This is a repost of a blog I do for a Mexican tourism blog called Dave Miller's Mexico (https://davemillersmexico.wordpress.com). Once a year, I travel to Mexico where I visit several Palenques (Mezcal Distilleries) and taste dozens of Mezcals. We had to drive about 2-3 hours up winding dirt roads and through a river bed to get to Rey Campero, but it was well worth the trip. On a happy note, we will be carrying most of these Mezcals by the end of this week.
Recently I had Ed Draves, who does all of our “official” tasting, with me for a day with the Sanchez family, the people behind Mezcal Rey Campero of Zoquitlan, Oaxaca.
We sampled a lot, and I mean a lot of mezcal.
Here are his notes…
Espadín (48%) Pine nose with pretty floral notes, very dry with a fruity character and showing loads of minerality and pepper on the finish.
Cuishe (48.1%) Very clean, crisp nose with a nice fruit and mineral interplay and some heat showing on the finish.
Sierra Negra (49%) Sweet nose of cherry blossom, mineral (slate) showing some power giving way to a dry black peppery finish.
Mexicano (48.4%) Subtle and delicate nose – very pretty floral notes in the mouth and maybe a little candy flavor. Light bodied and dry but distinct cherry fruit on the finish.
Tepexate (48.2) Nose of cherry covered chocolates and very explosive mineral components with a nice peppery finish.
Madre Cuishe (48.6%) Possesses a distinct clean salty nose with again, a very powerful peppery finish.
My day at Rey Campero was a testament to the idea of terroir. Put simply, terroir is the set of all environmental factors that affect a crop’s qualities. Think taste. In other words, when the crop is grown in a specific habitat, you can expect certain characteristics of that area to shine through.
What we saw in the mezcals that we tasted that day in Zoquitlan, all from different varities of agaves, but from the same general geographical area, were many of the same flavors. Pepper, cherry and a strong minerality, granted with some subtle differences, were present throughout the line, from the espadin, all the way to their classic jabali.
The mezcal we sampled that day is a product of a centuries old method of making mezcal. Harvested by hand, cooked in an earthen “oven”, crushed in a tehona, fermented in wooden casks, copper distilled, literally drop by drop.
It is then hand bottled, one by one.