Montaluce's Wildflower Mead
Mention mead, the ancient honey wine, and certain questions often follow: Is it overly sweet? Is it thick as syrup? To try this Renaissance festival favorite, must I wear a saucy wench costume? With Montaluce’s Wildflower Mead, the answer to all three is no (but wear the bustier if you want). The Dahlonega winery released its first batch, about 2,000 bottles, this spring.
The taste? Imagine a cross between Prosecco and honey soda: bubbly, semisweet, absolutely refreshing. It’s the happy result of a networking-party encounter between Mike Lorey—home brewer and cofounder of Crop Mob Atlanta, which organizes farm volunteers—and Montaluce owners Brent and Rob Beecham. Lorey brought samples. The brothers liked what they tasted.
Lorey collaborated with winemaker Maria Peterson last November. The process charmed her: Dilute honey with water; add yeast. “This lovely wildflower honey [two fifty-five-gallon drums from Blue Ridge Honey Company] arrived at the winery. You didn’t have to plant grapes; you don’t have to tend the vines,” she marvels. The mead, which Peterson says complements dessert but also sushi, sells at Montaluce for $22 a bottle. Check the vineyard’s website for online sales and distribution updates.
Meanwhile, Lorey continues to experiment with flavors such as strawberry lavender, blackberry ginger, and wild elderberry. “That’s where I see this going: Combine harvests from people around the state and then turn it into a batch of mead,” he says. “Get that local flavor and support the small guys.” montaluce.com
Photograph by Caroline Kilgore
Deborah Geering is one of our contributing writers.
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