“Great mezcal is the result of the profound relationship between man and earth, and it is difficult to overestimate the importance of this for the production and preservation of authentic tequila, its tradition and its historic taste”
Over the next few weeks our flight board plays host to an elegant and refined tequila by the name of Don Fulano. Five generations of agaveros, hailing from the famed Fonseca family, craft this spirit using traditional techniques alongside forward thinking sustainable production.
The Fonseca family
The Fonseca family have been agave farmers for five generations and once supplied famous brands such as Jose Cuervo and Tequila Sauza with some of the finest blue agave grown in the highlands of Jalisco.
After supplying these big brands for over 4 years their contract fell through leaving the Fonsecas with hundreds of acres of maturing agave and no one to sell them to.
So, in 1990 Enrique Fonseca decided to make his own tequila and bought La Tequilena distillery from Ron Bacardi. The distillery had alembic stills and a continuous double-column still which is very unique in tequila production.
At this time Enrique was inexperienced in the field of distillation and so began reading and teaching himself the art. He learned that alembic stills were the traditional stills used for Irish whiskey, cognac, and tequila. When the column still was invented in 1830 it gave distillers a way to produce spirits with higher alcohol and lighter body. Scottish distillers used both stills and blended their product to create a whisky full of character but with an ethereally light character and finish.
After a trip to Scotland to learn some tricks of the trade Enrique returned to Mexico to develop a method by which the tequila from his alembic stills would feature intense agave character, he then used the column still to make tequila that had good agave character but was lighter and more refined. By blending the two styles he created his unique and balanced spirit.
He continued to combine tequilas to great affect in his oaked expressions. Ageing them in a combination of new and used barrels (ex-cognac, armagnac and sherry) of French limousine oak and blended from various vintages to create complex flavour profiles whilst still retaining those characteristic agave forward notes. As well as the all important consistency of a great spirit which the Fonseca family strive toward.
DON FULANO TASTING FLIGHT
Our flight trio consists of three aged expressions
Age: Rested in stainless steel for 60 days.
Flavour profile: A delicate tequila with underlying cooked agave notes and citrus highlights, a tingle of white pepper.
Paired alongside: Slices of fresh orange to compliment and help lift those citrus notes.
Age: A signature blend of aged tequilas with a minimum of eight months – and up to 2 years – in a combination of new and used barrels of French limousine oak.
Flavour profile: The spice is fuller with fruitful notes of pear and cherry compote. Subtle maple and nutmeg.
Paired alongside: Drawing on the fruit notes we’ve paired this with maraschino soaked cherries.
Age: A blend of different aged tequilas of a minimum of 30 months in French Limousine Oak.
Flavour profile: The agave notes are present and intense. It is full of spice character, subtle chocolate fudginess , baked banana and a fine mixture of dried fruits, almonds and roasted coffee beans along with subtle floral notes.
Paired alongside: Dark chocolate accompanies oak aged spirits deliciously, and works wonders here too.
“Our greatest satisfaction however, is to see that behind every bottle there is health and biodiversity in the fields, celebration in the face of people, a rich culture, and much of that great laughter which characteriSes our people”
• Highland grown blue agave.
• Harvested at optimum maturity – approx 10 years.
• Agave hearts are slowly cooked in autoclaves at low pressures to retain desired flavour
• Fermented using specially cultivated yeasts unique to Don Fulano production.
• Distilled using copper pot and continuous stills.
• Blended and rested before bottling.
• Aged expressions are blends of new and used french limousine oak.
• Bottles are hand blown.
Don Fulano respect tradition and aim for sustainability in all areas of production.
Sip + savour
Written by Gemma Terry