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December 2016

    roots_chocolates   A post from our Chicago partner Lou Bank, who we first met in Oaxaca over mezcal, of course. 

  Lisa Nelson is a fourth-generation farm owner in rural Wisconsin. When she took over the family farm, she knew she wanted to do something that leveraged the heritage of her farm, but did so in a unique way. “Farming is a hard enough business,” Lisa said. “It’s harder still if you don’t have a way to differentiate yourself.” Her point of differentiation is one that piques both interest and appetite: she uses the bounty of her farm to make artisanal chocolates. The terroir of Lisa's farm is displayed in the over 40 fruits, vegetables, herbs, and honey she infuses into the treats she releases as Roots Chocolates. But she doesn’t stop there: She has also established partnerships — what she calls “cho-lab-ah-ray-shons” — with other farm-related businesses. And that’s where this suddenly becomes a topic of special interest to readers of Mezcalistas.

The latest in Craft DistillersMezcalero line which delivers extremely small production batches from a variety of locations around Oaxaca.

 mezcalero17The details:

- Location: San Baltazar Guélavila - Agave: Cultivated espadín and agave de lumbre - Maestro Mescalero: Cirilo Hernández - Quantity: 184 cases / 1104 bottles - Distillation Date: March 2014 - Bottled: June 2015. - ABV: 48% - NOM: O14X    

The background:

These are the sort of one off distillations that used to define mezcal so this series is something of a relic of another era and testament to all the riches that remain. As I’ve said before, the mere existence of Mezcalero is fantastic, the fact that they continue to produce such high quality mezcals so consistently is even better.

Since its premiere at Mezcal: Mexico in a Bottle 2014 Raicilla Venenosa has been a constant presence at better mezcalerias. It was the first racilla legally imported into the United States and was only recently joined by a second. The distinctive flavors of this other Jaliscan mezcal are well worth seeking out.

Raicilla Venenosa Sierra de Jalisco Raicilla Venenosa Sierra de Jalisco

The details:

– Location: Mascota, Jalisco. – Agave: Agave maximiliana. – Maestro Mezcalero: Don Ruben Peña Fuentes – Quantity: 800 bottles – Distillation Date: April 2014 – ABV: 42%

The background:

Esteban Morales really brought raicilla to the United States and we're all the richer for his work with Arik Torren to make that happen because raicilla is so different from other mezcals - once you try it you'll instantly understand why it deserves its own category.

mezcIt’s been weeks since Mezcal Week but we’re still living off the fumes. We had so many awesome events spread across the world that we’re in awe of all the creative ideas and fun times - all in the name of mezcal. Things went so well that we’re already setting up Mezcal Week 2017 November 5-12 culminating in Mezcal: Mexico in a Bottle San Francisco on November 12th. From Australia to New York, Seattle to Oaxaca, it was quite a celebration of all things mezcal, and a truly visual representation of how widespread the mezcal scene is now. Here are just five examples of all the cool stuff that happened during the week. We’ll be archiving the 2016 site pretty soon so all of this will be available through a link there - but the main thrust of the site will be on 2017 starting in January.

The Los Nahuales Special Edition No. 1 is the first and, hopefully only the first, in a series of special editions from one of the longest standing and most prominent mezcal brands in the United States. Los Nahuales Special Edition No. 1The details: - Location: Santiago Matatlán - Agave: 41.3% wild cuishe Agave karwinskii and 58.7% Sierrudo, a type of Agave americano. - Maestro Mezcalero: Karina Abad - Quantity: 1520 bottles. The majority only available through K&L Wines. 720 bottles are distributed by Craft Distillers - Distillation Date: April/May 2015 - ABV: 48% - NOM: O14X       The background: This is the fruit of another of those mezcal world happenstances. While hanging out at Marco Polo with Karina Abad who manages Los Danzantes’ entire production Ansley Coale and K&L Wines’ David Driscoll cooked up the idea of Karina doing a batch all on her own. The rest is in the bottle but you can get a portion of the foreshadowing and narrative in Driscoll’s blogging about that trip.

[caption id="attachment_5385" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]Left to right, Susan Coss, Raza Zaidi, Judah Kuper, and Ivan Saldaña. Left to right, Susan Coss, Raza Zaidi, Judah Kuper, and Ivan Saldaña.[/caption] The evening before this year’s Mezcal: Mexico in a Bottle San Francisco we hosted a panel titled “What We Talk About When We Talk About Sustainability” to dig into the raft of questions about sustainability in the mezcal industry. Aside from our debt to Raymond Carver the panel was inspired by the consistent questions from drinkers and bartenders throughout the world about how mezcal can be made in a way that ensures environmental, cultural, and economic sustainability. The topic comes up in almost every conversation and since we had a team of brand heavyweights in town the moment was ideal for the discussion. Susan Coss moderated the discussion between Judah Kuper from Vago, Raza Zaidi from Wahaka, and Ivan Saldaña from Montelobos. We were also privileged to host many other brand representatives in the audience including Fidencio’s Arik Torren, Erick Rodriguez, William Scanlan, and more.

Long known for her flagship espadín La Niña del Mezcal’s Cecilia Murrieta is releasing intriguing bottles that span the agave spirits universe. La Niña del Mezcal Bacanora

The details:

- Location: San Pedro de la Cueva, Sonora - Agave: Agave yaquiana - Maestro Mescalero: Rafael Encinas - Bottle: 627 / 1000 - Batch No. : B001 - ABV: 48%

The background:

Bacanora has had it’s own Denominación since 2000 but it’s been traditionally produced in Sonora for quite some time. Unfortunately not many variations are imported, mostly we’ve had to rely on samizdat bottles that we bring in ourselves or find on friends’ bars. To date the most prominent brand imported in the United States is Cielo Rojo.

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