Lindisfarne mead is perhaps one of the most well-known in the UK with their own website claiming they have sold over 2,000,000 bottles! It is made by St Aiden’s Winery on the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, Northumberland.
This drink is technically a pyment because it is fermented from grape juice with honey added. Their claim is that this is more aligned with the approach favoured by ancient Rome. Herbs are added for additional flavour and this mead is fortified with “neutral spirits”.
The history of mead on the island of Lindisfarne supposedly goes back to mediaeval monks (see History of mead in the UK) who inhabited the island. The current offering has been made only since 1962 however.
Very pale so much as to be off-clear. It reminds of white wines from cooler regions such as Pinot Grigio.
The nose unmistakably yields hints of the added spirit, but without the burn from rough spirits such as vodka. Beneath there is a floral — perhaps grassy — aroma.
The use of grapes gives a subtle acidity underneath a medium body of sweetness. This provides a dry-sweet balance not often achieved with pure honey meads. The dryness and acidity makes the drink more refreshing for drinking by itself (as opposed to as a dessert wine as is the case for many pure honey meads).