A Haw River Valley AVA detour (Part 3)
Okay, so the Starrlight Mead isn’t exactly part of the Haw River Valley AVA, but since it was just a short drive from Silk Hope, I decided to drop by. The meadery is located behind the Chatham Marketplace in Pittsboro’s Village at Chatham Mills. I did struggle a bit to find it – you have to go all the way around the building to reach Starrlight in a separate building.
I had never tasted mead, which is honey wine that has been called “the world’s oldest fermented beverage.” The wine makers say they first experienced mead attending Renaissance festivals, where participants dress in Medieval costumes and experience Medieval foods and activities. Find out more about mead here: starrlightmead.com/FAQ
I thought it might be too sweet, but was pleasantly surprised at the variety of meads offered, ranging from an off-dry traditional mead to a spiced apple mead quite a bit like mulled wine. Other varieties included my personal favorite — Off-dry Blackberry Mead – as well Kickin’ Cranberry Orange Mead and Cranberry Orange Mead (both seasonal), Traditional Mead (semi-sweet), Semi-sweet Blackberry Mead and Sweet Peach Mead.
On weekend afternoons, mead making tours are offered several times during tasting hours, and I was lucky enough to get a solo tour at the end of the day. Here’s what I learned: Honey used for the mead comes from local beekeepers. Mead begins as honey and water fermented for six weeks. For an additional six weeks, the mead is allowed to settle. Flavors are added the final two weeks.
So I wrapped up the trip through the Haw River Valley with a few new bottles of wine and four more wines glasses. Where will I put them, I wonder? On my own, I visited four wineries in roughly as many hours. And I proved to myself that you can do a solo wine tour, and still get home safely.