Whenever you hear the phrase mezcal, your response could also be salivation or the other, however as with most acquired tastes, it takes some experimentation to discover a taste profile that resonates. Whereas Oaxaca mezcal manufacturers get all the celebrity, those from Guanajuato state enchantment to sippers like me who usually gravitate extra towards tequila and different spirits that don’t style or scent like a campfire.
There’s some proof that distilled agave began on this area anyway, again when productive silver mines began booming and the Spanish settled in with their tools and distillation information. So Guanajuato mezcal stands out as the authentic.. A couple of mezcal distilleries have been producing for greater than 200 years and there’s an extended custom in two areas of the state.
We touched on the San Luis de la Paz space, close to Mineral de las Pozas, in this function story however on this newest journey I wished to discover the San Felipe area.
The “Mezcal Route” of Guanajuato is extra of an idea than an precise route so that you’ll have to be higher at planning than the 4 of us have been after we set out for San Felipe with a couple of names and Google maps on the telephone. Or ideally, you join with a driver who is aware of the world properly to take you from Guanajuato Metropolis or Leon as much as the spread-out San Felipe area for some mezcal tastings.
San Felipe Mezcal Tasting Notes
It’s troublesome to search out mezcal from San Felipe in shops even in Mexico, the place it appears to seem in regional bars extra typically. Those that prefer it are inclined to want they’d purchased extra later since it may be laborious to search out, so if it strikes a chord, you would possibly wish to get some further bottles on website.
There are three key issues to find out about mezcal from San Felipe. First, that is an official appellation of origin space for the spirit, so sure it’s the true deal. Second, the producers don’t go overboard on the smoking of the agave/maguey fruits and a few really cook dinner them in ovens like tequila as a substitute of in a smoldering pit. To me that makes them way more refined and permits extra nuances to shine by as a substitute of the flavour profiles being buried in a haze.
Final, whereas there’s a little of the espadin number of agave right here that’s so frequent in Oaxaca, it’s uncommon, so the mezcal on this space is mostly comprised of salmiana, mapisaga, or one referred to as parrys.
Visiting Villasuso Distillery
We set out on this Guanajuato mezcal journey with grand plans to hit a number of distilleries within the San Felipe area however didn’t notice how spread-out the area was till we obtained there. Generally the journey alone is price it although and that was the case this time. The highway from the Silao space (close to the Leon-Guanajuato Airport) heads by a go within the mountains and goes by beautiful canyons and ridges on the way in which north.
We began off with success although, with the GPS correctly main us properly previous the city of San Felipe to Villasuso distillery. A small billboard clued us in that the farm gate was the doorway we have been searching for and we pulled in to the just about empty car parking zone. The within was empty too, so we walked round and took some images, figuring somebody would discover us when the time was proper, on Mexican time.
Ultimately one of many members of the family motioned us inside and arrange a tasting with small plastic cups. The reasons have been all in Spanish and I missed the that means on a few of them, however we tasted three completely different variations, from barrel hooch to their premium bottle model.
Then the patriarch appeared and led us to the again the place we may see the fermentation and distillation course of in movement. The informal methods and open containers would most likely give U.S. well being inspectors sheets of points to complain about, however they’ve been making mezcal at Villasuso for generations and what they’ve been doing works. They nonetheless roast the maguey in brick ovens, squeeze the juice out with a volcanic rock tahona, then ferment and distill in the identical tanks which have labored since 1920. See extra in English on their official web site.
In the long run, I couldn’t resist the temptation to replenish my very own empty bottle I’d introduced alongside for a mere $4. Certainly one of my buddies that was alongside clearly had extra refined plans for his bottle although and acquired the very best providing from the corporate as a substitute.
A Tasting of Jaral de Berrio Mezcal
Our subsequent vacation spot was Jaral de Berrio, a distillery I used to be positive needed to be situated someplace within the hacienda of the identical title because the hacienda options prominently on the advertising and marketing and bottle labels. I used to be stymied after we arrived on the town and located the hacienda to be boarded up with the doorways chained closed. We wandered across the outdated stone ovens from the colonial age after which across the block to see if there was some sort of aspect entrance.
There was no aspect entrance, however we discovered a tasting space anyway. The corporate that produces underneath the model names Jaral de Berrio and Mezcal Marques has a distribution storefront of their namesake city since apparently the precise distillery is out within the countryside. One smiling girl arrange a tasting for us on prime of cardboard packing containers so we may strive what they produce.
This firm can hint its historical past again to the late 1700s, so you may say that is the unique model of what we now know as mezcal. They steam their agave in ovens although, with no smoke within the combine, so to me the flavour profile is way more attention-grabbing than your typical mezcal. Once I popped open a bottle a couple of months later at a celebration, I heard phrases like pineapple, melon, and pepper thrown out, which is a refreshing change from regular tastings of this spirit.
That’s not what some individuals need when tasting this specific spirit although so the hard-core followers could discover Guanajuato mezcal from San Felipe disappointing. For me it was a vivid change. One different good change right here for me: a reposado model that has some oak getting older to mellow out the flavors and add some refinement. It’s comprised of 100% salmiana agave.
Different San Felipe Distilleries
We tried in useless to search out a few different Guanajuato mezcal distilleries I discovered imprecise references to on-line, considering it might be simpler than it was. After we broke down and requested the locals, we obtained shrugs or have been despatched on wild goose chases. Ultimately we gave up and had a giant lunch as a substitute then did a brief tour of San Felipe’s city middle.
If I’m going again once more, I’ll head to San Felipe city once more and attempt to find Torres Mochas distillery.
I’ll additionally attempt to attain Penca y Piedra by its Fb web page and arrive when it’s potential to get a tour and a tasting. It appears to be like like they’re performing some attention-grabbing issues and discovering methods to get served in Guanajuato Metropolis and San Miguel de Allende.
Preserve your eyes open if you happen to’re in a kind of locations and provides mezcal a second likelihood as a sipping spirit.
This publish was made potential by a sponsor partnership with Guanajuato State Tourism. As all the time, we solely cowl features of Latin American journey that we expect will curiosity our readers and all opinions are our personal.
Article by Timothy
Timothy Scott is the founder and editor of Luxurious Latin America and has been masking the area as a journey journalist because the mid-2000s. He has visited every nation we cowl a number of occasions and is predicated in a UNESCO World Heritage metropolis in central Mexico, the place he owns a house. See contact data right here.