View Full Version : Re: Commercial Mead

12-20-2004, 08:11 AM
Well, I used to work for Stawski who imports those great Polish meads. He's still my father-in-law, but I started my own company around 9-11-01...not a good time to start a company but what the hey.?!

To the dismay of many folks worldwide, the Milejow meadery that brought us some of our best, including Wawel, Litewski, & Koronny decided that, after producing mead for a few hundred years, that they would concentrate on selling only honey, and eliminate the meads from their product line. Too bad I say. Such a long, incredible tradition chucked for the great dollar sign in the sky.

Not only that, but the producer that got us Jadwiga, which at the time was an average age of about 25 years old, is not labelled as a six year mead. Those of you who brew mead know how long something as viscous as honey requires to ferment & to lose that cloying sweetness, and how difficult it can be to retain the sweetness once fermented. People used to get uptight when I told them it retailed for about $30.00 per bottle, and I was able to explain that that averages about a dollar twenty-five per year or so, and then told them to find a 25 year old Scotch for the same price. Well, no longer. Jadwiga is still a Poltorak mead, but has been demoted to six-year status. Therefore, I snapped up the last few bottles of 25 year from the shelves of a local retailer I knew had some. When the good stuff is gone, I guess it's gone for good.

The good news is Stawski is getting some cool new (well, literally, old) meads for the States, among them is a Poltorak and a Dwojniak that are rumored to be excellent. They are in the traditional handmade crock decanters, which will definitely add to the cost of the product, but can you blame these producers who have carried on this tradition for up to 1000 years? Perhaps they should consider putting it in a plastic bottle with a screwcap? I think not.

All the best, and Slainte! Wassail and all.

Jordan Liebman, Simple Imports LLC

Vicky Rowe
12-20-2004, 09:09 AM
There are a number of excellent commercial meads out there. Here are the ones I liked:

Redstone Meadery (CO) - Special Reserve, pricey, but the most wonderful raspberry nose and flavor - well worth the price. I got a bit of this at the MeadFest, and if I can put together the cash and figure out a way to get it to NC, I'm getting a bottle or 3.

Rabbitsfoot Meadery (CA) - their Mead of Poetry is quite good, a balanced medium-sweet mead, made naturally with no additives. The bottle I just finished had a slightly acidic finish, which was counterpointed by a great honey nose and flavor. I also like their cyser. It is dryer than I usually drink, but very well balanced, clean and crisp, a delightful drink.

White Winter Winery (WI) - Raspberry and Blueberry melomels. I've made several tipsy holiday meals while sipping this during turkey bastings....both have excellent expression of their respective fruits, and a prominent honey nose and taste. Beware, they're so good you'll be drunk on them before you realize it! They were kind enough to talk with me at length, and they provided me with my horilka recipes that is in the recipe section of the site.

Smokehouse Winery (VA) - Juniper methyglin and Honeysuckle mead. Both excellent. The Juniper is an excellent balance of juniper and honey, with noticible honey nose, a juniper bite at the beginning and a nicely balanced finish of juniper and honey. The Honeysuckle is quite simply heavenly. It is a delicate mead, with a recognizable honeysuckle smell. The honeysuckle doesn't come out as strongly in the taste due to its fragility, but the honey brings it out well, without overwhelming you with flowers. Unfortunately, they only make this in the spring when the flowers are in bloom, and it sells out quickly. I've only ever had it once. If I get the chance, I'll buy a case of it. If you can, attend their weekend mead and music fests. They give a good show, and the scenery in the foothills of the Smokeys is wonderful.

Pirtle Winery (MO) - they tend to be dryer than I generally drink. However, their sweet mead is medium sweet, well balanced, and very little by way of off flavors. I shared a companionable drink or four of this with Ross and Scott Pirtle at the MeadFest. I'm hoping to get some more soon.

Mountain Meadows Spiced Nectar (CA) - this is a holiday spice methyglin. Well balanced, with noticible honey combining with the subtle but firm mix of cinnamon, ginger and allspice. This mead was *way* to easy to drink. I got 2 bottles and one is gone. The other is getting stashed. I hung around their booth at the MeadFest cadging this stuff for a while. Peggy sent a couple bottles with me for 'testing' purposes....

Moniak Meadery (Scotland) - Moniak produces several meads, from a dry to a super sweet. All are excellent, well balanced with little or no off flavors. But my all time favorite of theirs is their Eagle Mead Spirits, which is a distilled mead. It *phenomenal*. If anyone can get it, *please* let me know, I'll give you money to buy some for me. I've had a bit set aside for more of this since my trip to the UK 2 years ago, just waiting another chance to get some. If you can, tour their meadery, which is housed in the ancestral home of The Auld Fox, Fraser of Clan Fraser, just over the hill from Loch Ness.

I'll dig into my notes and bottles, and see if I can produce some others, but these are the ones that float most readily to mind (in my cold-drug induced state).

Vicky - drinking apple tonic at the moment