Fuenteseca Round Two
It's been a while since I've shared any consumer emails with you, so let me show you a telling message I received from a customer a few weeks back concerning the 2013 Fuenteseca Huerta Singular "El Maguey" Blanco Tequila, easily one of the best blancos I've ever tasted:
I saw your post On the Trail about this great tequila. I so enjoyed your original Fonseca anejo blend that I bought a bottle of the new blanco when I was in the store recently. I cracked the bottle and had a couple of glasses over time and honestly thought you over sold it. Don't get me wrong, I thought it was good tequila, just not as good good as you made it sound.
So tonight I had a chance to sit down and have a glass of this tequila along with a glass of my absolute favorite, Ocho blanco, side by side. Based upon that comparison my original thoughts were wrong and you were right. This Grand Cru Tequila is absolutely outstanding, more flavorful than the Ocho and unique. Without a side by side tasting I could not discern a good from great Tequila. I guess this means I need to be drinking more Tequila in order to better educate my palate.
This could not be more true, not just about the new Fuenteseca, but about a number of great wines and spirits out there. Just because something is revelatory or incredible doesn't mean that quality will be discerned immediately by everyone (or at all!). So much of what makes a great Burgundy or Bordeaux "great" is how it tastes compared to the standard, everyday offerings. Sometimes you have to do a side-by-side to understand that contrast. Here at K&L, we're doing stuff like that just about every day so that understanding is usually baked into our online opinions. Without that very important context, however, I can understand how someone might buy a bottle of this and be underwhelmed, just like I can see how someone might buy a bottle of $100 grower/producer Champagne and feel like they overspent.
However, it's when you sit down and taste that $50 bottle of Veuve Cliquot side by side that you say to yourself: "Oh wow, this other bottle is so much better." We're talking about intricate and delicate flavors here. It's not like one's a delicious candy bar and the other is a dried turd off the road. The differences are a bit more nuanced than that.
In any case, after selling through our first shipment in about 72 hours, we're back with another drop of the marvelous "grand cru" tequila. Check out my original On the Trail post if you want the full story, or just take my word for it. You definitely want one of these:
2013 Fuenteseca Huerta Singular "El Maguey" Blanco Tequila $79.99 - What specifically makes Enrique's single-site expression so incredible? Let's start with the aromatics. From the minute you pop the cork and begin nosing the bottle, sweet smells of incense, roasted agave and tropical fruit inundate the senses. Absent entirely are the aromas of pepper, savory spice or vegetal notes that usually accompany the fruitier tones. It's as hedonistic as unadulterated tequila can smell, in my experience; but the spirit is not without spice on the whole. The first sip builds on those enticing aromas, but a huge dollop of baking spices, sweet agave nectar and candied papaya lights up the palate before they take hold. I can't reiterate strongly enough the pure and electric nature of the roasted agave flavor. I'm not sure how many people have ever chewed on a piece of cooked blue agave, but having done so numerous times I can safely tell you that never have I tasted this literal of a translation into the spirit itself. The finish is where all of these elements come into focus. The lift of the baking spices builds with the alcohol and turns into sweet citrus. The roasted agave notes breathe heavily thereafter and the combination lingers for a full minute before fading gracefully. Tasting this blanco is like taking your first sip of Haut-Brion or Richebourg; it's on that level of sophistication. It's the best blanco tequila available, pure and simple, and it sets a new bar for other producers to follow.