I received a couple sample bottles mead from Bee D’Vine: Brut and Demi Sec. I thought the former was going to be sparkling (which really intrigued me) but the Brut designation here just means dry.
What surprised me about the Brut was how subtle and elegant it was This was no Winnie-the-Pooh-esque honey pot of a mead. It would be a lovely aperitif and I’d be very curious to see what a creative bartender could do with it. Food-wise, I’d treat it like a fino sherry: think almonds, cured ham.
The Demi Sec has some sweetness–but is not cloying–and packs more of the sultry aroma and texture of honey. Stronger or hard cheeses would be a great match.
Winemaker-cum-meadmaker Wayne Donaldson gives some background as to why lover’s of the fermented grape like myself might find Bee D’Vine appealing. From their website:
“When [Bee D’Vine Founder] Ayele Solomon approached me in 2010 about making honey wine, I became interested because, while honey wine had a long history of production, there were none that I knew of that had broad appeal to grape wine enthusiasts.
“So our goal was to reintroduce mead as smooth honey wine that would not only appeal to people who already enjoy t’ej, the traditional Ethiopian honey wine, or regular mead, but also to people who appreciate grape wine. Thus we set out to make a wine with the floral and fragrant qualities of honey while also possessing the balance and complexity of grape wine. Bee d’Vine is the result of years of winery trials employing the latest fermentation science and using fresh, raw, local honey and pure spring water.”
Read “The Economic Power of Honey“. Solomon, a native Ethiopian, hopes to make mead production a vehicle for economic and environmental change in Ethiopia’s Kafa forest.
Image from Bee D’Vine’s Facebook page.