In the highlands of Jalisco, tidy rows of agave plants dot the landscape, creating a sprawling sea of blue on arid land. It’s here, amidst the rugged beauty of western Mexico, that the magic of tequila begins. In a new documentary series, “Taste of Terroir,” Tequila Ocho, the official tequila brand of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants and purveyor of single-estate, hand-harvested tequila, introduces viewers to the Camarena and Estes families — master distillers, passionate farmers, and skilled artisans who have dedicated their lives to crafting this exceptional spirit. Most prominent in the series, however, is tequila’s unsung hero: terroir.
In a world where terroir is often associated solely with wine, “Taste of Terroir” broadens the horizons of gastronomic storytelling. The series invites viewers to discover the profound connection between the environment, raw materials, and the creation of tequila, exploring the rich tapestry of flavors, traditions, and craftsmanship that shape our culinary and sensory experiences along the way.
Across four distinct episodes, the documentary explores the impact of terroir on an array of flavor profiles, from the sweet, earthy notes of plata tequila to warm and oak-influenced extra añejo. There’s a deep connection between the land and the tequila it yields, and whether savored neat, in a cocktail, or as part of a meal, tequila’s terroir has the power to enthrall and surprise, leaving an indelible mark on our collective taste buds.
Episode 1, titled “Terroir,” digs deep, shining a spotlight on the rich, red soil of Mexico’s highlands, or “Los Altos de Jalisco” — its tint a result of abundant iron and minerals — and the region’s distinct agave-growing characteristics. The episode also helps viewers grasp the concept of terroir, described as “a culmination of the soil, the rain, climate, and tradition that impacts the very nature of the foods and drinks we experience.” Elevation, wind, sun exposure, climates, and even palpable microclimates all create an essence of time and place that goes far beyond the glass.
Episode 2, “Agave & Raw Materials,” pays homage to the most vital raw material in tequila — Blue Weber agave. Centuries ago, this soaring, sacred plant was literally worshiped, and it symbolizes health, revitalization, and celebration to this day. The episode also showcases Tequila Ocho’s commitment to the plant itself, waiting at least six years to harvest any given agave plant, ensuring its maturity and purity while upholding sustainable stewardship (it’s a meticulous process that the Camarena family has been perfecting for five generations, beginning in the 1880s).
In Episode 3, “Ocho at the Table,” viewers can step out of the agave fields and into the vibrant world of high-end restaurants, kitchens, and bars across the world, where the concept of terroir in tequila and food comes full circle. The series’ final episode, “Family,” explores the spirit’s cultural significance. Tequila has become an ambassador of Mexico’s rich heritage, spreading influence far beyond its borders. It transcends languages and cultures, uniting people in a shared appreciation for its artistry and history.
Taken together, Tequila Ocho’s documentary series uncovers the secrets of terroir — so frequently reserved for wine — and celebrates the remarkable connections between tequila, food, and family across a sensory voyage. As they enjoy a beautifully filmed exploration of flavors, traditions, and culture, viewers will leave inspired and hungry (or, more accurately perhaps, thirsty) for more. Alluding to the global impact of tequila, the brand, which makes its single-estate tequila by hand using slow, artisanal techniques, is hosting the series on its website for free.
This article is sponsored by Tequila Ocho.