The rural town of Santiago Matatlán, just to the east of Oaxaca City in the Valles Centrales region,
is widely known as the epicenter for traditional mezcal production. Many small villages in Oaxaca
are known for an art, craft, or trade that artisans in the village specialize in. In Santiago
Matatlán, it is mezcal they are known and celebrated for, and have been for generations. The Espadín
agave harvested by the Cortés family to produce this expression of Nuestra Soledad grows at an
elevation of 5,500-5,900 feet in a mountain canyon rich with agave diversity. Amongst stunning
vistas, the Espadín agaves for this mezcal are sustainably cultivated alongside wild outcrops of
Tepeztate, Tobalá and Coyote agaves. Mezcalero Gregorio Martinez Jarquín has been working in
Santiago Matatlán since he was a teenager and is widely respected in the mezcalero community.
Palenque (Distillery): De Cortés
Region: Santiago Matatlán, Tlacolula
Maestro Mezcalero (Master Distiller): Gregorio Martinez Jarquín
Agave: 100% Espadín
Tasting Notes: Roasted plantain and savory smoked meats, toasted cacao nibs, big yet elegant on the palate with a robust yet balanced, wood-smoke finish.
San Luis del Rio is a small village in the district of Tlacolula, nestled into the steep hillside
along a deep river valley in the mountains to the east of the Valles Centrales region of Oaxaca.
Intense heat in the region results in early-ripening agave with densely concentrated sugars leading
to the bold, fruity, complex profile of this mezcal. San Luis del Rio is one of the epicenters of
mezcal production and almost exclusively produces Espadín. The tiny distilleries that are spread out
along the river benefit from the shade from tropical fruit-bearing trees and nearby water source.
Above the tree line at higher elevation, conditions are rugged and ideal for the cultivation of
Espadín, with parcels of agaves plantations dotting the mountainside as far as the eye can see. It
is here that Ivan and Paco Méndez uphold the legacy of their late father, Don Rafael Méndez Cruz,
whose contribution to his community was immense, not only as a family man and mezcalero, but as a
proponent of cultural preservation in San Luis del Rio.
Palenque (Distillery): Los Mendez
Region: San Luis del Rio, Tlacolula
Maestro Mezcalero (Master Distiller): Ivan Mendez and Francisco "Paco" Mendez
Tasting Notes: Sparkling grapefruit and citrus aromatics with wet stone. The palate has a rich and creamy
mouth-feel, savory butterscotch and herbs with a long and complex finish.
Nestled into the side of a steep ravine, hours from civilization, the ranch settlement of Lachiguí is
home to the Vasquez family of mezcaleros. The ranch itself is a tiny complex of humble structures
that house members of extended family with the nearby small village of El Palmar some 30 minutes
drive along precipitous, mountainside dirt roads. At 7,414 feet elevation, Lachiguí is the highest
elevation palenque of those producing mezcal for the Nuestra Soledad brand, by over 1,500 feet. Tio
Pedro's agave fields are a 500 foot elevation climb up the mountain from the palenque, home to a
treasury of various agave varieties planted in rocky soil laden with limestone. The extreme growing
conditions produce some of the most complex mezcals with elegance and nuance that complements their
massive strength. Pedro Vasquez is a master of his craft and produces many of the most prized
expressions of the El Jolgorio mezcals including Arroqueño, Tobalá, and Tepeztate.
Palenque (Distillery): Tio Pedro
Region: El Palmar, Miahuatlán
Maestro Mezcalero (Master Distiller): Pedro Vasquez and Librado Vasquez
Tasting Notes: Richly aromatic with notes of wet earth, fresh cherries, cedar wood and cigar box, peppeery and green on the palate with bright, citrusy acidity and a long, dry earthy/woody finish
San Baltazar Guelavila is a small town on the eastern side of the Valles Centrales region of Oaxaca,
Mexico in the district of Tlacolula. It is in these valley highlands, because of their fertile,
limestone soils, that espadín has been cultivated for over 100 years alongside other sustaining
crops. Don Gregorio Martinez grows his espadín at an elevation of 5,500 feet surrounded by diverse
agriculture such as tropical fruits and citrus. The proliferation of fruits and vegetables being
grown in the area lend their naturally occurring yeasts to the wild fermentation process and give
this mezcal it's distinctive sparkling aromatics and rich flavor.
Palenque (Distillery): 3 Mezquites
Region: San Baltazar Guelavila, Tlacolula
Maestro Mezcalero (Master Distiller): Gregorio Martinez Garcia
Tasting Notes: Sweet, ripe, tropical fruit, caramelized agave, Chinese five spice and wet stone on the nose. Mineral-rich, and round mouth-feel with an exceptionally long and complex wood-smoke and finish.
Ejutla de Crespo, specifically Agua del Espino, is a town located almost 200 km southwest of Oaxaca
City. The municipality is situated in a mountainous region, with uneven topography and rugged hills.
The steep slopes favor hardy agaves and the struggle to survive in this harsh growing environment
comes through in the complexity of their mezcal. Don Pablo employs a method of distillation that is
common in the region of Ejutla, using a single, extended distillation in a modified pot still with a
cooling chamber called a refrescador, which contributes to the unique, bold flavor profile.
Palenque (Distillery): Don Pablo
Region: Agua del Espino, La Compañia, Ejutla
Maestro Mezcalero (Master Distiller): Don Pablo Vasquez
Tasting Notes: Bright and aromatically complex with white flowers, cilantro and mint on the nose, rich, savory and viscous on the palate with roasted chiles and minerality. The finish is long with a delicate kiss of wood smoke.
Santa María Zoquitlán is a village of roughly 1,600 people, located southeast of Oaxaca de Juárez in
the Valles Centrales Region. The area is verdant due to the jade-green Zoquitlán River that winds
through the valley floor, making the area rich for cultivating a wide variety of sustaining crops.
Ignacio Parada, known as Don Chucho, along with his son José, harvest wild and semi-cultivated
agaves in the mountains with their multi-colored soils directly behind their palenque. Don ChuCho
was the first mezcalero to join the Casa Cortés collective of producers in 2007. Today, he is proud
to be passing along his craft to the next generation as he works side-by-side with his son to
produce mezcals for Nuestra Soledad and El Jolgorio.
Palenque (Distillery): Zoqui
Region: Santa María Zoquitlán, Tlacolula
Maestro Mezcalero (Master Distiller): Jose Parada Valera
Tasting Notes: Lemon zest, red pepper, tropical fruit and smoked game greet the nose with a big, creamy and complex palate featuring honeysuckle and sandalwood. The exotic finish is long and nuanced with lychee, stone fruit and savory herbs.
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