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Ed Draves

  1. Mezcal: The Importance of Being There

    Visit the home of Mezcal

    One of the great perks of working in the wine industry is world travel.

    I’ve traveled to wineries and tasted wines across New York, Pennsylvania, Canada, Germany and France. Meeting the people who grow the grapes, care for the vineyards and make the wine is a valuable experience to bring back to customers, associates and friends.

    Once I was flown with about two dozen retailers, restaurateurs and wholesalers to Germany for a whirlwind tour of various vineyards. We saw the vineyards, tasted the wine, and listened to history, many times through a translator. We felt the sun over the vines, saw where the slope faced a local river for radiant heat, touched the soil and sampled the traditional local cuisine. Through all that, we found a connection with local growers and families that had farmed there for more generations than anyone could count.

    Could all the “information” we received have been more efficiently sent via an email, fax, or by and sending

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  2. Rey Campero Mezcal

    Rey Campero Mezcal

    This is a repost of a blog I do for a Mexican tourism blog called Dave Miller's Mexico (https://davemillersmexico.wordpress.com). Once a year, I travel to Mexico where I visit several Palenques (Mezcal Distilleries) and taste dozens of Mezcals. We had to drive about 2-3 hours up winding dirt roads and through a river bed to get to Rey Campero, but it was well worth the trip. On a happy note, we will be carrying most of these Mezcals by the end of this week.

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  3. Espiritu Lauro Mezcal

    Brand… Espiritu LauroEspiritu Lauro

    Category… Ensamble… 70% Espadin, 30% Karwinskii… 40% Alcohol

    Origin… Amatengo, Oaxaca

    Tasting Notes… This has a fresh minerally nose, mild smoke with subtle floral notes. There is some nice body on entry, viscous with very strong notes of pine that give way to even more mineral on the slightly sweet, long finish. This is a nice mezcal. I’d serve it straight up or with a little pineapple juice. If you are creative, consider adding a little vanilla ice cream and some mandarin oranges. It could make a great dessert!

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  4. More Mezcal! The Delicious Meteoro

    Legend has it that many years ago a meteor fell from the sky and hit Oaxaca, Mexico. It was then that a local mezcalero decided to use the red hot pit left from the impact to cook his magueys before distilling them into mezcal.

    Meteoro
    Category… 100% Joven Espadin, 45% Alcohol

    Origin… Las Margaritas, Oaxaca

    Tasting Notes… Very pretty floral, sweet nose showing mild heat. This pleasant mezcal really opens up in the glass. Upon entry there’s that heat, citrus peel and then — BAM! Lots of mineral carrying through on the finish with the citrus peel peeking through. Maybe that’s the meteor effect. Wine lovers will recall a similarity with high end bone dry Riesling,

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  5. El Buho Mezcal!

    Many of our customers know that aside from being a "wine guy" I also have a passion for Mezcal. I make a yearly pilgrimage to Oaxaca, Mexico to visit palenques (distilleries) and taste several Mezcals that cannot be found in the US. I also contribute to a well known Blog about Mexican Culture and Tourism "Dave Miller's Mexico". I recently sampled El Buho, a Mezcal purchased right off our store's shelf. Here is a copy of my review:
    Tasting Notes...Pretty, floral, fresh nose showing pine forest hints. It is very delicate and pleasant. Viscous mouth coating texture with little hint of alcohol on entry. The pine character comes to the forefront followed by intense mineral and citrus flavors. A little touch of heat carries the long finish where the mineral/citrus peel flavors remain.
    Additional Thoughts

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  6. Evening Coffee with Mezcal

    With these cool evenings, I look forward to cool nights and a nice cup of coffee on the porch or by a backyard fire. I add a little Wahaka Reposado con Gusado Mezcal to my coffee to give it a kick. The Gusado (worm) adds a neat little flavor with the smokiness of the Reposado and takes me back to Oaxaca!

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  7. Wahaka Mezcal (Part 2): Where it Comes from

    At the Premier Group, one of the reasons we like to visit wineries and distilleries it to get a feel for the place our products come from as well as get to know the people and traditions of the region. This philosophy of discovery has made us a top retailer and has also lead to some relationships with great people over the years.

    My meeting with Paco Garcia from Wahaka Mezcal was supposed to be a short tour and tasting. As he sensed my desire to really know his Mezcal and my love of Oaxaca, he asked if I would open my whole day to him. I jumped at the chance.

    I had the opportunity to see all three types of Maguey (a type of Agave plant used for Mezcal) up close, to touch them and see where they are grown.  I would later get to taste the delicious and unique Mezcal that each plant produces.

    The farmed Espadin (I think this is what most people picture when they think of Agave plants)

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  8. Wahaka Mezcal (Part 1): How it is Crafted

    Fine, handcrafted Mezcal is a growing category in the Spirits industry. One of the finest Premier carries is the Wahaka Brand from San Dionisio Ocotepec, Oaxaca, Mexico.

    Francisco Garcia

    On a recent trip to Oaxaca, I was given the opportunity to visit, taste and meet with Wahaka's Mezcal Aficionado, Francisco Garcia. Among other things, Francisco shared the methods for making fine Mezcal with me.

    Francisco explained that Mezcal is made from Maguey (from the Agave Family) slowly roasted in an open, earthen pit, filled with heated (until it is molten hot!) river rock, covered with a protective layer of crushed Maguey "must" from a previous batch. The Maguey is slow roasted for a

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  9. Special Breast Cancer Awareness Blog: Merritt Winery

    The fight against breast cancer has another weapon in its arsenal. William and Jason Merritt, owners of Merritt Winery released details of their latest campaign this morning.

    Beginning this afternoon, Merritt will offer rebates to their customers on purchases of all Merritt products now through January 1st, 2013. Not only will Merritt offer customers the opportunity to donate the rebate to the American Cancer Society, but will match all rebate donations submitted to the company.

    “We believe the fight against breast cancer extends beyond the month of October.” said William Merritt, owner of Merritt Winery. “Originally, we were going to focus the campaign on our XTC wines, since the label and logo feature the color pink.” (Pink is the nationally recognized color of the annual October Cancer Awareness Campaign) “But after further discussion, we decided to offer the program across our entire line of wines for the remainder of 2012.” said

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  10. Visiting Chautauqua

    Sometimes a short day trip can be the most fun. I took a wonderful trip down to Chautauqua Wine Country last Sunday. The leaves were just starting to turn and the view was wonderful. I made a stop at Merritt Estate winery and tried all the new releases; they were all delicious, including the new Pomegranate wine, XTC! We then stopped at a nice restaurant, called the Colony, for a German style Sausage dinner. It was a very nice way to spend the afternoon.

    Chautauqua is home to many good local wineries as well as some great attractions. With all the great (and well deserved) press Niagara Escarpment and Finger Lake wines and attractions receive; it can be easy to over look our neighbors to the South. That would be a mistake. Next time you have a free Sunday afternoon, hop in the car and visit Lake Erie Wine Country. You will be glad you did

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