Tepeztate, or Tepextate, scientifically known as agave Marmorata, is a pungent variety of maguey from Oaxaca. The resulting mezcals tend to have high acidity, telltale notes of spicy herbs, berries, and minerals. It is known for being incredibly delicious and full of character, and many mezcal lovers consider it to be one of, if not the, most delicious agave for making mezcal. It is also particularly well suited to pairing, especially with chocolate, making it a fun variety to explore in a varietal focused tasting.
Because Tepeztate is mostly a wild or semi-cultivated variety, bottles can be pricey and limited, but are well worth it. Other good options include releases from Tosba, Dos Pasiones, La Venia, Don Amado, and Dixeebe.
- Macurichos: This producer owned and crafted mezcal is made in Santiago Matatlan in an artisanal way; cooked in an in-ground earthen oven, tahona crushed, fermented in wooden vats, and double distilled in small copper pot stills.
- La Medida: A crowd favorite, this artisanal mezcal is produced in San Pedro Totolapan, Tlacolula from wild harvested agaves.
- Rey Campero: Another producer owned and crafted mezcal, this is made in Candelaria Yegole from wild harvest agaves. As long standing stewards of the land, they pay special attention to replanting this variety in its natural habitat as they harvest for mezcal production.
The intense fruity, herbal, mineral, and sometimes petrol notes, alongside the bright acidity and sharpness make this one of the most rewarding varieties for food pairings. Chocolate is a must with Tepeztate, there is even an argument to be made for including chocolate in all of the elements on the pairing plate. Please note that both chocolate and mezcal are aphrodisiacs and such a pairing plate will absolutely take date night to the next level.
- Chocolate- My favorite chocolate to pair with any mezcal is a flourless chocolate torte, ideally with some espresso in there for extra depth. A high quality dark chocolate bar (at least 70%) is also a good standard. Extra points for spicy chocolate.
- Fruit- I usually get berry and watermelon rind notes in Tepeztate- and while any fresh local berry is a nice option when in season, dried blueberries are another favorite go-to. Chocolate dipped dried or fresh fruit is also welcome.
- Herbs- To tease out the herbaceous and spicy green notes, go for woodsy herbs like rosemary and thyme. A savory shortbread herb biscuit or cracker with buttery richness provides enough fat to deeply integrate the herbs into the palate. Again, a chocolate dipped or drizzled herb cracker would make a fun pairing bite. If you can’t handle the thought of a cracker without cheese, go for a creamy light-medium intense cheese.