TAR (2625) - Marshall (Asheville area), North Carolina, USA - JUL 13, 2007
4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 17/20
January, 2006 bottling: Bleached yellow. Legs take a long time to develop but eventually ooze slowly down the glass. Complex yet remarkably clean and nuanced aroma of pear, cantaloupe, spent tealeaves, cosmetic cabinet, and white peach flesh. Hint of sage. Body possesses a delicate crunchiness, but is otherwise satiny and slippery. Dazzling interplay between a well-defined and -rounded tartness and remarkably bright, vivid and feathery-soft honey which continually anchors the tart peach extractives. Unbelievably soft and floral, and despite the honey being artfully understated, its elegant and palate-embracing softness persists for quite some time. Notably long flavor development seemingly deepens by the second. Absolutely seamless balance. Highly appetizing due to the combination of sweetness restraint and moderate level of dryness.
Alcohol offsets the sweetness as does the zingy twang of acidity, but is otherwise a non-factor. Finishes slightly gritty with a tight crystallized sugar texture and sweetness, but brilliantly subtle with an assortment of softly textured and brightly flavored herbs and flowers. This requires some serious time in order to understand and appreciate the level of nuances that his is teeming with. It virtually redefines the term “subtle” which is probably why it won’t receive an abundance of praise here. Body could use more weight, but overall just an outstanding creation. And what a glorious aroma!
aracauna (3445) - Georgia, USA - FEB 3, 2007
4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
My wonderful sister trekked north out from her work in downtown to pick up a case of assorted meads from the Medovina Meadery. I’d tasted Sweet Melissa (still my top mead ever), thanks to Springslicker a year or so ago and ever since I’ve been itching try more of their extremely difficult to find line of meads. I thought I had my chance when my sister moved to Denver and we made arrangements to visit her for Christmas. Unfortunately, the big blizzard hit and although we did do some beer shopping, apparently Medovina is tough to find in stores even in Denver. Frustrated that I was unable to score more mead, I e-mailed Mark Beran, the mead-maker and owner of Medovina, to get an assortment of meads for my sister to bring back to Georgia checked as luggage. Mark packed for shipping a variety of meads he had on hand and my sister, who was impressed with his meadery and the meadmaker himself, lugged the package off to the airport. Jump forward to tonight, a week after she dropped off the meads. The Paonia Peach is the first mead I’ve opened from the shipment, which includes about 7 more meads I’ve never tried in addition to a couple of Sweet Melissas. This is a 330 ml bottle, corked and capped with bee’s wax. This is a still mead and the slightly hazed golden liquid has a faint pink-orange glow. The aroma up front is honey, alcohol, and a spicy floral quality almost like gardenias. The peach is reserved, providing a vague fruit juiciness backing up the up-front flavors and becoming more obvious on the exhale. There’s an almost lime-like citric quality in there as well. This is the driest of the meads I’ve ever had, and it’s only marked as off-dry. This is by no means the gem that is Sweet Melissa, but it does nothing but reinforce my belief that Medovina is doing amazing things. Also, just as a note to mead novices, meads seem to be best at a low room temperature or only lightly chilled. The flavor on this one improved drastically the warmer it got and it only spent 20 minutes in the fridge followed by a 5 minute warmup.
Ernest (7200) - Boulder, Colorado, USA - NOV 25, 2004
3.9 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
UPDATED: JAN 23, 2005 2003 vintage (bottled in 2004). No head (still). Body is hazy light to medium yellow-orange with a faint pink tinge (very difficult color to describe). Aroma is notes of honey, peach, apricot, melon rind, mandarin orange, wildflowers, meadow, etc. Flavor is moderately sweet, lightly acidic. Finish is lightly sweet, lightly acidic, lightly bitter. Light to medium body, watery texture, flat carbonation, lightly astringent. Thanks so much for the replacement bottle, Mark! The last bottle was clearly infected/ruined in some way, as this one is exactly how I expected this should be...honey, peaches, flowers, etc. Not as sweet/rich or full-bodied in the mouth as I tend to like meads (this is roughly akin to the Classic Off-Dry, from memory), but the aroma is absolutely gorgeous...a very appropriate and sexy combination, and the fruit integration is perfect (very natural smelling, and doesn’t interfere with or overpower the honey). Medovina is notorious for making very cleanly fermenting, balanced, complex, wine-like meads, and this is just another great example.