Taking a moment during a wet afternoon in our home of Penticton, I am reminded of a recent road trip to Vancouver Island. The days were warm and the evenings cool and damp; A different climate than our dry desert valley. In this southern island hamlet, you can feel the ocean’s briny breath….. There is a different focus for wine in the lower mainland and the gulf Islands, given the more tropical nature of its weather patterns. Early ripening hybrids and vinifera thrive in this coastal region, producing light, crisp, aromatic and fruit driven wines that are truly cool climate.
Not being as familiar with this area and it’s smaller boutique wineries, I was very excited to find out a winery specializing in honey meads was in the neighborhood of our hosts’ hometown of Sooke! Tugwell Creek, which runs past our friend’s home, comes out near the meadery that bears its name. An art as ancient as grape wines, mead combines honey, spices and sometimes berries to create wines that are rustic, complex and intriguing. Romans believed mead had properties to strengthen, heal and lengthen life.
Tugwell Creek Harvest Melomel ’08.
Besides a blackcurrant as well as a sparkling dessert wine, we tasted a seasonal mead that is infused with logan, goose and marionberies, all grown on the farm. The colour was a rich amber hue, reminiscent of a well extracted pinot gris. On the nose, strawberry fruit seems stewed with the marriage of honey. Almonds, nutmeg and orange rind, this wine has a very complex and mysterious aroma. A creamy palate of the same stewed fruit and spices remind me of autumn and winter delicacies such as pumpkin pie, christmas cake and candied fruits. Finishing off dry, this wine may very well be an excellent alternative for fish or fowl…. Think turkey dinner.
If you are interested in the meads from Tugwell Creek and where to find them, visit them on the web at www.tugwellcreekfarm.com