About Honey Wines
How to Drink and Store
Our honey wines are quite different than the usual. Whereas most mead makers will aim for high alcohol and an overall “sweet” character, we opt for the “floral, dry and drinkable” end of the spectrum with alcohol contents in the range of the typical white-red spectrum. Historically, this is an accurate representation of many honey wines made throughout human history, though they tend to be overlooked as the principle representation of what meads are supposed to be. We see this as a major reason why meads are not as accepted as wines, per se, rather as novelty beverages. By pushing the spectrum toward the dry end, and using carefully selected honeys and yeasts, many amazing aromatic characteristics can be brought out that would be otherwise swallowed up by too much honey or alcohol. We consider ourselves unique in tailoring our wines toward making more out of these finer components of the wine drinking experience.
Due to the characteristics of our meads, they are best enjoyed at room or cellar temperature. This allows the full experience of the aromas prevalent in our wine blends. Though they can be chilled, or mixed into cocktails, some blends (the Cyser in particular) can become cloudy due to the nature of the wine (in this case, pectins in the fermented cider). This does not affect the wine’s flavors, but does affect the appearance.
Storage of Honey wines is easy — keep them at room or cellar temperature, and out of sunlight. Some of our blends, the ones that age the best, are packaged in dark green bottles to minimize degradation of the wine due to light. Once a bottle is opened, you need be in no hurry to drink it (we consider this a huge bonus), as honey wines tend to oxidize extremely slowly. Often I will take a 2 week old, half-full bottle of wine on tastings to demonstrate this. I once (intentionally) left a glass open to air and light for two weeks, and it was still drinkable–try that with your favorite red!
For the uninitiated, there are several special “classes” of honey wine, and we at Bee & Bramble like them all! Here is a basic description of the different classes, and our offerings
Mead: The simplest of formulas, this honey wine is limited to honey, water, yeast and associated nutrients. Our Traditional (Dry Mead) falls in this category.
Melomel: A blend fermented from honey and fruit; we make three blends: a blackberry, blueberry-ginger, and elderberry.
Metheglin: Honey wine with spices. Our metheglins use a variety of spices to subtly affect the aroma, taste, and finish. Flower Power and Head Mazer’s are examples of this class of honey wine.
Cyser: A sub-class of melomel, this blend is fermented from honey and apple cider.
Other terms that may be unfamiliar, and good to add to the enthusiast’s lexicon:
Mazer: A mead-maker, or, alternatively a vessel used to imbibe honey wines.
Wassail!: The mead-drinkers version of “cheers!”