First, to those who are not familiar with the term "melomel": A melomel is a fruit mead, made with honey similar to mead, but with the addition of fruit for a taste that is something different than mead. After some urging by friends, I decided to start a Kiwi Melomel, based on a recipe in Making Wild Wines & Meads, a book by Pattie Vargas and Rich Gulling.
The recipe in the book is for a one gallon yield, but after making several one gallon wines, and enjoying them so much that I wish I had made more, I am now convinced that it is better to go with a minimum of a three gallon yield. For me, I’d prefer to toss wine that turned out terrible, then to not make enough of a wine that turns out wonderful. Of course, others have a different philosophy about this, and that’s ok.
Based on Vargas’ and Gulling’s recipe, here’s what I did:
First, prepare a yeast starter:
1 1/2 cups of orange juice at room temperature
3 teaspoons yeast nutrient
1 Packet Lalvin EC-1118 yeast
Mix the juice and yeast nutrient – the pitch the yeast into the starter.
Mead (Melomel) Ingredients
Peel the skin from the kiwi fruit before cutting the fruit into small sections.
Put the kiwi into a primary fermenter.
Put the honey into a large pot, and double BY VOLUME (not weight) with water. Boil honey and water and remove any foam that appears on the surface.
Pour the honey and water over the kiwi fruit, in the primary fermenter. Let this cool.
Add the acid blend, tannin, and pectic enzyme, stirring the must well.
Add water to bring up to the 3 gallon mark in your primary fermenter (or over, allowing for the space taken by the solid fruit).
Add the yeast starter to the primary fermenter and then cover.
In one week, check the Specific Gravity, and when it is below 1.010, rack into a three gallon carboy. Fit with bung and airlock.
On day 21, check specific gravity – if at 0.098 or lower, add 1/4 teaspoon of sulphite (or three campden tablets) after racking once again.
Rack every three months (adding three campden tablets at each racking), which will aid in clearing your wine. You may bottle after one year, The Melomel should improve with another six months of ageing in the bottle.