VOLUME 09 - Side B
Manzana O.D.V. - Isidro Rodriguez
Cuishe-Tepeztate - Lalo Ángeles
Espadín con Quiote - Dani Ángeles
Destilado de Manzana
52.2% September, 2022
Río de Parras, Queréndaro, Mich.
At the beginning of September, The Rodguez family harvested the annual crop of apples from their 50-something trees. Like most farmers in the area, they grow a diverse mix of crops throughout the year, which they sell at the markets in nearby Morelia. Normally, the apples that are too bruised get eaten by the family or fed to their animals. This year, Isidro decided to take a pile of them to the vinata to see what he could do.
Starting with 500kg Rayada varietal apples (similar to Pink Lady apples) and 500kg California varietal apples (similar to Fuji apples), the team mashed the fruit by hand in their eucalyptus canoas. No need to roast the apples as they would with agave since, unlike agave, the raw fruit already has plenty of fermentable sugars. Next, the resulting juice, pulp, skins, stems and seeds were all loaded into a underground fermentation pit, and topped with spring water. For this batch, Isidro didn’t add any of the pulque he would normally use when working with agave. Instead, he introduced several packets of store bought baker’s yeast. The mash was allowed to ferment for 10 days, before being loaded into the filipino stills and run for two passes. The result was about 50 liters of high-proof apple eau de vie.
47.0% June, 2022
Santa Catarina Minas, Oax.
This batch is the first time Lalo has brought these two very different plants together in a mezcla. Cuishe (A. rhodacantha), a species known as “mexicano” in many other parts of Oaxaca, is a large, cultivated varietal that grows best in well-fertilized soil, alongside corn. Tepeztate (A. marmorata) is as wild a they come, thriving on rocky slopes with soil that would be a non-starter for most other plants. The mezcal each varietal produces, is quite different as well. The sugar rich cuishe typically yield sweet, velvety, tropical, chocolatey notes, whereas a classic tepeztate profile is dry, herbaceous and mineral driven. In short, there’s nothing about the two plants that makes for an obvious pairing, but, in Lalo’s ongoing re-exploration of mezclas, he judges the success of experiments by what he/we learn about what happens when plants are roasted, mashed, fermented and distilled together. Beyond his commitment to empiricism, Lalo judges the quality of each batch (single varietal or mezcla) on how well it conveys the plants and place from which it comes - if a mezcal tastes good, but doesn’t exemplify the plants and terroir behind it, the mezcalero hasn’t done a good job. Of course, it’s to undervalue “tasty” when that’s the minimum of everything you do, but we should all be so lucky.
Espadín con Quiote
49% August, 2022
Santa Catarina Minas, Oax.
All the agave used in this batch grew on Lalo’s land, was planted, tended to, capón-ed and finally harvested by Lalo and his team.
Like everything at Palenque La Candelaria, the agaves were roasted underground, mashed by hand, fermented naturally, and distilled in clay pots. When the resulting destilado had been captured and cooled down for a few days, Dani got to work.
“I tasted the cuerpo (hearts) and realized it didn’t have much alcohol, that is, it wasn’t so strong… and the flavor profile that espadín con quiote should have, wasn’t present,” Dani said. Probably, during the distillation process, the cuts to separate the cuerpo from the colas (tails) happened too late, meaning the containers of cuerpos already had some colas in them. Based on the starting point she was given, she decided only to adjust the cuerpos by adding puntas (heads) - no need for more colas than what had already worked their way into the batch - raising the ABV to 49%. The added alcohol heightened the intensity while also accentuating the mellow notes that should be present in a batch made from espadín con quiote.
“The work of composing and adjusting mezcales is basically one decision after another. Like everything in the artistic world, a creative process also involves a decision making process of accepting and discarding, and moving and removing."
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