Fuenteseca Numero Dos
The first things that strike you about the Highlands of Jalisco are the shadows: the way the clouds block out the sun, creating contrast between the plateaus, the scattered brush, and the rising hills. There's an atmosphere in Atotonilco that feels authentic; like you're truly in Mexico and the home of all-things Tequila. The vistas are all picturesque along Route 90 as you drive east of Guadalajara into the mountains. About an hour east of the metropolis, you'll find the town of Atontonilco El Alto—where tequila maker Enrique Fonseca lives—and you'll also find one of the largest collections of aging agave spirit anywhere. Despite the fact that his distillery—La Tequileña—is on the other side of Guadalajara, in the Lowlands near the town of Tequila, Enrique chooses to keep his most treasured stocks close to home. This past Spring I got the chance to visit his rustic hacienda with ArteNOM boss Jake Lustig, where we both hoped to pow-wow with Enrique about a second Fuenteseca blend for K&L—a sequel to our initial release that won the hearts and minds of Tequila drinkers everywhere.
When we arrived, Enrique and his staff were preparing an epic meal for us on his incredible veranda. Everything Enrique eats is sourced from the farm next to his property. We were going to be feasting on hand-stuffed chorizo and carne asada, but first we opened a few inital beers and took a tour of the site. I had no idea how much Tequila was actually aging at Enrique's gigantic estate.
And then I entered warehouse number one. My goodness. The incredible sight of Bourbon barrels stacked as high as the eye could see was jaw-dropping. Yet, it was only one of many such facilities on sight. Not only are Enrique's mature stocks the oldest existing in all of Mexico, they're also one of the largest in volume. Our initial Fuenteseca release utilized Tequilas up to twenty-one years of age—making it the oldest Tequila ever released. While formulating that blend I was only able to work with the samples Enrique had sent to me in the Bay Area. This time, however, on location at Enrique's estate, I would have endless amounts of mature Tequila at my fingertips. It was an overwhelming feeling.
Many have asked me about the extended aging of Enrique's Tequilas; wondering if more than two decades in oak was too much for an agave spirit to manage. Would the oak eventually dominate the Tequila entirely? Possibly, but before that happens Enrique transfers the mature spirit into gigantic wooden vats. The larger vessels allow for extra maturation without the fear of over-oaking the Tequila. This transition is key in shaping the ultimate flavor of Enrique's expressions. None of Enrique's older Tequilas taste overly woody in any way.
So what happened that night? Did we eventually create a sequel to our much-heralded Fuenteseca Extra Añejo? Indeed, we did. We ate, drank, talked, and blended long into the warm Jalisco evening. This time around, however, we wanted to make a more affordable expression; one that wouldn't cost an eye-popping $189.99. By using a ratio of roughly half four year old Tequila, half seven and eight year old Tequilas, we were able to craft something quite delicious. How does it taste? How much will it cost?
I'll let you know tomorrow when it arrives.