I popped by Tres in San Francisco earlier this week to taste through their mezcal list. While they have a nice variety, the place seems to be in some disorder so we’ll have to return in the near future and see whether things improve.
We tried their Del Maguey sampler of the San Luis del Rio/Minero/San Domingo Albarradas/Chichicapa and Crema, the Fidencio Madrecuixe and Sombra joven. They also carry a few other Del Maguey bottles, a bottle of the Cortes anejo and the full Fidencio line up. Since the Sombra was hidden behind the rest of the bottles there may even be more in stock.
Del Maguey San Luis del Rio – Strong agave flavor in the front of the palate, fully bodied, slight herbal mint flavor tail.
Del Maguey Minero – A classic well balanced mezcal.
Del Maguey San Domingo Albarradas – Strong agave fruit taste made it similar to a grappa.
Del Maguey Chichicapa – A slighter, less agave flavor driven, than the rest with a nice alcoholic heat to balance it out.
Del Maguey Crema – Sweet, flat, and boring. I think the best use of this Crema is as a cocktail base or a cooking liquor. It would be fantastic in an apricot and pistachio tart.
Fidencio Madrecuixe: An extremely refined mezcal balancing touches of a smoke with a lean body and mixture of agave taste with minerality.
Sombra: Came across as a rather simple, alcohol forward, drink without much flavor elaboration.
I clearly prefer the San Luis del Rio and San Domingo Albarradas for their full bodied structures and agave forward tastes. The Fidencio Madrecuixe is a completely different type of mezcal: It’s a very lean, clean and refined variety that reminded one of our companions of a scotch. The Sombra didn’t fare well in this tasting, it’s not a bad mezcal by any stretch but it’s so straightforward that it doesn’t compare well with the highly flavored mezcals in this tasting.
Tres itself seems to be in a conundrum. The waitstaff was routinely enthusiastic and helpful but wholly uninformed about their mezcals. We were told that they were in-between menus so that they’d guide us through individual bottles but they didn’t have much of a background in mezcal so we had to have them bring bottles out to identify what we wanted. Since they don’t even have a menu for their tequilas they definitely don’t have one for their mezcals. Camper English recently reported that Joel Baker is going to take over the bar program at Tres so here’s hoping that next month’s visit will see some improvement.