Cheré Dastugue Coen
Make Mine Mead
Celebrate an old worldwide alcoholic tradition!
Today marks the 19th annual Mead Day, celebrated yearly on the first Saturday in August. This day to honor the long craft of fermenting beverages primarily with honey — also called honey wine, ambrosia or nectar — comes right after our visit to Point Lookout Vineyards outside Hendersonville, North Carolina, where owner Michael Jackson creates a variety of meads in addition to his fine wines.
Jackson built his gorgeous tasting room atop the mountain where he was born and reared — as well as his ancestors before him. Visitors may sip his delicious creations while gazing out on the Blue Ridge Mountains and enjoying the cool mountain breezes that blow through. The venue’s perfect for special events, such as concerts, weddings, charity events and basically just doing nothing. His Wine Down Wednesdays and Sunset Sipping Thursdays are meant for just that, he told us, a chance to relax and rewind and enjoy the spectacular scenery.
“We intentionally don’t do anything,” Jackson said.
Surrounding his mountaintop oasis lie his vineyards, which grow in a region where nights are cooler and there’s less humidity, perfect for growing grapes for his variety of wines.
“They have a certain character grown at this elevation,” Jackson explained.
And then there’s the mead, one of the oldest alcoholic beverages created throughout the world. Jackson creates a traditional mead, its honey essence breathing through, plus an orange blossom mead fermenting honey derived from orange blossoms that's drier but flavorful.
Jackson also adds herbs and spices to his mead to create some unique offerings. “Calm” incorporates chamomile and lavender, two herbs known for their soothing attributes, for a lovely mead that hints of lazy spring and summer days. His "Cyser" blends honey and apples while "Bequile" incorporates raspberries to the sweet mix. "Masala" blends honey with notes of cardamom, clove, ginger and vanilla.
“There’s a lot of fun things you can do with mead,” Jackson said, as he brought out a special bottle of “Mimi’s Apple Pie,” a blend of apples with spices that have been aged in a bourbon barrel. He plans to launch this special blend sometime this fall.
“It’s got a little extra zip to it, more alcohol than the other wines,” he said.
Point Lookout ships to numerous states but for a real treat, stop by the winery and tasting room, grab a bottle of mead with a cheese or charcuterie board (it's excellent with chesse and fruit) and relax. It’s a perfect combination, a divine bottle of one of the oldest drinks of the civilized world with a stunning view of one of the most beautiful spots in America.
Weird, Wacky & Wild South is written by Cheré Coen, who adores a great glass of wine and a North Carolina mountain view. She was partial to Point Lookout's Calm mead and Mimi's Apple Pie.