has texture and depth, a beautiful inner perfume and the impression of a rich core of brambly, thorny fruit waiting to unfurl. It’s still young and is only stuttering towards the sort of eloquence you can expect in 2 or 3 years’ time, but there’s enough pleasure on offer now if impatience intervenes. The temptation is to compare any New World Pinot Noir to Burgundy, but this is so proudly and distinctly a New Zealand Pinot Noir that it makes more sense to compare it to its peers and I think it shows some of the silky, rich intensity of Felton Road’s ‘Block 5’ and the glamour of Prophet Rock’s ‘Retrospect’ Pinot Noir, both from Central Otago, which is where I would put the Novum if given it blind. Try it with crispy duck in tamarind sauce or dragon roll sushi or roast pork with prune and chestnut stuffing, because it can handle bold flavours. All of the fruit was destemmed, it underwent a wild ferment and was aged in 30% new oak. 13% alcohol. Drink 2019-2028.