Currently My Favorite Bottle
There are always customers who want to know what we're drinking at K&L. While most might ask for a good bottle of cabernet, or a great single malt recommendation, there are always those inquisitive folks who say: "I want to know what you're into right now." My answer would be the bottle pictured in the above photo. Of all the spirits we have in the store currently, this particular one is my fascination: the Rancho Tepua Bacanora. To be clear, I have a bit of a soft spot for bacanora because of my in-laws. My mother-in-law is from Sonora, the Mexican state from which bacanora originates, so I've been the lucky recipient of a bottle here and there over the last decade when she or one of her sisters comes back from visiting relatives. What is bacanora, you ask? It's a form of mezcal made from agave pacifica, a particular species that grows in the mountains of Sonora and is used for distillation. When made with care and an eye for quality, it can rival the best tequilas of Jalisco and mezcales of Oaxaca. The problem has always been getting your hands on some of the good stuff. Much like German pinot noir, most of the best examples never leave the region. The Sonoran locals have tremendous pride in their bacanora, so rarely have the top specimen been exported to the states because it's being consumed locally. That's part of my excitement. I've never tasted anything this good before from Sonora. Let me tell you: the Rancho Tepua is really, really good bacanora and it's here on the shelf for anyone to buy.
What does it taste like? Like the best parts of tequila and mezcal fused into one glorious spirit. You get the sweet baking spices and the clean citrus flavors of an ArteNOM or Fortaleza blanco, but with a subtle roasted hint that comes from a thirty-six hour roast in a mesquite oven. You see, distiller Roberto Contreras comes from a storied family of cattle ranchers in Sonora, one that established itself in the mountains of Aconchi back in the mid-1800s. Today, cattle is still the main focus of Roberto and his wife Lupita (as it's a big part of the Sonoran economy), which should help you understand the mesquite oven roasting a bit more in terms of cooking the agave. In fact, the logo on the front of the label is the same brand that's seered into the hide of each cow. But Roberto's father was a distiller, as was his father, so bacanora distillation was always a part of the family business in addition to beef.
Much of my fascination with bacanora comes from the fact that I married into a Sonoran family, so I'm naturally interested in my wife's culture and heritage. But for those of you who just like well-made, delicious, and pure flavored agave spirits, this bottle is an absolute must. It's bottled at 48.2% as well, so there's a little kick on the finish. The price is also right, which helps. I can't say enough good things here. Get a bottle and you'll see exactly what I mean. Then you can come over to my house and taste all the other bacanora bottles I have that aren't as good as this one.