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Tasting Thursday: New Wines, Ancient Vines -- MEAD

New Wines, Ancient Vines is intended to be a series of once-monthly focused tastings that delve a bit deeper into some of the world's most ancient winemaking practices, growing regions, and styles. This week, we inaugurate the series with a treatise on mead, perhaps the very oldest of alcoholic beverages and a key player in the development of Neolithic sedentary communities in Africa, China, Scandinavia and beyond. We'll be taking a look not only at mead's role in the history of deliberate, human-driven fermentation worldwide but also how the beverage has been adapted to fit contemporary palates--from the addition of botanicals and fruits to the truly unusual development of low-alcohol "session mead".