If you’re not familiar with Isaak’s of Salem, don’t worry. Ian Bennett and his wife Brittany started up the micro-winery in October of ’09 and just offered their first bottles for sale this past December.
A tiny operation currently housed Beverly, Isaak’s uses honey from Merrimack Valley Apiaries in Billerica to ferment and create honey wines. (Bennett tells us he prefers the term honey wine over mead, as people are either unfamiliar with mead or think of the beverage as heavy and sweet.)
Isaak’s has several honey wines currently available through local purveyors. The Dry Honey Wine ($22) is a traditional dry mead with no extra honey added. It’s light, refreshing, and has a wonderful floral bouquet that immediately brings to mind the field of flowers the bees were pollinating. The surprise is that it’s not particularly sweet. It’s crisp and light like a pinot grigio and would pair well with most foods.
The Sweet Tooth Honey Wine ($22) has a bit of honey added after fermentation and is steeped with bourbon vanilla beans. Again, this was drier than anticipated; it’s a bit sweeter than a Riesling but not cloying, with the vanilla mellowing the honey.
The newest offering from the winery has been released just in time for Valentine’s day; Popp Road Raspberry ($27), named after the farm in Dresden, Maine that provided the raspberries to be steeped in the honey wine for three weeks. The result is a cheeky, fun, sweet/tart, blush-colored wine that pairs well with dark chocolate.
And lucky for all of us, trying that pairing will be easy. Isaak’s has teamed up with Taza, the local craft chocolate maker that has created so much buzz in the past year with its organic stone-ground chocolate. From now until February 14, when you buy a bottle of Popp Road Raspberry, you’ll receive a free bar of Taza’s 70% dark chocolate. Ian recently toured the Taza facility and shares this video:
We think this deal a great way to impress your date come Valentines day. You’ll be savoring lush wine and chocolate and supporting a small local business to boot.
If you’re curious about Popp Road Raspberry, Ian will be pouring samples at the Salem’s So Sweet 9th Annual Chocolate & Wine Tasting on February 4. You can also grab a taste at Salem Wine Imports on February 11 from 5:00 to 7:00.
A full listing of who carries Isaak’s of Salem is on their website, and below you’ll find local vendors currently featuring the wine and chocolate deal.