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La Merced Barbacuá Yerba Mate Review

La Merced Barbacuá Yerba Mate Review by Yerba Mate Land 2016
Origin: Corrientes, Argentina
Producer: Las Marias
Cut: Classical Argentine
Body: Medium / Smoked (Barbacuá)
Cycle: Medium
Aged: Up to 12 months
Grown: Conventional

In Buenos Aires, La Merced has established itself as a top shelf, gourmet brand. It’s easily one of the most expensive mates on the shelf. From my travels in the country, I gather that this brand is equivalent to the Starbucks of mate, both in terms of price and status symbol.

The intricate taste profiles certainly do redound to the benefit of this mate’s reputation.

The line between Argentine and Paraguayan mate is particularly blurred with La Merced Babacuá. Each sip transports me North, with smoky, cherry, chocolatey and tobaccoy flavors inherent in Paraguayan’s trio brands: La Rubia, Selecta and Pajarito.

And you know what, it’s fun to know that I’m still sipping one of the most traditional Argentine brands. Drinking this mate illustrates how, through the manipulation of smoke (barabacuá method), an Argentine mate can taste like a Paraguayan, further redefining the nascent subject of yerba mate terroir, character, and classification.

The smoke literally changes the character and body, adding a rich nuttiness, steely, and almondy profile that’s quite satisfying and wholesome, with a soft backdrop of light astringency, tart cherry, and that signature paraguayan tobacco-leathery component, creating a dimension where soft and sharp contrasts the palate, keeping the experience buoyant and lively.

What we have here is something complex and intriguing, with plenty of tones, textures and nuances to ponder. As you’ve heard me say a million times, I’m drawn to mates that “have something to say.” Barbacuá speaks to us in a softly-raspy, deep, smoky intonation.

La Merced Barbacuá Yerba Mate Review by Yerba Mate Land 2016