Mezcal Vago Tepeztate
The Mezcal Vago Tepeztate is made by Aquilino García López at his palenque in Candelaria Yegolé, Oaxaca (16°29'41.36"N, 96°18'38.69"W). This mezcal is made from 100% Tepeztate and is wild harvested in the surrounding hills of the Yegolé region.
Agave Tepeztate is part of the Agave Marmorata family and has a very distinct, erratic leaf structure. These agaves can grow very large with the largest piña from the current batch weighing in at 197 KGs.
Aquilino and an enormous Tepeztate piña
Tepeztate produces beautiful quiotes at the end of it’s life cycle that flower a rich yellow before turning to seed. According to Aquilino, they average 12-15 years to mature in the Yegolé region.
Mezcals made from Tepeztate are very distinct. They tend to have a powerful, unique aroma dominated by floral characteristics.
Because of the scarcity of mature agave, and the difficulty in harvesting them, these batches will be small and not always available.
Producer: Aquilino García López.
Location: Candelaria Yegolé, Oaxaca
The still (palenque) is on Aquilino’s ranch where he lives full time. He and his father moved it to its current location 15 years ago. It has moved around from nearby locations over the years. Aquilino remembers 6 generations of distillers but supposes the lineage goes back much further. Always done as a way of life, not a commercial enterprise. Aquilino and his son Mateo do nearly all of the work themselves.
The fermentation vats are made of pine and hold up to 1000 liters. The cooked agave and water ferment from the natural airborne yeasts in the air. No additional ingredients are used to make the Mezcal other than agave and water.
Each batch ferments for around a week. This varies depending on the ambient temperature at the time of fermentation. Aquilino distills his fermented mash before all of the sugar has fermented. This is sooner than other Mescalero’s’ techniques. He uses six fermentation vats. Aquilino has an alembic copper still that has a 250-liter capacity. He makes all the separations (cuts) by smell and taste. All of Aquilino’s mezcals are twice distilled. Aquilino’s Mezcals have a definite style. Bright, clean and bold without too much smoke. They have less bottom end (tails) than other mezcal lines, due in part to his “narrow” cuts on the still. This really lets the subtle notes of the agave shine through on the front end of the palate. All of Aquilino’s mezcal goes through a simple sediment filtration through a tubular cellulose filter before bottling. The bottling is done by hand in Oaxaca City. The very light filtration is the only way the mezcal is affected between when it was made on the palenque and how it ends up in the bottle.