Mezcal was featured last week at Wine World in our Friday spirits tasting. John and Graham from Agave Oaxaca provided the lucky guests with both an education about Mezcal and the opportunity to sample 6 different varieties of the spirit that has taken the liquor world by storm.
A quick review of Mezcal: Let’s clear one thing up….Tequila is Mezcal, but Mezcal is not Tequila (and do not call it Tequila and make an idiot of yourself, as I did). All Mezcals are made from Agave plants, but Tequila is only made from the blue agave. Mezcal is made from one of the other 150 agave species such as Espadín and wild Tobalá, Tobaziche, Madrecuixe, and Barril.
Mezcal gets its smoky flavor during the production process. The hearts of the agave plants, called piñas, are cooked in pits in the ground over an oak fire, in a style that’s similar to that for making barbacoa. The cooked agave is then crushed, combined with water, and allowed to ferment. The lovely smokiness of Mezcal brings me to mind of a fine scotch. Mezcal making is full of rich and interesting traditions, and if you want to read more about this fabulous spirit, check out John’s blog.
John Slagle – Spirits Expert Extraordinaire, and Julie Porter, complete neophyte, tasted through the following line up: Pelotin, El Buho, Mezcales de Leyenda Guerrero, Pierde Almas Dobadaan, Pierde Almas Tobaziche, and Pierde Almas Tobala. Their tasting notes follow:
Peloton de la Muerte – $36.95/Bottle Made with Agave Espadìn
John: This is an earthier Mezcal. A great value for everyday -my choice for cocktails.
Julie: Wow. Smooth, with a light smoky sweetness. This changed all my preconceptions about Mezcal, which pretty much included worms and scary dudes with machetes.
El Buho - $54.95/Bottle Made with Agave Espadìn
John: This is the smokiest of the bunch – like Mexican BBQ in-a-bottle, but a great way to experience Mezcal without hurting your bank balance.
Julie: Cool bottle! This had an initial sweetness with a medium smoke. Nice aftertaste. I can picture myself sipping this one.
Mezcales de Leyenda Geurrero – $64.95/Bottle Made with Agave Cupreata
John: One of the few from outside Oaxaca. It’s a flavorful expression of wild yeast and funky notes.
Julie: The smoke hangs out in the background, and it reminded me of the Old West – with sagebrush and earth tones.
Pierde Almas Dobadaàn – $130.95 Made with Agave Rhodacantha
John: Dobadaàn has good spicy tones with cinnamon and clovey notes. It’s the first domestically available Mezcal from Dobadaàn.
Julie: Yum. A little bit of fire in this one. Classy, spicy finish.
Pierde Almas Tobaziche – $174.95/Bottle Made with Agave Karwinskii
John: Floral, sweet notes, green bell pepper, and anise. This is the smoothest, easiest drinking Mezcal on the table today. It’s smooth, like a single malt scotch and rich in terroir like quality red wine.
Julie: I think I just saw God.
Pierde Almas Tobalà – $164.95/Bottle Made with Agave Potatorum
John: This is the King of Mezcal, and one of my favorite agave varietals. It has a little bolder flavor than the others, with green vegetable notes, anise seed and eucalyptus.
Julie: Wonderful fresh flavors. Long lasting floral aftertaste. I want that taste to stay forever and ever, amen.
You’ll find all these Mezcals (and more) right here at the back of the store in our Spirits section. Cinco de Mayo is just around the corner…why not mix it up a little with a taste of the real Mexican spirit? Come on in and talk to Patrick, John, or Whitney about this great liquor and don’t miss out on future tastings!