Sombra Artisanal Oaxacan Mezcal Takes Traditional Agave Distillation to New Heights

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When fine-wine innovator Richard Betts, MS joined forces with long time rosé maven and wine industry veteran Charles Bieler (Three Thieves/Rebel Wine Co. and Bieler Père et Fils) to bring Sombra mezcal to markets across the US two years ago, critics and drinkers alike were knocked out. Now their shared passion for artisan mezcal has led them to a new location, even higher in the Oaxacan Sierra, and to a new release of Sombra (“shadow” in Spanish) that raises the bar once again.

Sombra Bottle Shot Web Resolution Image

Sombra Artisanal Mezcal

“We come at it with a wine perspective,” says Betts, “which respects origin. The combination of the high altitude site, the purity of single variety agave and the smoking process all bring an amazing complexity to the result.”

When fine-wine innovator Richard Betts, MS joined forces with long time rosé maven and wine industry veteran Charles Bieler (Three Thieves/Rebel Wine Co. and Bieler Père et Fils) to bring Sombra mezcal to markets across the US two years ago, critics and drinkers alike were knocked out. Now their shared passion for artisan mezcal has led them to a new location, even higher in the Oaxacan Sierra, and to a new release of Sombra (“shadow” in Spanish) that raises the bar once again.

Sombra is made from organically farmed, single variety Espadin agave, sourced from the town of San Juan on the Rio Hormiga, more than 8,000 feet above sea level. The new agave “vineyard” comes with greater sun exposure, increased warmth, and greater ripeness of the agave at harvest, resulting in mezcal that is richer, prettier, and marked by even more exotic fruit qualities, while retaining the peppery spice and the signature smokiness. The new location has less mesquite available, so the roasting process relies entirely on oak, and the purity of the elixir is further protected with all-stainless steel storage (which is very uncommon).

The inspired bottling honors the region’s ancient methods, combining an earthen fire pit to roast the agave piñas, a horse-drawn tahona (or circular stone used to crush the agave), and wild yeast fermentation to allow full agave expression to emerge. “We come at it with a wine perspective,” says Betts, “which respects origin. The combination of the high altitude site, the purity of single variety agave and the smoking process all bring an amazing complexity to the result.” What’s more, he adds, “This mezcal conveys a distinct sense of euphoria to the imbiber. How cool is that?”

Retailing for $37 and distributed nationally in limited quantities by Classic & Vintage Artisanal Spirits Collection, a division of Domaine Select Wine Estates. Sombra is currently distributed in the following states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington. Visit http://www.sombraoaxaca.com to learn more.

Sombra (http://www.sombraoaxaca.com) is a micro batch, single village spirit made from organically farmed heritage Espadin agave from the high Sierra of Oaxaca, Mexico. Sourced and imported by the innovative vinous trio of Betts, Bieler and Scholl, Sombra is a testament to spirited exploration and a continuing respect for traditional methods of artisan production. Sombra is distributed nationally in limited quantities by Classic & Vintage Artisanal Spirits Collection, a division of Domaine Select Wine Estates, and retails for $37. Visit http://www.sombraoaxaca.com to locate the spirit in a city near you.

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Mira Bieler
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