Guillermo's great grandfather created the original Sauza Tequila brand, but sold that back in the 70s and now they no longer have any part of that company. However, they recently restarted their distillery, Los Abuelos (the grandfathers) and are making La Fortaleza (which means fortitude) tequila. They continue to use their Abuelos' centuries old traditional methods like using stone ovens to roast the agave, a large stone wheel to crush the roasted plant and actual wood fermentation barrels (very very rare in tequila making these days), all of which he says is labor extensive but gives unequaled taste and smoothness. I'm not sure if it was the methods used to make the tequila or what, but it did taste smooth.
Anyway, we tried three different kinds of their tequila's at room temperature and in wine glasses, very similar to the vodka tasting that I did last year. We started with the Fortaleza Blanco, which was very clear like vodka and distilled and stored in stainless steel tanks. This was my favorite, it went down smoothly and smelt good but not too strong. Yet it was strong at 80 proof alcohol. Then we sipped the Fortaleza Reposado, which had a bit more color since it is aged in wood oak barrels for 6-9 months, this was also smooth but a bit strong. The strongest and smokiest for me was the last shot of Fortaleza Anejo, which is more top shelf and aged for 2-3 years. It made my eyes tear. I never thought that I could drink tequila straight before, but I could have sipped on the first two kinds for awhile and enjoyed it immensely. I was driving home that night though and I could already feel the buzz starting.
Right now La Fortaleza is only available at a few restaurants in L.A., OC, Northern California and San Diego.
Things I learned about tequila:
- Tequila is an actual town in Mexico. Like how Bordeaux wines are from Bordeaux France, tequila comes from Tequila, Mexico.
- Similar to Whiskey, the color of tequila gets darker the longer it’s aged in barrels.
- Tequila comes from the Agave plant which takes about seven years to grow before it can be farmed for Tequila.