16 Responses

  1. Rachel Glueck at |

    Hooray for the changes! Let’s hope it’s only up from here.
    One question: when you say MAY include maguey fibers in fermentation and distillation…what are they using if not maguey fibers??

    Reply
    1. Jesús Montemayor at |

      Rachel,

      Some producers, with the intention of optimizing the fermentation and distillation process, extract all the juices from the fiber using water and other substances, thus eliminating the fiber from the process. This also eliminates some wonderful flavors and aromas from the final product.

      Reply
  2. […] latest update is that it sounds like the NORMA as proposed in meetings across Mexico and in a recent presentation by Danny Mena in NY is going to become law. The really big news is that Erick’s definition of a traditional […]

  3. Juan at |
    Reply
  4. Craig Denton at |

    John, i’m constantly amazed at your passion and appreciate the sharing. Of course the best sharing is when we are drinking this wonderful libation together.

    Reply
  5. Experience Mezcal at |

    John,

    Thanks for the update (and the props!).

    I realize and appreciate that you, I, and most of us agree this proposal is a step in the right direction. I’m just trying to support it a bit more strongly with these comments.

    The CRM very clearly wants mezcal to emulate Cognac’s DO more than that of Tequila, in many respects. One is opting for an insistence on quality and luxury pricing over volume and well pricing. I’m not sure where “the premium white spirit in the world” goal is stated, but if it’s from CRM, I’m sure they mean that in terms of reputation and prestige, not volume at a certain price point. The classifications of “artisanal” and “ancestral” are of course, in part, intended to create a price floor for the more authentic processes.

    I think the case of Cognac is illustrative too in terms of having a (to me) fairly complex system of classification / ranking, and Cognac by all accounts seems to be doing just fine. If we nurture and protect mezcal as a spirit category, these classifications _will_ become meaningful to the consumer. Again, in my estimation the goal is to increase the _quality_ of the consumer and establish a price floor that protects the producers, not to increase market share willy-nilly. The fact is that right now, _any_ mezcal can put “artisanal” on its label, and with this proposal, that would actually mean something. We will always have consumers who reach for the cheapest option, as we will always have consumers who reach for the most expensive option. The advantage of this classificatory scheme is that their dollars would be allocated somewhat more appropriately than they are now.

    One last lesser, nit-picky point: I think the practical difference between “artisanal” and “ancestral” is greater than you state. The requirement to use agave fiber in both fermentation and distillation is most certainly meaningful. Also, switching from copper to clay would imply more than just buying cheap clay pots and accepting a slower process. Distilling with clay is a painstaking process that takes decades of tutelage under a maestro to truly master. The “investment” would in fact involve bringing someone with experience on board.

    Thanks again for the report. Please drop me a line when you are in Mexico. Saludos!

    Reply
  6. Mario at |

    Damn! ….I had no idea! Just the idea of agave fracking rings extremely hallow….sad. But in a way makes me feel better about new attempts by “CRT” to categorize and disclose.

    Reply
  7. Edward at |

    After some thought (and an liberal sampling of Los Amantes joven), I think I’m mostly in favor of these changes. This will fix a major issue I’ve had with trying to determine if I want to try a new mezcal, and that is knowing whether or not it is really artisanal. The bottle often supplies few clues, and just going with “no worm” isn’t sufficient (yea, I’m looking at you, “Z”). The new categories will make that much clearer. It’s also helpful to know what agave species was used, but if it’s not espadin, they often already put that on the bottle.

    I think the average consumer is reasonably well served by this change. If you want the good stuff you buy “artisanal” or “ancestral.” That’s not unlike recommending “100% agave” for the tequila consumers.

    I’d like to see them restrict additives at the end to only be allowed for the mezcal category, no additives allowed for artisanal or ancestral except during distillation as in pechugas.

    And what the heck is matured in glass? Spirits generally don’t change once they’ve been bottled.

    Reply
  8. Mario at |

    Great article John. What it a diffuser?

    Reply

Post Comment