Epcot Food & Wine 2010 – Bunratty Mead and Liquor Co. Ltd

Who: Nancy Larkin

What: Bunratty Mead, Bunratty Potcheene, and O’Maras Irish Cream

When: Saturday, November 13, 2010

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This was our last Food & Wine event for 2010 – unfortunately, it would end on a sour note… This was the worst beverage seminar we attended, for many reasons…

  1. the presenter droned on and on and on
  2. her presentation was depressing (oh, and did I mention, wandering)
  3. we didn’t care for the beverages at all

so, if you’d like to keep reading after that synopsis… here you go…

The presenter focused on pre-Famine and post-Famine Ireland. Dealing with the forced exodus caused by starvation, the slavery of Irish immigrants in the US and the Caribbean (indentured servants were lower than black African slaves because they were free to get whereas plantation owners had to pay for black slaves), the coffin ships where so many died en route, etc… Some of her anecdotes or jokes were okay but they quickly drowned under the weight of starvation, famine, and unjust subjugation. While this was reasonable material, or it would have been if she’d brought things full circle, frankly it was rather depressing for an event at Epcot at Walt Disney World!

Perhaps she was simply having an off day… sigh

Tastings

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meade, potcheene, irish cream

Bunratty Meade

This is the only wine from Ireland, 14.7% alcohol; it is made from white wine, honey, herbs, and spices. The phrase “honeymoon” comes from the custom of drinking meade for the first 30 days after a wedding – it confers virility and fertility.

The nose is clearly honey. The color is honey-toned, rich, and dark. It was very sweet; not particularly to our tastes, not something we’d buy. The presenter said that it was well paired with poultry, particularly Thanksgiving Turkey (?!). Nora is sure that part of her distaste was the strong honey flavor – she’s allergic to bees & therefore rarely consumes honey; didn’t expect the honey flavor to be quite so strong in a wine/spirit.

Bunratty Potcheene

Now, we had eagerly anticipated this tasting. From what Nora had read, we expected something akin to southeastern US white lightening (moonshine). The presenter said that was what it was similar to – not according to our tastebuds. The nose was nicer than the meade – Nora’s notes say “fruity with a backside hint of anise/licorice, richer and warmer” and Nick’s notes say “something food oriented, but not a good smell, maybe rotten eggs or too much licorice?” The color was perfectly clear (think vodka). The taste – Nora’s notes say “a bit like moonshine, but too anise” and Nick’s notes are “taste stays on the tongue but it’s not a good taste; not so much licorice but the heat of anise; strange that I don’t like it and I do like straight whisky”.

O’Maras Irish Cream

This is a wine based irish cream. The nose was milky and creamy with hints of chocolate and coffee, Nick felt that the scent reminded him of vanilla without being vanilla-y. The taste wasn’t as alcoholic as Bailey’s (Nora), with hints of chocolate but slight notes of “old” cream (Nick). Again, not to our tastes.

Kate had warned us that we probably wouldn’t like meade. She was right! While we’re glad that we experienced it, it’s not going to be something that we’d purchase. Lisa told us that she and Andy had tasted a meat dish with a meade marinade and a meade based sauce. Perhaps that would be palatable…

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