Log in for prices and ordering

Madre Mezcal: Kindred Spirits - Ultra-Pure Mezcal from the Oaxacan Highlands…

Madre Mezcal: Kindred Spirits - Ultra-Pure Mezcal from the Oaxacan Highlands…

Have you heard the one about the foreigner who went to Mexico and ‘discovered’ Mezcal? Probably, and more than once. Which is why Chris Stephenson is a bit put out. He felt that no sooner had Madre taken off in the United States, much of the narrative around the spirit focussed the story on himself and his co-founders. He responded by printing the name of the producer of Madre’s principal Mezcal, Ensamble, on its front label.

Jose Ines Garcia Morales and his family have made Mezcal in their beautiful valley outside San Dionisio, Oaxaca, for generations. He is the nephew of Alberto ‘Beto’ Morales, of the respected Wahaka palenque, and his small operation is the definition of an artisanal craft distillery. Jose’s father and brothers lift and cut the agaves, his mother blesses the agave hearts before roasting, his wife plants new agaves on the land, and an extended group of uncles and cousins oversee the hours of distillation.

Drawing on the work of his father and grandfather before him, his palenque is certified Artesanal, meaning agave piñas are traditionally roasted in fire pits for up to five days and crushed using a horse-drawn tahona (stone wheel). Fermentation occurs outside in tinas (or oak vats) relying only on the microbe-rich airborne yeasts. The final process is double-distillation in two small wood-fired, heirloom copper stills.

When Madre first met Jose Morales, this tiny distillery could only manage 1,000 litres of Mezcal per day, and right off the bat, the mezcalero made it clear that he would only work with Madre if they were in it for the long term. “They wanted us to know what went into the Mezcal and how it was made”, explains Madre, “to build a deep understanding of the traditions of the region and the family.”

Almost immediately, the parties found common ground. Both believed that Mezcal’s signature smokiness, which comes from roasting the agave heart in rock-lined pits before fermentation, could obscure the plant’s vibrant, site-driven qualities. To this end, the Morales palenque does not allow the thick smoke from the roasting to infiltrate the fermentation and distillation processes, which take place on different days. 

This is one reason a Madre Mezcal tastes so clean and pure: it shows great respect for its raw ingredient's diverse and complex weave of mineral, floral and herbal flavours. Another is the high percentage of Cuishe used (in the Ensamble); a slow-growing, semi-wild agave that, while hard to work with, brings crispness and piquant savour to balance the intensity of the sweeter Espadin agave.

Some have termed Madre’s Mezcals as ‘Gateway’, in that their spirits are not defined by that often-polarising blanket of smokiness that dominates at the market’s entry-level. This is not something that Madre has shied away from. While smoke will always be part of the story, they want Madre to inspire a new generation of Mezcal drinkers while at the same time appealing to experienced Mezcal palates. And on both fronts, they are succeeding.

The combination of the puritan style, the qualities of the spirit and the inspired branding (by Austin-based design studio, Land) have proven to be explosive; despite being independently distributed, Madre has shot up to become the fastest-growing Mezcal brand in the US.

The Wines

Other Recent Releases

  • The Eyrie Vineyards
    The Eyrie Vineyards
    Put simply, Eyrie is an Oregon legend. In 1965, founder David Lett planted Willamette V...
    Put simply, Eyrie is an Oregon legend. In 1965, founder David Lett planted Willamette Valley’s first vines, and today, almost 60 years later, the e...

    Read more

  • Pax Wines
    Pax Wines
    Pax Mahle’s vibrant, spicy Syrahs were some of the stars of last year’s Wines of the US...
    Pax Mahle’s vibrant, spicy Syrahs were some of the stars of last year’s Wines of the USA tasting, and we expect no difference this year. Full of br...

    Read more

  • Sky Vineyards
    Sky Vineyards
    Lore Olds first stumbled upon the secluded, rugged slopes of Mount Veeder as a young wi...
    Lore Olds first stumbled upon the secluded, rugged slopes of Mount Veeder as a young winemaker at Beaulieu Vineyards in the mid-’60s. Captivated by...

    Read more

  • Maxime Graillot
    Maxime Graillot
    These are exciting times chez Graillot. On our last two visits we have been totally wow...
    These are exciting times chez Graillot. On our last two visits we have been totally wowed by what we’ve tasted, and this applies to the Domaine Ala...

    Read more

  • Toro Albalá
    Toro Albalá
    Toro Albalá needs little introduction as the world’s most significant producer of Pedro...
    Toro Albalá needs little introduction as the world’s most significant producer of Pedro Ximénez. Its astonishing, old, vintage-dated Pedro Ximénez ...

    Read more

  • Château Closiot
    Château Closiot
    For those who don’t know him, it may come as a surprise to hear that Burgundy’s enfant ...
    For those who don’t know him, it may come as a surprise to hear that Burgundy’s enfant terrible—and the winemaker behind one the greatest domaines ...

    Read more

  • Garagiste
    Garagiste
    As the old saying goes, sometimes you’ve got to rob Peter to pay Paul. It’s a stark rea...
    As the old saying goes, sometimes you’ve got to rob Peter to pay Paul. It’s a stark reality that yields in Victoria have been far less than ideal f...

    Read more

  • Murdoch Hill
    Murdoch Hill
    Michael Downer is no stranger to the awards circuit, yet even so, the recent clutch of ...
    Michael Downer is no stranger to the awards circuit, yet even so, the recent clutch of accolades points to an estate operating at the top of its ga...

    Read more

  • Lethbridge Wines
    Lethbridge Wines
    Few growers across the world could have pursued their dream of planting a vineyard with...
    Few growers across the world could have pursued their dream of planting a vineyard with such rigour as Maree Collis and Ray Nadeson. Starting in 19...

    Read more

View All Offers