Several years ago we were introduced to Mead. We were told it was a French wine so we were a little apprehensive. We're not big fans of French wine. So the bottle was put up and almost forgotten until one day when I rediscovered it. I decided "What the heck"
|and chilled it. Upon opening the bottle we read the
label and discovered it was made right in the good old USA in Soquel,
California in a winery that has operated for decades. The label also
explained Mead is a sweet concoction that can either be served as a
dessert, a hot mulled drink or used as a marinade for fruit or fowl. We
chose to have it chilled, as a dessert and loved it.
Since our first encounter with Mead we have been on the look-out for it when ever we visit a winery. When we visited South Dakota recently we discovered three new ones at the Prarieberry Winery outside of Hill City, South Dakota. They have been in the wine making business since 1876 and it has always been family operated. We figured with several generations of winemakers they have to know what they are doing. So we decided to try the tasting room. They produce three "honey wines" or meads. Since I like sweet wine I tried the Raspberry Honeywine which is classified as a sweet wine and found it quite enjoyable. They also have a Wild Plum Honeywine which is dry and a Strawberry Honeywine which is a semi-dry. I didn't try those.
Although the Raspberry Honeywine was very good, we still prefer the Mead from the California winery. The Raspberry Honeywine was thinner but still had a beautifully fragrant bouquet and fruity aftertaste. The California Mead was indeed golden in color, thicker and much sweeter. You could actually taste the honey.
Upon returning home I have done a little more homework on Mead and would like to share it. Here is what I've learned:
Mead Wine Information
Mead is a honey wine, with origins obscured in the mists of time. It's considered by many to be the first alcoholic beverage created, predating both grape wine and beer. It was mentioned in Beowulf and known to the Greeks and Romans. The Romans knew mead as 'ambrosia' and felt it was sent to them by the gods. Romans would also add honey directly into still wine, as a sweetener, to create sort of a mulled wine drink.
Mead is perhaps best known as the drink of the Celts and Vikings. Norse warriors would expect to find women with mead in the afterlife of Valhalla. For all of these reasons, mead is beloved by reenactors everywhere as an authentic drink of the medieval times.
In fact, mead is at the root of the term "honeymoon"! When a couple was married, they would traditionally drink mead for the month after the wedding. This was supposed to help produce a baby boy.
There are various styles of mead:
* Cyser: Mead with apples or grape juice added
* Hippocras: Mead with grape juice and spices
* Metheglin: Mead with cloves, cinnamon, or other spices
* Melomel: Mead with fruit juices and perhaps spices
* Pyment: Mead with grape juice added
* Sack: Extra-honey meads (note this term also applies to Sherry *
Traditional: simply honey, water, and yeast
Mead is generally a light, fruity drink, light yellow in color. It should be drunk very soon after purchase. Mead goes wonderfully with salmon, chicken and turkey. It also tends to do well as a Mulled wine or marinade, as well as a dessert wine.