Discover a new wine this week with our recommendation for something different, something surprising, something romantic!

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Honey, This is Not Your Average Mead

The Wine of the Week: Floralia Botanical Mead

by Annette Tomei

2017 Floralia Botanical Mead, Enlightenment Wines, Brooklyn, New York

Wine, by definition, is fermented fruit juice. So, maybe I’m going a bit beyond the scope of this column by including a “honey wine”. I hope you’ll agree that it is well worth a diversion to discover something new – a taste adventure.

Mead is an ancient fermented beverage in which honey is the primary sugar. Fruits, botanicals, aromatics, and herbs may also be incorporated. Though often associated with vikings and Renaissance “faires”, mead is an international beverage with its deepest roots in China and India. Mead is also one of the fastest growing beverage markets in the US. It helps that mead is generally produced from local bounty, gluten-free, natural, and seasonal.

Enlightenment Wines was founded in 2009 by mazer (mead-maker) Raphael Lyon in New York’s Hudson Valley. Production has recently expanded to include a facility in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Enlightenment Wines has a cultivated reputation for experimental, artistic adventures in flavor. Lyon’s everything-but-grapes approach to wine making delivers deliciously exotic experiences. I’ve tasted his meads made from local apples, hand-foraged dandelions, tea, cassis, and tart cherries. Styles range from sparkling to still, sweet to bone dry. All are made from local raw organic honey (though their products are not certified organic).

About this Wine

Floralia is an off-dry style mead made with juniper, lavender, and marjoram. It is intensely aromatic. The essence of fir trees combined with a warm sunny hillside along the Mediterranean. The off-dry style means there is a bit of sweetness on the palate, but not so much to detract from the overall savory flavor profile. The finish is quite dry.

Serve chilled by itself, this mead makes a wonderful aperitif or digestif. As an accompaniment to food, I recommend earthy cheeses and buttery olives, or maybe a warm Provencal bean stew. I also recommend this mead as a substitute for gin in some cocktails. The aromatic composition is similar, the alcohol content significantly lower at about 12% ABV. Or, include it IN your gin cocktails as a complementary component far superior to nearly any vermouth.

The Verdict

The aphrodisiac properties of each ingredient are only enhanced by their combination, so consider this an ideal aperitif to more than a meal! It is available online for approximately $25/375 ml bottle. It is produced in extremely small quantities, so hurry. (if not available, Enlightenment has numerous other delicious options)

If you happen to be in Brooklyn, visit Honey’s in Bushwick for a variety of items on tap and cocktails made with mead and more.


My new mission… to taste things I’ve never tasted before – either because I’m a snob, I can’t afford it, or it’s just a little too weird. I’ll let you know what I thought, and then you can decide for yourself if you will make the splurge, or take the leap into the strange but potentially delicious unknown!


Just When You Thought You Knew French Wine

The Wine of the Week: Bugey-Cerdon La Cueille Sparkling Rosé

by Annette Tomei

NV Patrick Bottex Bugey-Cerdon “La Cueille”, Savoie, FranceNV Patrick Bottex, Bugey-Cerdon--and you thought you knew French wine

I’ll admit that I never heard of this region until I tasted this wine at my favorite wine bar. I remember thinking to myself, “And you thought you knew French wine! I even had to look up the pronunciation (Boo-zhey Sehr-dawn). I never let my awful French stop me from enjoying all the wines and cheeses that country has to offer! Read more


Why You Need White Porto in Your Life

The Wine of the Week: Sandeman White Porto

by Annette Tomei

NV Sandeman White Porto, Oporto, PortugalSandeman White Porto

Founded in 1790, the Sandeman story is a long and fascinating one that you can learn more about here. It may be the most recognized Porto in the world. The caped silhouette of “The Don” is an iconic image in fortified wines. Read more


This Red Wine from Corsica is Sure to Turn Some Heads

The Wine of the Week: Abbatucci Rouge Frais ImpérialRed Wine from Corsica from Domaine Comte Abbatucci

by Annette Tomei

2016 Domaine Comte Abbatucci “Rouge Frais Impérial” Corsica, France

When you think of French wines, Corsica may not be the first (or even the third) place that comes to mind. That’s one of the reasons I was happy to try this wine. That, and the fact that it was highly recommended to me by the good folks at Kermit Lynch as a good gift for a somm-who-has-everything. I bought a bottle of this red wine from Corsica for myself as well. Read more


Fall in Love with this Juicy White Wine Blend from New York’s North Fork

The Wine of the Week: Coalescence – a juicy white blend from Long Island

by Annette Tomei

2016 Shinn Estate Vineyards, “Coalescence” White Blend, North Fork, New York Shinn Estate Vineyards, "Coalescence," a juicy white wine from the North Fork

Long Island is east of New York City and may be best known for its seaside getaways for a century of rich and famous. Also, as being a large bedroom community of “The City”. For ages, the North Fork of Long Island has been an agricultural community where wonderful potatoes, sweet corn, and happy oysters come from. Read more