Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Honeywine, also called mead, is the original medicinal wine, so........Drink to your Health!

Mead is Drinkable Honey, and it is known that it retains the numerous nutritional qualities of honey. The National Honey Board says that mead has similar health benefits of white wine due to the antioxidant characteristics of honey. The immune boosting properties of honey are retained in mead as well.

Hippocrates, the most famous father of medicine, promoted the use of honey in all kinds of healing ways. He also used elderberry tincture as a staple medicine, often combining this elderberry wine with raw honey to make it more palatable. Hidden Legend makes a Wild Elderberry Mead that is healthful as well as delicious! Honey was a dominant ingredient in many ancient medications and the mythical medicinal powers attributed to mead are because of the use of honey in the winemaking process. Honey is considered to be a disinfectant and alcohol can be used as an expectorant. When herbs are added to make various forms of metheglin (spiced mead), the medicinal qualities of the herbs are infused into the mead. Cultures all over the world made their own unique blend of metheglin to cure whatever was needed. Aborigines made mead from rare medicinal herbs and Europeans used over 100 different herbs in some mead that were designed as a complete Cure-All!

Mead is essentially a wine made by fermentation of honey using yeast. It is one of the oldest wines made by mankind and was often associated with health generating, aphrodisiac or magical powers in ancient literature and mythology. In Norse mythology for instance the “mead of Suttungr” could convert a layman to a scholar. In ancient Ethiopia “none except nobility and the highest chiefs and warriors were privileged to drink Tej( mead). Tej was considered to be the most treasured of gifts to be given to visiting royalty as evidenced by the fact that Makeda, Queen of Sheba, carried mead to King Solomon of Jerusalem.

Mead was a ritualistic drink of the Maya culture. When the Spaniards banned it in order to convert the natives to Christianity, many Mayans began dying off due to the missing health benefits of their mead.
Many languages have a word similar to “honeymoon” which refers to the drinking of honeywine during the first month of marriage. Such a commonality lends acceptance to the fact that many ancient societies believed honeywine was a drink that promoted health, an increased sex drive and the resulting fertility, especially of male offspring and so honeywine became the traditional wedding wine.

Hidden Legend Winery proudly carries on the traditions of the ancient meadmakers. The meads are made with the highest quality ingredients and finished to perfection in a natural way by our winemaker. We believe our wines retain the ancient mystical properties to enrich the lives of those who choose to drink them!

Friday, October 9, 2009

A Variety of Meads

Hidden Legend Winery makes a variety of Meads. They are all unique in their own ways while sharing certain attributes at the same time. Attributes like being award winning, being made from premium Montana produced honey and Montana grown berries, and being some of the best meads you will ever taste. Below is a description of each type of mead currently produced there and a little bit about some up and coming meads that will be available very soon.

Pure Honey Mead

Pure Honey Mead is a contemporary version of man’s oldest wine. The simplicity of the beverage, with only three ingredients—honey, yeast and water—makes it challenging for winemakers to come up with a signature taste. Hidden Legend Pure Honey Mead is light, smooth and with the most wonderful honey aftertaste. This Montana winery is blessed to be able to use local knapweed honey. Knapweed, considered by local ranchers to be a pest weed because of the hardiness and proliferation of the plant, was originally brought to Canada by Scotsmen specifically to make honey. Knapweed starts blooming about the time other wildflowers begin to die off and continues to bloom until the snow flies which really extends the season for beekeepers to make honey. Scotsmen are especially fond of good knapweed honey and they are known to be equally fond of good Mead!

Pure Honey Mead is an extension of the winemaking history of this oldest of wines. Traditionally Mead was made by members of the clergy. During the middle ages there was a honey shortage which made mead a very expensive endeavor so it was only drunk by the wealthy and the nobility. There were however, always winemakers who would make mead to be enjoyed by the “ordinary citizens” and Hidden Legend Winery makes a honey wine is suitable for both kings and carpenters!

Dark Mead

Hidden Legend’s Dark Mead is the mead that inspires the drinker to contemplate the romance of this ancient beverage. Throughout history, many important historical events have been celebrated with a version of Dark Mead. The Knights sitting at the Round Table of Camelot probably had their goblets filled with dark mead. Pubs in Ireland have had wenches serving dark mead for centuries, for Feast Days as well as ordinary times. It has been made in all corners of the world, although it has been traditionally associated with the Nordic peoples. Many Norse legends include the drinking of Dark Mead as a special part of their story, and it is referred to as a reward for meritorious Vikings after great battles. The Norse God Odin was said to have had a goat named Heidrun that produced mead instead of milk! At Hidden Legend Winery we make our mead in a clean, modern facility instead of a farmyard, but the romance of this ancient ambrosia is retained in our bottles!

The Dark Mead is made from pure Montana Honey that has been heated until it begins to caramelize which gives it the rich caramel color and the many subtle flavor layers that are brought out by this slow heating procedure. Wine lovers have described it as having a sherry-like quality, or as smooth as a fine port wine. It has also been a favorite at Montana Brew fests, favored by beer drinkers who enjoy good microbrews. The versatility of this mead is remarkable and it can be served in many ways. It is always great by itself, as an aperitif, or with a spicy meal, wild game or Roast Dragon! Countless new Hidden Legends can be made as you succumb to the mystical qualities of this ancient drink.

