Just when you think you’ve reached peak tequila along comes this Teslaquila story to blow all your assumptions out of the water. The latest chapter was Elon Musk’s October 12th tweet:
Visual approximation pic.twitter.com/sMn3Pv476Y
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 12, 2018
Last year we had that billion dollar (actually $700 billion up front with sweeteners which make it worth more than a billion if the brand performs over the next ten years, but who’s counting!) read more…
Vago’s latest release, an incredibly small batch of Sierra Negra by Aquilino Garcia Lopez highlights smart and ethical behavior in the mezcal world. Each bottle that Vago releases is accompanied by a blog post that includes a highly detailed tech sheet that delves into everything you’d want to know about the bottle, the agaves and processes that produced it, and the people who made it. Dig into that, spend some time with it, think it over. All that information helps you put the scope of work that brought that bottle to you into perspective. read more…
The tina is the fermentation vessel for mezcal. The exact translation in Spanish is tub, bathtub, vat, or large jar. Traditionally these are made from wood similar to a large wine barrel with an open mouth. Originally fermentation vessels were animal hides and naturally occurring rock holes. The wood tina now dominates the mezcal world. They are used repeatedly, and when I’ve asked mezcaleros for how long I’ve never managed to get a good answer. The wood type includes pine, oak, and cypress but I wouldn’t be surprised to find other types involved. Many tequila producers use a very similar fermentation vessel which can be called a pipon while some use the “tina” term just like mezcal. read more…
The CRM’s focus on chemistry in mezcal may not be that misdirected because there’s a gold rush on for synthetic alcohols. Check out this Verge article about Endless West’s pivot from synthetic wine to whiskey even if their logo has a very distinct resemblance to the abstract graphic of an agave used by Chicago’s Quiote. There’s even a connection to the appellation question but for Endless West, it’s all about sustainability…
But why make fake wine and whiskey at all, except as a novelty? Those associated with Endless West say its procedures uses less water and less land. Lee thinks that Endless West will ultimately either meet or surpass traditional wines and spirits with their offerings, using a method that’s more cost-effective and environmentally sustainable. (This is also the pitch behind the Impossible Burger.)
“If things that we are doing were not necessary for the environment, we would not do it,” he says. “As a brand we are telling stories that no one has told before: there’s craft behind science; we’re not evil mad scientists behind the curtain.”
In fact, Endless West has a great deal of competition when it comes to unusual alcoholic beverages. There’s a Denver-based company that calls itself Replica Wine because its unabashed MO is to replicate higher-priced, high-profile wines using scientific techniques, purchased grapes, and blending regimens. Replica is trying to make its wines taste like the higher-priced thing, but at half the cost to the consumer.
If you thought that the ongoing debate over the meaning of mezcal and its appellation is an isolated case, then it’s high time to explore and dig into similar arguments in the wine world. Ever since appellations were created for wines, arguments over who is in them and what they mean have existed. This past week a really fascinating case bubbled up in the world of Oregon Pinot Noirs which the San Francisco Chronicle’s Esther Mobley details. Here’s the intro:
If a bottle of Oregon Pinot Noir has the word “Willamette” on its front label, would you assume that it comes from the Willamette Valley?
Probably, but if the bottle in question happened to be the 2017 Willametter Journal Pinot Noir, you would be wrong. Although the brand’s name implies a connection to the Willamette Valley, and although the front label includes the text “the Willamette region of Oregon’s coastal range,” the wine does not, in fact, qualify for the Willamette Valley appellation.
What an amazing day we had at House of Yes in Bushwick, Brooklyn celebrating Mexican Independence Day! The sun came out and the spirit of Mexico permeated every nook and cranny. It was a sold out event (thank you!) and we couldn’t have asked for a better crowd to celebrate all things Mexican in a Bottle. read more…
Tomorrow is Mexican Independence Day when we all celebrate “El Grito,” Hidalgo’s call for Mexicans to revolt. After a rough decade of war Mexico finally achieved independence, a fact well worth celebrating. It’s been a tough year for Mexico. We initially designed our Fuerza Mexico shirt as a call to arms in support of the country after devastating earthquakes in Oaxaca and Mexico City and donated $5 from every shirt to that effort.
Mexico has also born the brunt with the war of words from the American White House, the anti-Mexican sentiments on the streets in the US, and that whole let’s build a wall between the countries thing. On the sunnier side of things, there was an incredible election this summer that has Mexicanos excited for a new direction. Sum sum, we are taking a moment to let loose and celebrate all the great things about Mexico. And since we are just about sold out of Fuerza Mexico shirts we’re going to clean out our storage and sell them all at $10 a pop. We can’t afford to donate anything from this price but you’ll still look just as good and we’ll continue to do as much good work as we can. Salud!
The Mexican Industrial Property Institute known by it’s Spanish language acronym IMPI recently expanded the number of states that belong to the mezcal appellation. IMPI added the three states of Estado de Mexico (the state that surrounds and includes Mexico City), Morelos, and Aguascalientes. That means that the Consejo Regulador del Mezcal, the CRM, which is the Mexican semi-governmental body which regulates mezcal, can now certify mezcal producers in those states as legally producing mezcal. read more…
Agave prices in Jalisco just keep rising. Per a friend in the business blue agave in Jalisco is “27 (pesos/kilo) for good, mature, and ripe agave, 24/25 for unripe agave.” He also noted that it’s the rainy season now which is crimping supply. As he succinctly put it – “We’re all kinda fucked.” There is lots going on behind the scenes including efforts from larger producers to collectively stop purchasing agave in order to bring prices down but that effort appears to have stalled.
Meanwhile the price of Oaxacan espadín has remained stable at about 11 pesos/kilo and the universe of certified states just controversially grew by three so we can only expect much more mezcal to start appearing soon. Also, we are seeing more destilados de agave appearing on the market, which is a continued response to the DO and certification processes.
For more on the history of this story check out our previous posts on agave prices.