I arrived in Oaxaca and was waiting to receive my luggage when I noticed him. I just didn’t know who he was.
Also waiting for his luggage was a guy wearing a jacket emblazoned with the Convite Mezcal logo. I approached him and introduced myself and soon learned I was talking to Jorge Vera, Co-Founder of Convite. My eye was caught because I had seen the Convite brand rumbling around twitter and other social media.
We soon met up in town to share a cup of coffee and then I had the privilege to spend a long day with him and his mezcaleros out in San Baltazar. I count that day, lasting past dark, as one of the best of my days in Oaxaca. That night, sharing a meal, sitting under the stars, with no electricity, talking about God, life and mezcal alongside a family of master mezcaleros and Jorge was just so, so… “Gibila gibila!”**
Naturally, I asked Jorge to add to our 5 Mezcals Everyone Needs to Experience series.
Thanks Jorge for your list, presented here in no particular order.
Viejo Indecente – This is a bold choice given that Indecente is cooked in a steam oven, as opposed to the classic wood fired conical oven. This eliminates the traditional smokiness associated with mezcal. Jorge gets the Espadin which he calls simply a different mezcal, kind of like a dessert mezcal.
Tierra de Canto – Like Viejo Indecente, this mezcal comes from the area surrounding Miahuatlán, south of Oaxaca City. Again, Jorge says try their Espadin, made traditionally, complete with wood fired conical rock oven. If you go to their website, check out their song to learn the origins of their brand name.
Koch – I think everyone serious about mezcal has a bottle of Koch in their collection. Made in San Baltazar, their line is extensive but Jorge leans to their Tobalá, made from the king of the agaves.
Herencia de Sanchez – So this one is going to be hard to find. The Sanchez family is behind this line and of course, Mezcal Rey Campero. Made deep in the hills of Oaxaca near Candelaria Yegolé, Jorge says look for their Sierra Negra, a real rarity.
Real Matlatl – These guys, from the House of Don Tacho, are almost invisible in the social media world, but their mezcal is fantastic. If you want a special drink, Jorge recommends their Cerrudo. I remember trying this when they first made it years ago and it is still one of my favorites. Available at the source in Matatlán.
So there you have it, 5 Mezcals Everyone Needs to Experience, from Jorge Vera of Convite Mezcal, owners of one of the most unique bottles in the mezcal world.
** Loosely translated, “gibla gibla” means freakin’ awesome in the local dialect of Zapotec spoken in San Baltazar Guelavila, Oaxaca, where Convite is made.