Sommelier Jordan Nova - Biography

October 2012

Jordan Nova is a poster boy for young ambition, and a testament to Hawaii’s drive to become a food and wine destination. He’s a competitive runner and saxophone player, but wine is his true love. Born in Madrid, Spain, and raised in Texas, Nova worked as a sommelier at Roy’s in Austin during college (he was getting a degree in music education at the time). His passion for wine might have seemed a strange for a young college kid in Texas—Nova at one point skipping the Rose Bowl to work a wine dinner—but for him it’s always been about keeping his eye on the prize: being one of the youngest sommeliers to receive advanced certification.

Nova dropped out of college and took the certified sommelier exam. He then staged at some of the best restaurants in New York City, including The Modern, Eleven Madison Park, and Bar Boulud. But the young sommelier realized that grinding it out at seven days a week wasn’t the path to wine knowledge he wanted to follow, so he set sail for Hawaii, where he took a job as sommelier at the famed Chef Mavro.

Nova’s approach to wine veers from the tried and true: he loves Champagne but finds Pinot Noir tired and banal. While at Chef Mavro Nova poured a lot of older wines, focusing half of its cellar on wines older than ten years—a difficult task, given the prohibitive cost or lack of availability in bringing certain wines to the islands. In late 2012 he left the august French-Hawaiian restaurant.