Spiced Mead

Spiced Mead, or metheglin, has a special place in the history of many different cultures. It has been used worldwide for thousands of years as a festive drink with both mystical and medicinal properties attributed to it. Ancient legends talk about a River of Mead flowing through the heavens and mead was given to fallen Viking warriors when they reached Valhalla (Viking Heaven).

The keepers of the sacred formulas were usually brewers who were members of the clergy. These recipes called for various combinations of herbs and spices to be added to mead to produce a desired flavor. There are historical references to meads with over 100 different herbs and there are meads made by the Aborigines of Australia with some of the rarest plants on Earth. We use an unusual combination of spices, almond extract, orange peel, allspice, cardamom, and star anise. These are added to our Dark Mead to produce an incredibly unique flavor. These spices are expressed in our mead as a distinctive enhancement to the honey flavor and with time, they blend together to make an even more perfect balance.

This balance of flavor allows for good combinations with a variety of foods; fowl, such as turkey and dressing, or pork roast with applesauce pair nicely with the Spiced Mead. And it always can be served alone as an aperitif or paired with most desserts
It is well known that making mead is a very intricate process and finding the right balance of honey to spices is not an easy task. Hidden Legend Winery’s winemaker has been able to achieve a wonderful blending of flavors that is completely unique to Hidden Legend Meads. The judges at the Northwest Wine Summit awarded the Spiced Mead a Bronze Medal in 2008.

Wild Elderberry Mead

Hidden Legend Winery’s Wild Elderberry Mead is a blend of Montana Honey and wild Elderberries. This berry mead has port like qualities that really distinguish it from the other meads made at Hidden Legend. This Elderberry Mead is perfect for sipping. It compliments your favorite chocolate or sharp cheese very well. Hippocrates (The Father of modern medicine) used elderberries and mead in his practice. It is believed that mead may very well be the root word of the word “medicine” because of Hippocrates prolific use of mead. I’m am not sure if their really are medicinal properties to elderberries or mead but some of the old-timers certainly thought so.

This Wild Elderberry Mead has also won awards. In 2008 it won a bronze medal from the Taster’s Guild International Wine Judging. Whether with food or on its own, this mead will please your senses.

Wild Chokecherry Mead

Wild Chokecherry Mead is a wine that perfectly captures the flavor of this abundant little wild cherry and blends it harmoniously with pure Montana honey. It was described by a wine lover in Oregon as “having the perfect balance of fruit to honey”. Chokecherries have been a staple in the diet of both Native Americans and the pioneers throughout the western United States. They are highly nutritious and have a sweet, tart flavor that is delightful in many ways—jams and jellies, syrups, dried fruit, pemmican and of course, wines! At the 2008 Chokecherry Festival in Lewistown Montana, Chokecherry Mead won First Place with Commercial Items in the Culinary Contest! So, obviously, wine is a preferred way to enjoy the flavor of this wonderful wild cherry!

The judges at the 2008 Northwest Wine Summit must have favored the unique flavor of the chokecherry as well and they awarded this wine a Gold Medal. It was also distinguished with the Granite Peak Award for the Best Wine of the Region. At the 2007 Indy International Wine Competition our Chokecherry Mead won a Silver Medal. In 2009 Hidden Legend’s Chokecherry Mead won another Gold Medal at the Taster’s Guild International Wine Judging! This Mead is excellent and deserves your attention!

For years our customers have told us that this wine is perfect for summer picnics, but it is also good with light meals and it is wonderful with almost any dessert! Or enjoy the full flavor of the wine by itself with nothing more than a little music and a beautiful sunset. And dreams of Montana....

Wild Huckleberry Mead

Huckleberry Mead is the essence of a Montana summer day captured in a bottle of light, smooth honeywine. The flavor of this hearty little berry blends perfectly with the mellow taste of Montana knapweed honey. Huckleberries hold a special place in the hearts of Montanans because they grow in such incredibly beautiful places. Picking these berries is always a gorgeous endeavor and the flavor of our mead evokes the memories of those late summer days in the mountains. Hidden Legend Huckleberry Mead is for people who have experienced the beauty of Montana and for those who long to do so.

Mead has been made by many different cultures throughout history. Pure honeywine is thought to be very healthful and by adding fruits and herbs it takes on an even greater medicinal value. Native Americans in the Northwest treasured the tiny huckleberry for its nutritional content as well as the wonderful berry taste. Montana black bears fully agree that a diet of honey and huckleberries on a Montana mountainside is about as good as it gets!!

Huckleberry Mead is wonderful with dessert, as an aperitif or simply served by itself to invoke the feelings of being back in Montana!

Coming Soon!

This Montana Winery is about to release two brand new meads! They are Peach Mead and Maple Dark Mead. The Peach Mead is a perfect blend of Peach and Honey wine that leave a hint of peach on your pallet after every sip with honey up front. The Maple Mead is an extension of Hidden Legend’s Dark Mead with a hint of Maple. You will not be disappointed by these new meads. Go to and order them! They will be available by the first week of November at the latest!