Typically, a vertical tasting consists of three (or more) different batches of the same product. The concept of a vertical tasting was first introduced to me at King Bee in Austin, TX. King Bee has done some great vertical tastings in the past, and my first experience was a Rey Campero vertical tasting, which included three different batches (from three different years) of Rey Campero Tepextate. While each batch was great in its own right, they were all slightly different and displayed varied characteristics in flavor, aroma, and body.
If you’re unfamliar with mezcal Pechuga, check out our Blind Tasting: Mezcal de Pechuga blog post. Certain towns in Oaxaca use traditional local Pechuga recipes to create favorable flavors and profiles that are unique to that specific area. In theory, any Pechuga made in a town that has a Gusto Historico is using the same or a very similar recipe to all other Pechuga producers in that town. Santa Catarina Minas is home to a Gusto Historico that produces some of the finest Pechuga available on the market, and Real Minero is at the forefront of that production.
Real Minero Pechuga Line Up
|2014 Real Minero Pechuga||Don Lorenzo Angeles||Batch RMP-01||51.7%||180/865|
|2016 Real Minero Pechuga||Don Lorenzo & Graciela Angeles||Batch RMP-04||50%||02/126|
|2017 Real Minero Pechuga||Edgar Angeles||Batch RMP-05||48.7%||234/440|
What’s interesting about these three batches of Pechuga is that their production involved different members of the Angeles family. Nowadays, all Real Minero is produced by Edgar Angeles (son of Don Lorenzo and brother of Graciela Angeles), making this vertical tasting a bit more unique. You can read more about the family’s production in our post Mezcal Real Minero: Distillery Tour and Tasting.
2014 Real Minero Pechuga - Don Lorenzo Angeles
Don Lorenzo, the late patriarch of the Angeles family, spent almost his entire life making beautiful mezcals, and he had truly mastered the art of Pechuga. I purchased this bottle on the evening of his passing in 2016, shortly after the launch of this website. This 2014 RMP-01 Pechuga is one of the most well-renowned Pechugas on the market. Reviews, comments, and photos of this batch are frequently posted all over social media, Reddit, and foodie blogs. In many ways, this batch has become synonymous with the characteristics that many desire in a Pechuga. Here’s what we thought:
“The nose is meaty with honey. The palate has a citrus kick, grape candy, graham crackers, grilled fig, and strawberries. Rich and chocolaty.” — Tyler
“Honeydew smell with brown sugar flavor. Sweet with hints of meat and brine.” — Chris
“Sweet with light syrup flavor. Slightly meaty and thick, with additional notes of licorice and all spice.” — Luke
“Aromas of anise, tangerine and vanilla bean. First is euphoric, ethereal. Thick with chicken fat. The palate is a balance of fresh fruit and spices. This is outrageously good.” — Jonny
2016 Real Minero Pechuga - Don Lorenzo & Graciela Angeles
While Graciela has been around her father’s mezcal production her entire life, her responsibilities for Real Minero are more operational. She really drives the branding, marketing, and distribution of their mezcal. Before his passing, her father produced the mezcal, and now her brother Edgar is the sole producer, which makes this specific batch of Pechuga an anomaly. This batch from Graciela was produced while her father, Don Lorenzo, was sick in the hospital, just before he passed away. He had already completed the first two distillations of this batch, and Graciela completed the third and final distillation, which includes adding the traditional special recipe of herbs, spices, and chicken breast into the still. I got this bottle late in the evening on the first day that I met Graciela. We’d spent a long afternoon at Edgar’s house in Minas, watching the sunset, playing with firearms, and eating an incredible dinner prepared by Edgar’s wife. Here’s what we thought about this batch:
“Lighter than the 2014, with notes of black tea, snicker-doodle cookies, and chicken foie gras. This is elegant and approachable.” — Tyler
“More chicken on the back end of the palate and super mellow up front. Hints of nuts and fresh fruit.” — Chris
“Hearty notes of meat with a bit of spiciness, like jalapeno. Strong chicken notes mixing with cinnamon finish.” — Luke
“Aromas of chicken and wild game. This has much wilder aromas than the 2014. The palate is super chicken heavy with a bit of chocolate and ground nuts on the back end.” — Jonny
2017 Real Minero Pechuga - Edgar Angeles
Like Graciela, Edgar spent his entire childhood in and around their father’s palenque. After high school, he went to college to become an architect, and he worked for an architecture firm in Mexico City for many years before his father passed away. The palenque that is currently used by Real Minero was designed by Edgar. It’s truly a remarkable facility as he was able to maximize natural airflow and he designed the building in a way that uses gravity and a series of ramps to make it as easy as possible to move from cooking to crushing to fermentation to distillation to aging-in-glass. He took over production of all Real Minero in early 2017. I received this bottle as a wedding gift from my friends (It was not on the registry, but make sure to put it on yours). Here’s what we thought about his first solo batch of Pechuga:
“Notes of herbs, anise, raisins, dark chocolate, and cherry candy with a thick mouthfeel and coffee finish. This is my favorite of the three as it has a total package of flavor.” — Tyler
“Thick with tropical fruit.” — Chris
“Heavy and thick with notes of licorice and medium chicken. The mouthfeel almost sticky a it coats the mouth.” — Luke
“This tastes like a combination of the two previous Pechuga. It has lots of anise, but less than the 2014. It has lots of chicken, but less than the 2016. It’s probably the most balanced between the spice and meat flavors. It’s the most rich and thickest, most viscous, out of the three. It’s incredible.” — Jonny
All three of these mezcals had slightly different characteristics, but there were far more similarities than there were differences, which is really what Gusto Historico is all about, finding that historic and traditional taste. Given the success of Edgar’s first solo Pechuga, it’s safe to say that the legacy of the Real Minero Pechuga will carry on.
Have you tried any of these batches? Or any batches not included in this tasting? Or any other Pechuga from Santa Catarina Minas? If so, let us know below.