Espadín, Rey Campero
Helmed by Romulo Sanchez Parada, this family collective in Candelaria Yegolé, Zoquitlán, chose the name Rey Campero, meaning “King of the Countryside”, to reflect the relationship between the landscape and those who work so tirelessly to harvest the magueys from this challenging terrain. Romulo and his family have some of the most diverse and productive agave nurseries in Oaxaca; Espadín and rare varieties of agave such as Tepextate and Jabalí are cultivated side by side. When they achieve maturity, some are allowed to flower and seed, while the rest are harvested and cooked a traditional oven underground, rested, then milled, fermented and distilled using one of three small copper pots, finally offering the delicious elixir which is Mezcal Rey Campero. These distillates express an unflinching translation of the terroir, the family, and the agave which comprise it.
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Representing over 96% of the agave in Oaxaca, this core variety offers a blank canvas for any maestro mezcalero in the state to paint upon. Much like we might assess a pizzeria based upon the qualities of their plain slice, so may we often consider terroir and a mezcalero’s methods & choices by tasting their Espadín.
By that scale alone, Romulo does phenomenal work. Rey Campero’s Espadín leads with an aroma like deep damp soil and tree bark, equal parts petrichor and forest floor, before blossoming on the palate into an earthy bouquet of green herbs, with a big grip of oregano and coriander in particular, brightened by sutble waves of citrus zest. A mezcal full of bravado!