Monday, September 10, 2012

Caledonia Winery Honey-Elderberry Wine, Vermont

As they used to say on the Monty Python television show, “And now for something completely different…”

Our palates have changed quite a bit since we started truly enjoying wine with some of the sweeter German wines. Our tastes these days tend to dry reds and whites with minerality and a liberal dose of acidity.

The pendulum may have started to swing back the other way, because we have learned to savor ice wine, albeit in small sips and in the right state of mind. When our niece Carey sent us this bottle of Honey-Elderberry wine, we knew there was a job to do in the name of wine journalism.

When we have seen a meadery in the past, we have been known to make a U-turn to head in the other direction. But we found just the right occasion to try this honey-based wine from Caledonia. We were invited to dinner with our neighbors who enjoy sweet wines with the same passion we enjoy the dry.

As some nice steaks came off the grill, we sipped the Honey-Elderberry wine. My first major surprise was that this wine wasn’t cloyingly sweet. In fact, it could even be classified as off-dry. The next surprise was that this was a pretty enjoyable wine.

Frequently you’ll find a pricey Cab or Syrah that claim hints of elderberry. We’ll this was actually the fruit of elderberry and it was quite good.

Caledonia Spirits and Winery is located in Hardwick, Vermont (just off Log Yard Drive). Todd Hardie has been keeping bees since 1965 and in 2006 began experimenting with small lots of mead (honey wine). The winery makes their mead in 500-liter lots with raw honey that is never heated. It is allowed to age at least one year before bottling.

Three-quarters of a pound of elderberries are used in each bottle. Elderberries support the immune system, so you could say it is really “medicine,” but with a much better taste. The wine is fermented dry, aged in stainless steel for a year, and has a small touch of honey added just before bottling for roundness. The alcohol level is 12%.

In addition to the Honey-Elderberry mead, they make Honey-Black Currant and Honey-Blueberry wines and an Elderberry cordial. This is the first wine we’ve tasted from Vermont, and it is an enjoyable sipper.
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1 comment:

carey said...

Glad you guys enjoyed it, Uncle Dave! The Elderberry is my favorite out of the three, due to the fact that it is a little dry. (The other two are great as well, but definitely sweeter.) And there's the supposed health benefits of elderberries as an added bonus!