@Zinacantan is the project of 4th generation maestra mezcalera Fabiola “Faby” Torres Monfil and Diana Pinzon – but mezcal production is just one piece of the larger operations. Based in the hilly outer-Puebla town of San Diego La Mesa Tochilmitzingo, Zinacantan (which means “land of the bats in Nahuatl) is also promoting a model of ecological restoration to conserve the biodiversity of the ecosystems associated with agave, and mitigate the ecological impact of the production of its distillate. They also house a nursery of baby espadilla (a Puebla varietal similar to espadin) and papalometl (the local name for tobala) planted from seed and protected with an organic integrated pest management plan. The land is free from herbicides, pesticides, and agrochemicals.
~ 20% of Zinacantan’s agave plants are left to mature and flower without being harvested for distillation, supplying the bat populations that have long-depended on the plants along this route with nectar and resting places that have been dwindling with the rise in agave distillation of recent years.
These are beautiful expressions of local agave species: the espadilla and papalometl are single-distillation. The pechuga and naranja are double-distilled with agave potatorum. Each distillation begins with the cooking of the pinas in an earthen oven, manual crushing, wild yeast fermentation (comparitively extensive at 23-30 days) with well water in a pine wood tank and distillation in a copper still.
Production is limited to under 1,500 liters per year, produced only in the season from February to May.