Folk Art You Can Drink-Vino de Mezcal
The expressions in the Del Maguey, Vino de Mezcal Series are hand selected by Founder, Ron Cooper to represent a slice of deep culture in very limited quantities. The Vino de Mezcal Series is about bringing truly limited-production, terroir-driven, mezcals from select varietals to the world. Some varietals are wild. Others are not. All are celebrated and known to the Zapotec that honor Del Maguey with their wisdom. Before the notion of Mezcal or Tequila as spirits categories, agave based spirits from anywhere in Mexico were traditionally referred to as “Vino de Mezcal,” with various creations enjoyed for centuries by the earliest cult fans. The first mention of tequila as a beverage is in the town of Tequila’s tax record of 1873. There is an entry showing that three barrels of vino de mezcal de la region de tequila, “mezcal wine from the region of tequila,” were sent to Santa Fe, New Mexico via El Paso, Texas. Sip it, Don’t Shoot it!
100% Agave Espadin
For fifteen years our producer of Tobala (we never tell his name as he is such a treasure) had asked Del Maguey to bring in his mezcal made from Espadin, the genetic mother of the blue agave. At the insistence of a group of very special friends – dedicated Connoisseurs, Educators and “Cantineros” – we made the first run just for them. That first release consisted of only 330 bottles that were given to Del Maguey family in New York, Boston and California. Amigos you know who you are… Thank you for encouraging us with your insistence. Espadin Especial is deliciously floral with a slight note of vanilla, citrus and a tropical note of pineapple with a bit of a caramel or butterscotch. Especial finishes with a saline quality that leaves you salivating for more.
San Luis Del Rio – Azul
100% Maguey Azul
During the agave scarcity in Jalisco 2000-2004 Jalisco truckers came down to purchase Espadin from our most powerful Palenquero, Paciano Cruz Nolasco, in order to sustain tequila production. They brought with them baby Maguey Azul to plant in case there was another shortage. Seven years later this maguey Azul is very mature and has been earth-roasted, fermented with airborne microbes, twice distilled, unblended the original, centuries-old Oaxacan, hand-crafted way. In the original 900 bottle edition we had the rare opportunity to taste a crossing of the flavors of tequila Jalisco, and mezcal Oaxaca. Azul has a distinctively creamy mouth feel with bright citrus notes and dried tropical fruit (banana chip). A sweet green herbaceous, wet stone quality appears with a touch of white peppercorn and a medium long finish.
San Jose Rio Minas
100% Maguey Espadin
Del Maguey brings you this very limited edition Vino de Mezcal series made in the remote Northern Mixteca Alta region of Oaxaca (wa-ha-ka) Mexico. This is the perfect example of the dicho: “You don’t find mezcal. Mezcal finds you.” We met Don Roberto going down a canyon lush with wild agaves in the middle of nowhere. He was out deer hunting with some friends many hours on foot from their village. Four hours back on our rocky, dirt road we were told about the village of Rio Minas but looking at a map it was obvious that it was a three hour detour on an even worse road, so we passed. Now four hours later we ran into this group of hunters all armed with rifles. We asked if they know of the mezcal of Rio Minas and Don Roberto laughed. He motioned to a buddy and the guy passed a half-liter plastic water bottle with an incredible mezcal inside made by the man standing in front of us. A bright sweet nose of papaya and ripe peaches gives way to a lightly sweet and very floral palate like carrying a bouquet of roses and violets. Rio Minas palate ends with pepper notes and an herbal component of Hoja Santa and eucalyptus resulting in a refreshing finish.
Silvestre (Wild) Maguey Expressions
Arroqueno – Santa Catarina Minas
100% Maguey Arroqueno
This Special Edition of 360 bottles made from giant semi-wild, maguey Arroqueño is dedicated to Thor Heyerdahl, Biologist, Explorer and Great Human Being. The magueys were roasted in a conical pit over hot rocks, buried with earth for three days, fermented with nothing but airborne microbes for thirty days, then twice -distilled very slowly in an ancient clay still with bamboo tubing the original, centuries-old Oaxacan, hand-crafted way. Arroqueño has notes of luscious melon on the palate, like cantaloupe and a bit of baking chocolate in the background. It is very vegetal, reminiscent of fresh green beans, with savory medium to long finish.
