Jalisco is a lot like Scotland in that there are a number of great distilleries you've never heard of making booze on contract. Personally, Benrinnes comes to mind when I think of one of my favorite single malts that doesn't have an actual brand, but is available under many different guises. When I think of my favorite tequila distilleries, NOM 1414 Felicianos Vivancos would be right there in the top three in terms of overall quality and diversity of delicious flavor—and I wouldn't be alone in that assessment. There's a reason why industry experts like Jacob Lustig and David Suro have turned to the Vivancos when sourcing liquid for their personal projects, and there's a reason why their two tequilas—ArteNOM and Siembra Azul—continue to be two of the most popular brands we sell. The Vivancos are known for their quality Arandas agave, their dedication to long, slow fermentations (with classical music blaring to stimulate the yeast), and their rich, supple spirits that glide across the palate with supreme delicacy.
When I visited the distillery last year with some of my industry pals, I was really taken aback by not only the quality of the base tequila, but also how that quality carried over into their aged expressions—even barrel by barrel. It was because of that afternoon spent sampling casks with Sergio that my desire for single barrel expressions of Vivanco tequila began to grow, and luckily I had been working with another small label in California that felt they could facilitate such a request.
Gran Dovejo tequila is a small California company with close relations to the Vivancos, and I've been working with Frank Mendez and his team for years. It's because of our long history that they allow me to cherry pick premium casks of Vivanco añejo juice for our K&L exclusive spirits program, and—believe me—I'll take whatever I can get when it comes to NOM 1414. Usually there's nothing in stock at K&L that can top these single barrel editions of Dovejo, but David Suro's new 10th Anniversary Reposado is right there neck and neck this time around. Why is this particular reposado so good? Because David decided to dump in a bunch of 3+ year old extra añejo to add extra richness, yet wanted to declassify that juice down and stick with the reposado label. The result is magical. You get extra-mature flavor for the price of the standard reposado.
Both are currently in stock and ready to go, but to add an extra little cherry on top, I've worked out a new deal on the Gran Dovejo to get the blanco and reposado down to a magical price for the time being. Mendez is planning to change the entire brand over to the tall, thinner bottle in the photo above, so in order to help them along with that goal I decided to buy up a large chunk of the current rectangular shape. I'll pass that savings along to you all, so that everyone can enjoy in the splendor that is Vivanco tequila. Check it out:
Siembra Azul 10th Anniversary Reposado Tequila $49.99 - Already one of the best tequilas we sell, David Suro's Siembra Azul decided to dial things up a notch in celebrating ten years of business. The 10th Anniversary Reposado combines a standard reposado batch of Vivancos tequila with older barrels of 3+ year old extra añejo juice, to create the richest and rounded reposado you've ever tasted. The nose is a haunting bouquet of baking spice, butterscotch, and pepper with hints of toasted oak lingering in the background. The palate is a delicate wave of subtle spice, black pepper, and roasted agave notes, with a finish that's both robust and clean. There's never a trace of sweetness or vanilla, as the palate is dominated by a dry and dusty spice that teases decadance, but restrains itself in favor of elegance and balance. It's a monumental tequila, truly worth of celebrating a decade in the business.
Gran Dovejo K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Añejo Tequila $59.99 - After more than a year of effort, restarts, and failed label attempts, our single barrel of Gran Dovejo Anejo tequila is finally here and ready to drink! 216 bottles were yielded from one Bourbon barrel at Felciano Vivanco distillery in Arandas, Jalisco -- also the home of ArteNOM 1414 and Siembra Azul. The difference with Gran Dovejo is that Leopoldo Solis oversees all production, and as one of the workers told me at the distillery this past Spring: "He is the very best. Everything he makes is the best you can drink." I can't say I disagree with that statement. Gran Dovejo remains one of the best kept secrets at K&L. Distributed by the Mendez family out of the Central Valley, this isn't a big time operation with much reach. It's very much a niche item and we're happy to be the first retailer to work directly with GD on an exclusive expression. Our single barrel offers a flurry of black pepper, sage, savory herbs, and a faint whisper of baking spices, yet the palate is never hot, spicy, or fiery in any way. The texture is delicate, the alcohol completely tamed by more than a year in oak. The wood acts more like a modifier in this tequila, rather than the focus. It's an anejo expression that bridges the gap between pure agave flavor and top-shelf luxury. We also begged the Mendez family to change their packaging so that we could more easily ship our bottles and they complied with a beautiful new, sleekly-styled bottle that should please fans of booze aesthetics. Very limited.
And new limited time pricing....
Gran Dovejo Blanco Tequila $34.99 (NORMALLY $42) - Frank Mendez called me one day and told me he'd like to come present his new family project: Gran Dovejo tequila. While Frank and his cousin don't come from a tequila making background, they consider themselves aficionados and feel the same exasperation I do towards the current state of Big Tequila. They said to themselves, "if we're going to do this, we're going to do it right - no cutting costs, no hiring a giant factory to mass produce flavorless swill, no catering to Costco, no parties with celebrities, just good tequila." In order to do so, they tracked down Leopoldo Solis Tinoco (one of the great master distillers in Mexico) to help bring Gran Dovejo to life. Leopoldo was so satisfied with the final result that he offered to put his name on the bottle as a sign of approval. The blanco is outstanding - vibrant, expressive, bursting with citrus, flowers and spices, but finishing cleanly. The blanco is always the test of any tequila and passes with flying colors. This is easily the most exciting blanco I've had in over a year and it will speak to any true tequila sipper out there - a benchmark for white spirits.
Gran Dovejo Reposado Tequila $39.99 (NORMALLY $50) - The Reposado is the most understated of the bunch--mild mannered, hinting at greatness, but never unleashing its full fury. I enjoyed it and found it to be quite tasty on the finish, long and gentle.
The fact that we're offering a discount on the best tequila in the business is crazy, but I'm not complaining. You get a producer that needs to switch distribution or bottle shapes and deals can happen. Take advantage of it.