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Don Mateo K&L Exclusive Pechuga Mezcal (750ml) (Previously $100)

SKU #1450115

The Vieyras are widely regarded as one of Michoacán's very best distillers, but this special bottling, unlike the standard Don Mateo, is Delia's special recipe. Delia Vargas Vieyra is literally the quintessential Mexican matriarch. She welcomed us at the Vinyata when we visited in February and was feeding us immediately. This special batch of Pechuga (despite what the labels say) began with a blend of Cupreata and Cenizo. Roasted over sustainably harvested (no green wood) pine and oak with a tiny bit of mesquite as a starter. Crushed manually and fermented naturally in oak vats before being distilled on two wooden stills, one made of pine and the other from Oyamel (sacred fir). The wooden stills have the unique property of softening the smoke and adding wonderfully complex, yet subtle flavors similar to the use of clay pots in Oaxaca. Finally, within the still Delia suspended a careful mixture of turkey, venison, rabbit and iguana. These unusual flavors are balanced by Tejacote (crab apple), stone fruits, clove, cinnamon, almonds and other flavors. The resulting mezcal produced just 395 liters and was rested for 6 months in glass before being bottled without an addition of water of any kind (again, ignore the label). Despite the wild sounding recipe, this incredible Mezcal from Maestra Mezcalera Delia Vargas Vieyra is one of the most approachable and overtly delicious we've ever had. A truly unique expression of the terroir of Michoacán that will simply never be replicated.

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Product Reviews:

By: Jeffrey Jones | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 12/23/2019 | Send Email
This is delicious and interesting. The nose has very light smoke with savory and pretty citrus notes. In the mouth it is very complex with a fantastic depth of flavors. A wonderful interaction of savory, citrus and other fruit flavors, and a subtle hint of meat, packaged in a creamy moth feel , this is a Mezcal worth taking a look at.

By: Jackson Lee | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 12/20/2019 | Send Email
Beyond the distillates, what I love about Suro imports is the amount of transparency and information they offer with their products. Looking at this bottle you have everything you need to know about the juice inside. They tell you where the agave comes from, how many liters were produced, all of the ingredients and processing techniques as well as the mezcalera (what's not mentioned is that no water was used to make the proofing adjustments and they also snuck in some agave cenizo). There are three unique traits about this pechuga: Made in Michoacan, it uses unique stills and processes from the majority of mezcales that come out of Oaxaca. The master distiller is a woman, and the proteins used come from the turkey (traditional) as well as Venison, Iguana, and Rabbit. With all of that being said, the Cupreata used in this is roasted underground, mashed by hand, fermented in underground wooden tanks for eight days and distilled using a filipino-style wood still.

This all adds up to a wonderful pechuga exclusive to K&L only. The nose was citrusy, giving off strong notes of tangerine peel before delving into creamy custard, ice plants, green strawberries, overripe mango, and granite. 48% abv seemed to be the sweetspot for this bottling with there being little discernible heat until you got to the back end of the dram. It has a slightly oily texture and tastes reminiscent of preserved lemon cheesecake and sweet cucumber skin on the back end of the palate. The finish was long and exemplary, notes of pine forest stuck around with cucumber custard.

By: David Othenin-Girard | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 12/10/2019 | Send Email
In February 2019, I travelled to Michoacán with the incredible Suro Imports to explore the wonderful mezcals of this underappreciated region. Michoacán has a vibrant culture of mezcal production, but the dominance of Oaxaca in the marketplace and the daunting complexity of the American market has made it completely out of reach. Thankfully, David Suro has committed to making mezcal from Michoacán a thing and we're now seeing high quality production at extremely reasonable prices hitting the market from a variety of producers. Suro and I visited the Emilio Vieyra's Vinyata (equivalent of the word winery as in Vino de Mezcal) Don Mateo. It's widely regarded as one of the region's very best. The old distillery is located in a area appropriately named Pino Bonito, a dense Pine and Oak forest, less than an hour outside of Morelia. At the base of a winding dirt road, the little Palenque is situated completely out of view from the main road and has several security fences to cross before entry. This part of Michoacán is relatively safe, it was not always that way, the Vieyra's have been targeted before due to their success and take every precaution to keep their property safe. We arrive and immediately feel at home. Emilio and his mother Delia are the most inviting and hospitable duo you could imagine. They're feeding us thick handmade bean tacos before we get started. Today we're distilling Pechuga of Delia's own recipe. She's an incredible cook and is manning the kitchen when we arrive while her son and his team prepare the stills. It is her recipe that is being distilled and her face on the bottle. She's created this special recipe exclusively for us as true expression of her heart and soul. The quintessential Mexican matriarch distilled spiritually and physically to her most pure form. After beginning the distillation, we loaded up into the back of two pickups and headed out to see the agave fields, mezcal in hand. The primary agave used here is Cupreata. This wonderful varietal has the quirk of not reproducing asexually, as most agave species do, so full sexual reproduction is required. That means they must leave several of the plants to reach full maturity for pollination to obtain seeds. The main pollinator for this plant are several species of bat that migrate across Mexico, following the agave bloom each season. The bats feast on the sweet nectar of the agave flower and cover themselves in pollen to help propagate this special plant. Once the seeds are thrown, they're collected and cared for in an adjacent nursery before being replanted on the hillside. The rancho, El Limon, where most of the agave for this batch were grown is just a few miles from the Vinyata, but the drive takes nearly 2 hours. The amount of effort it takes to produce one batch of mezcal here is absolutely flabbergasting. Backbreaking work from this first moment of its inception, until the final moment of bottling, yet the Vieyra's do it with pride and an extreme sense of joy. When we returned to the palenque, Delia has Picadillo de Conejo ready and waiting for lunch. In most of Mexico, this dish would look more like hash, but here it is an rich oily rabbit stew that's so perfectly spicy it makes your eyes water while you uncontrollably scoop up another spoonful. The perfect pair for a sweet smoky mezcal. When we returned the next morning, the distillation is finished. They've separated the heads, heart and tails, into 5 different sections. Each will be tested for compliance with regulatory limits and if they pass, they'll be blended together and rested for a minimum of 6 months. We ask that they not add any water to our batch, which is unusual for the Vieyra's, and they agree (note that the labels are for the standard Pechuga and were not amended to exclude this element). We also used some Cenizo in this batch, which was harvest at their other rancho about 30 miles to the south. This info is also not included on the label. This incredible batch of Pechuga, one of the finest mezcals of any kind that we've ever had the privilege of selling, is absolutely one of kind. Typically, when we see Pechuga we're expecting to charge close to $200, but this special batch is selling for nearly half the price of its Oaxacan rivals. It's equal if not better in every way to even the most special offerings from Oaxaca. Pechuga is meant to help celebrate the holidays and the harvest. I can't think of a better way to do that than this incredible product. The nose is a bevy of wild aromas -smoked citrus, roast apple, guava, fresh lime, mango peel, lacquer, numbing clove, hints of carne seca and balsam wood. The wild palate is rich and oily, with the smoky oak aromatics mingling with the bright citrus and stone fruit aromatics perfectly. This thing absolutely loves air and I think, unlike almost any other spirit in the world, will actually significantly improve from even these incredible heights in the bottle. We've bought every drop of this batch, but I'm buying cases to age and enjoy over the next decade as we never know when a spirit of this quality will come across our path again.

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