Monday, October 10, 2005

Mead Has Come to Long Island!



As always, the wine industry, especially on the east coast in general, draws its heroes from all walks of life, and each story is something unique unto itself. This is the story of a long-time home winemaker who finally realized his dream, and became the hero of his own life, as well as a model for all of us who marvel at the brave ones who take a giant step forward, no matter the number of cases they produce.

In a small town, in Holbrook, New York, located in central Long Island, is a new winery, nee’, a meadery, called The Long Island Meadery. Long the dream of 20-year Long Island Railroad veteran Paul Holm, the meadery offers a number of wines of varying types, from dry to semi-sweet.

For those not in the know, beer and meade (and later wine from grapes) are some of the oldest beverages in the annals of human history, and came not long after milk and water. Mead, of course, is an alcoholic beverage made from honey, using wine yeasts. Meade (or meade as it is sometimes spelled) is sometimes also called honeywine. For some folks, mead is too over powering, and generally doesn’t have the roundness of most fruit wines. It is generally an acquired taste, but those who like mead, usually become fanatics.

Holm has focused on dry and semi-sweet wines only. Nothing sick and syrupy sweet here. The wines are meant to go with salads, fish, and light meats, or just for sipping. He has also mixed his mead with some fruits, to add more complex flavors to his overall line. The results are something wonderful.

The Peach-Apricot Mead is a white dry wine. The apricot comes through on the nose and slightly on the palate, but with nice acidity. The Strawberry Mead is a nose full of fresh cut strawberries, with a nice dry finish. Very nice. Both finish very dry. Strawberry-Raspberry is a slightly darker dry wine. The raspberry adds a much more robust flavor to the wine. It is rounder and deeper than the single strawberry mead. The Raspberry Mead is a big nose full of raspberries. It’s full flavored, and semi-sweet, and very nice.

However, my absolute favorite was the Apple Cyser Mead. When you stick your nose in the glass, it smells like a wonderful baked apple. It’s semi-sweet, with wonderful acidity, and great full flavor. It’s nicely balanced, and not too sweet. It is an excellent sipping wine, or great for cheese or with a slice of fresh apple pie with a slice of melted cheese. The other thing is that you could easily warm a bottle of this wine up on the stove with some mulling spices, and sip away a wonderful fall afternoon. What a great surprise. One of my favorite mead’s on the east coast!

This is almost a one-man band, and one of the smaller wineries on the east coast, but as Shakespeare says, “though he be but small, he is fierce.” This is one of the better meads I have had the pleasure to taste. I recommend that on your next trip out to the North Fork, you should stop in and do a tasting.

They are located at 1347 Lincoln Avenue, Suite 11, in Holbrook, New York. Their phone number is (631) 285-7469. You can find out more about them at www.LIMeadery.com. Enjoy!