How about some bubbly with a difference this Valentine’s Day with a bottle of Van Hunks Rosé Sparkling Mead, guaranteed to add an exotic twist to your celebrations?
Produced at the foot of Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa, Van Hunks all natural Sparkling Mead is a delicious and refreshing alternative to champagne and is not made with grapes but rather from honey.
The unique and distinctive Fynbos honey is sourced from sustainably placed beehives throughout the natural woodland areas and is then hand-harvested by the small local communities.
The same bottle fermentation process that is used for Champagne is also used for the secondary fermentation for Van Hunks, known as méthode champenoise. However, instead of using sugar to re-ferment wine they only use pure honey in the base mead. their craft being equal to that of any top South African Sparkling Wine or French Champagne.
Honey is well known for being difficult to ferment as it gives off its own antibiotic to prevent fermentation from taking place. Therefore, Van Hunks use a patented dry fermentation technique, achieving a clean fermentation of the honey that ferments their ‘base mead’ completely dry, which allows them to achieve a consistently high quality.
The process follows méthode champenoise, whereby the bottles are riddled on pupitres or turning racks, over a number of weeks so that the yeast sediment collects down at the tip of the bottles. The bottles are then stored upside-down so that the sediment collects in the neck of the bottle. The tip of the bottle is flash frozen before being disgorged by removing the frozen plug of ice that contains the spent yeast from the bottles. Following the disgorgement process, a unique expedition liqueur is added to balance all of the flavours before the final corking of the finished bottle.
Van Hunks is a deliciously dry alternative to sparkling wine made from all natural ingredients as described above. The double fermentation process allows the mead to become unexpectedly dry and is comparable to premium champagne or any top South African sparkling wine. Van Hunks are one of only three producers in the world that create bottle-fermented mead in this way with the addition of hibiscus, producing something similar to a champagne cocktail.
A sip from a glass of this refreshingly sparkling drink will make you wish you were on one of the sunny beaches in South Africa with your loved one, particularly at this time of the year with temperatures below freezing this week here in the UK and in many other parts of Europe.
A great deal of thought has gone into the packaging too, with beautifully crafted bottles that even have a champeinoise-style cork. Van Hunks Rosé Sparkling Mead also pairs extremely well with food.
Van Hunks Brut & Rosé Sparkling Mead RRP is £25.00 for 75cl. ABV: 12% and is available from vanhunksdrinks.com
Simon Burrell is Editor of Our Man On The Ground, a member of The British Guild of Travel Writers and professional photographer.
Photographs courtesy of Van Hunks Drinks