Mezcal Las Canteras de Teacalco

By Manuel Negrete, Wine Director Wine Bar by CMB

Within the world of spirits, one of the countries with the largest and most diverse number of exponents is Mexico. Today, everyone around the world associates the word Tequila with Mexican “know-how,” however, Mezcal is increasingly doing the same.

Every day, the international consumer associates Mezcal with a particular region: Oaxaca. Although it’s an important productive capital, the name Mezcal protects agave spirits produced in 9 Mexican States: Oaxaca, Guerrero, San Luis Potosí, Zacatecas, Durango, Guanajuato, Tamaulipas, Michoacán and Puebla (Consejo Regulador del Mezcal, 2024).

West of Oaxaca and on the Pacific coast, the State of Guerrero shines for its famous beaches and silver jewelry. However, its mountains hide some of the most interesting and delicious mezcals one could try, with Cupreata being the iconic agave of this Mexican latitude.

In the Spirits Selection by CMB 2023, one of the Revelation Trophies was awarded to Mezcal Las Canteras from Teacalco Guerrero. Victor Fernandez Villalobos, leader of the project, tells his story about this spirit.

He started producing agave 30 years ago. Friends were the ones who gave him the first plants. Immersing himself in this world was easy, after seeing how in many family parties and celebrations of several days in which people celebrated and shared with friends, the spirit was always present.

This familiarity and special affection for the happiest moments was what encouraged Fernandez Villalobos to produce mezcal and in 2008, the same person who gave him his first agaves, recommended him to start the first distillation. At that time the project was called “7 Regions”, in honor of the regions that make up the State of Guerrero.

Because the project was initially of a hobby nature, it began producing at the facilities of friends in Chilpancingo, the State Capital. However, he quickly observed a particular interest from those close to him in acquiring more and more of his spirit. Thus, in 2015 he joined forces with his cousin and began working on improving the quality of the spirit itself.

After years of hard work, the duo managed to get to know the quality parameters in which they felt most confident and, in 2020, they adopted the name Mezcal Las Canteras in homage to the quarries for stone extraction of various types that abound in the town of Teacalco.

Because the municipality is not located within the traditional productive zone of agave, many people questioned the viability of the project. The family of Fernandez Villalobos’ wife, of Jalisco origin, supported him by sharing agave cultivation, conservation and production techniques.

Today, Mezcal Las Canteras is an entirely family project, involving cousins, uncles and of course Fernandez Villalobos’ wife.

In 2022 and under the initiative of the Women of Mezcal and Agave Association of Mexico, Mezcal Las Canteras obtained a Silver Medal in the México Selection by CMB Coahuila 2022. This fact motivated the producers, who refined their product based on to the comments made by the contest tasters.

The Spirits Selection by CMB 2023 held in Treviso, Italy, received this new mezcal among its contenders, with improved processes and faith in the changes they had made. The surprise came soon at 4:00 Mexican Pacific time, when they were informed that they had been awarded a Grand Gold Medal and the Revelation Trophy. At that same moment, Fernandez Villalobos let the messages and calls fly to the family to let them know the news: they had achieved it, it was a moment of joy and great emotion

The most important thing in this project is the family, the team, all of us who strive to deliver the best quality product, and this achievement belongs to everyone. It’s important to say that I don’t consider myself a Maestro Mezcalero, those people deserve all my respect and, I believe, that one can only be called that way by having at least 40 years producing; it’s something that does not happen overnight,” says Fernandez Villalobos.

Obtaining the Grand Gold Medal has opened many doors for Mezcal Las Canteras, mainly in its key market: the cosmopolitan Mexico City, where is valued by nationals and foreigners, with many people being surprised to see a mezcal of such quality.

Our mezcal has been very popular, without a doubt the medal has allowed us to enter great places and many lists of drinks, although the product speaks for itself, in addition to the fact that Cupreata is a noble agave,” says Fernandez with the pride that a father would talk about his son.

The Cupreata that we use comes from a nursery located in the mountains of Guerrero, we don’t add fertilizers and, due to the same location, the agave faces extreme temperatures of cold and heat, reaching the optimal point of maturity somewhere between 14 and 15 years old. It is an agave that delivers a lot of sugars when cooked, so special care must be taken to control the fermentation and distillation.

Before ending the conversation, Fernandez invites everyone to try the mezcal, especially the Guerrerense, and enjoy it alone or paired, always sharing it with great people.

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