100% Wild Maguey Tepextate
Our producer of Tobala has offered Del Maguey another rare wild agave – the Tepextate (agave Marmorata) to join our Vino De Mezcal series. This plant has very broad twisted leaves about eight to ten inches wide and grows at high altitude almost vertical out of rocks in the sides of mountains. Tepextate offers a lighter body with a Bright candied fruit nose of banana taffy and spun sugar. The sweetness carries into the palate with notes of passion fruit and marzipan. A light cinnamon note of canela (organic Mexican sugar) lies in the background with floral notes of honeysuckle.
Wild Papalometl – San Pedro Teozacoalco
100% Wild Maguey Papalome
We met our first producer for our Vino De Mezcal series, Fernando Caballero Cruz five or six years ago at the annual Dia de los Magueyeros. He and his family live in the Mixteca Alta region. The trip in to Teozacoalco is about 5 hours on the worst rock and dirt road we have ever been on. The maguey Papalometl is named in Nahuatl for the butterfly (papalotl), Scientific name: agave Cupreata and looks like a giant Tobala. Distillation takes place in a stainless pot with a clay condensor and Carrizo (Mexican bamboo) tube. Earthy, dark and delicious. The nose is like sinking into a rich leather chair. A palate of leather, slate, a hint of black olive and meatiness. A medium long finish starting with slightly sweet notes of dark dried black cherries that gives way to an earthy, savory mushroom. Enjoy!
San Pedro Taviche
100% Maguey: Espadin, Tobala & Tepextate
100% Maguey Barril
This special edition from our Vino De Mezcal series is made from semi-wild maguey Barril and is dedicated to the remarkable talent of Florencio, “Don Lencho” Laureano Carlos Sarmiento, our eighty-year old master palenquero. Barril are the biggest, fattest of the Tobasiche, Madrecuishe, Cirial, Larga family. The magueys were roasted in a conical pit over hot rocks, buried under a cap of earth for three days, fermented with nothing but airborne microbes for thirty days, then twice distilled very slowly in an ancient style clay still with bamboo tubing, the centuries-old Oaxacan organic, hand-crafted way. A spicy floral nose of carnation, tropical aromatics of gardenia and jasmine, ripe pear, dark fig, notes of wet green hay and forest floor. Enters the mouth like a caramel, and is round, soft and gentle, full-bodied, with a big middle palate. The long finish tastes of roasted root vegetables and umami, leaving the mouth with terracotta, a slate-like minerality and a touch of salinity.
100% Maguey Madrecuixe
Del Maguey brings you a special limited edition from our Vino De Mezcal series made in lush, remote San Luis del Rio, Oaxaca where the Red Ant river flows. Madrecuixe is a wild tall cylindrical maguey like Tobasiche with leaves that grow from the ground up as opposed to Tobasiche that sheds its lower leaves as it grows leaving a bare dry cylindrical piña. These mature Madrecuixes have been earth-roasted, fermented with airborne microbes, twice distilled, unblended the original, centuries-old Oaxacan, hand- crafted way. What color is green? Banana leaf, green papaya, just-mown alfalfa, tarragon and fresh cut bamboo, give way to circus peanuts and sweet, fresh-forward tropical fruits of mango, pineapple and chicozapote. This extremely rare wild mezcal is silky, elegant, medium-bodied, with a long, dry, clean, dusty finish.
Mezcal De Puebla — San Pablo Ameyaltepec
100% Maguey Paplote
Del Maguey brings you a special limited edition. Aurelio Gonzalez Tobon is responsible for crafting this beautiful agave spirit. In spite of the fact that Puebla has one of the oldest traditions of distilling maguey in remote villages for centuries, the state just received a DO (Denominacion de Origen), and as such, it is now allowed to legally be called Mezcal. Ron first discovered the spirits of Ameyaltepec over ten years ago. From this semi-tropical Puebla valley, you can see north to smoke rising from Iztaccihuatl and Popocatepetl. The twelve to eighteen year old corazones (hearts) are roasted in an earthen horno (oven) below ground, fermented open air with ambient yeasts, and distilled to proof – one time, but passing through copper plates, in a resaque (also known as reflux) style alembic still. This is an incredibly floral spirit, forward with spicy carnation and lilac balancing perfectly ripe, tropically sweet fruit. It has crisp citrus notes, yet is creamy, round and soft in the mouth, almost like a fresh queso de cabra (goat cheese), and finishes with a delightful finesse, remarkable complexity, and a memorable minerality.