The Perfect Purée of Napa Valley is inspired by mead makers like Black Heath Meadery, who have incorporated the delicious purées in their mead.

Something as small as a honeybee can inspire big ideas. For Richmond, Virginia mead-maker Bill Cavender, the honeybee’s role in one of the world’s oldest fermented beverages inspired him to start the city’s first meadery.

Black Heath Meadery opened in early 2015 for production, tours and tastings. For Cavender, it’s the culmination of years spent home brewing, farming and beekeeping. Since living next door to a beekeeper as a child, he says he’s always been intrigued by honeybees and learned all he could about their intricate social structure, not to mention the many ways honey can be used.

Black Heath Meadery bottles

Black Heath Meadery

Photo Courtesy of Black Heath Meadery/Facebook

Cavender says The Perfect Purée plays a big role in his formula. He is committed to sourcing most of his ingredients from Virginia—like honey, cider, ginger and berries—but needs more exotic fruits to diversify his flavor profile. He says during his research and development phase, he experimented with a number of purées and concentrates and found Perfect Purée’s products had the best flavor and color. So far, Cavender has used Perfect Purée’s Passion Fruit and Pomegranate concentrates for seasonal releases.

“Our goal was to reintroduce people to this amazing beverage by supporting local beekeepers and farmers in Virginia and beyond [and] while we are fortunate to have abundant fresh fruits in Virginia, there are some flavors that we just can’t do without. The aroma and vibrant, tart flavor of passion fruit is a natural component for a summer mead. Pomegranate is another flavor that just bursts out of the glass and catches attention with its lovely color.”
– Bill Cavender, Black Heath Meadery

Traditional meads can be anywhere on the flavor spectrum from bone dry, to bottlings that can be dense, sweet and cloying. Black Heath’s meads fall somewhere in the middle with a

semi-sweet taste and 1.5 percent residual sugar. Building on the traditional mead base of honey, water and yeast, Cavender adds fruits and spices to the secondary fermentation, a process that highlights the full fruit flavors while allowing the honey to play a role in the overall flavor profile.

“In the case of our passion fruit mead, the tart citrus flavors of the fruit intermingle with the honey for an amazing flavor,” Cavender says.

Named Passiflora, the passion fruit mead is a perfect drink for Virginia’s hot, humid summer weather and pairs well with fruit, cheese, or meat. Cavender says fruit meads in general also tend to complement spicy food—think Thai, Vietnamese, Indian, Ethiopian and Mexican—by tempering the heat with honey flavor. Find your favorite flavors with The Perfect Purée’s complimentary sample program.