This is the masterpiece of Guillermo Sauza, a fifth-generation Tequila producer. Guillermo is steadfast in his belief that century-old traditional techniques produce the best spirit at his distillery. He insists on the laborious process of crushing the pinas with a stone wheel ("Tahona",) a practice others have imitated in recent years. From slow roasting in meter-thick brick ovens, naturally fermenting and then double distilling using small, labor-intensive copper pot stills – his work is remarkable. Aged for 18 months in ex-bourbon barrels, this añejo is rich and floral with brush strokes of vanilla, caramel, pepper, oak and spice. Simply a work of art from nose to finish.
Tequila Fortaleza is a remarkable place. Sitting on the outskirts of town, just a short walk down a cobblestone path from some much larger factory distilleries, the distillery is one of only a few that produces only one brand of tequila. Guillermo Sauza (yes, of that Sauza family) has been at the helm here for more than a decade, ensuring production adheres to the traditional methods that have long been abandoned by most tequila distilleries in favor of speedier processes. We had a special opportunity to take the long uphill walk at (it’s really a climb) to the top of the hill that overlooks the agave fields and distillery below for a most incredible view of the entire valley. It was a truly unforgettable tequila experience.