Friday, June 23, 2017

Oliver Winery Camelot Mead

20170622_213354Most of the reviews here focus on the “fruit of the vine.” For a change of pace, here’s our experience with an ancient beverage that is “fruit of the hive.”

Nothing New Under The Sun

Mrs. Alba, my sixth grade teacher at Roosevelt Elementary school, was right. Her favorite saying was, “There’s nothing new under the sun.” If there was a news item capturing the nation’s attention, sorry. The Egyptians were dealing with it thousands of years ago. New inventions were simply variations of what the Greeks or Aztecs were tinkering around with during their epochs.

She’d be proud to know that mead, a trendy “new” beverage has actually been around since Biblical times. Mead, a wine made from fermented honey, was the world’s most popular beverage throughout most of recorded history. It was enjoyed by Aristotle and Pliny the Elder – but nearly died out after the Middle Ages. Honey wine remains the most popular alcoholic beverage in Ethiopia, one of the planet’s oldest cultures.

Today It is the fastest growing segment of the American alcoholic beverage industry. In 2003 there were 30 mead producers in the US. Now there are more than 300.

Not Just For Hobbits Anymore

Mead has enjoyed a resurgence and growing mainstream popularity. Ohio has at least three meaderies and they can also be spotted in the popular Finger Lakes wine region.

To our west, Oliver Winery of Indiana, has been producing mead for 40 years. We recently uncorked their Camelot Mead. We expected a thick ice-wine-like dessert wine, but were pleased to discover a medium-light body.

The aroma is a bit of a surprise. Whenever a stick my nose in a glass of white wine, I expect aromas of fruit, perhaps vanilla or toast. Camelot Meade delivers – what else – the bouquet of a dollop of honey.

Camelot is made with source-specific orange blossom honey. On the palate it is crisper than expected and offers citrus flavors with delightful honeycomb taste from start to finish. It certainly has a splash of sweetness – but this is not a syrupy or sugary drink.

I was tasting it after a tennis match that was cut short by a rainstorm. We had it well chilled and is was nicely refreshing.

Camelot Mead by Oliver Winery retails for $10 and is available in 18 different states including Ohio and Michigan. It will be easy to spot on the shelves with its whimsical label featuring Jeremiah the Frog. Sounds like a pretty sweet deal!

Full disclosure: We received this wine as a marketing sample.

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