Today we visited the distillery Pedro Domecq, where they make Tezon, Olmeca Altos, and Olmeca tequilas. I wrote about this distillery before on Alcademics. The post is here.
Tezon is made from 100 percent tahona-milled agave. It is no longer on the US market. Olmeca Altos is a blend of tahona-milled agave and rollermill agave. Olmeca is a mixto and that's not on the US market.
Yesterday we visited the agave fields to see the harvest. The fields here in the Highland area around Arandas are about 2300 feet above sea level. The agaves are harvested and then brought to the distillery. they then go into either steam ovens (for the 100% agave products) or cooked in an autoclave for mixto.
The agave is cooked for 48 hours, then it is shredded, either by a tahona or by a rollermill. This exposes the sugars in the agave so that they can be fermented.
The tahona is a big stone wheel traditionally used to crush agave. Here they use a mechanized version, which spins the wheel in a circle, while a man follows the wheel raking up the fibers to expose them to further crushing. Then they transfer the wet fibers to the fermentation vats.
The rollermill is a shredding machine that is a bit rougher in its handling of the agave fibers, shredding them into smaller bits so they can get more of the sugars out of the agave. The sugary water from the washed agave fibers from the rollermill is then fermented, as opposed to the tahona agave where the fibers and liquid ferment (and are distilled) together.
The sugary agave water is then fermented, then distilled. The tahona-processed fermented liquid/solids is distilled on one type of still, and the liquids-only rollermill agave is distilled in a more traditional pot still.
For Tezon, the tahona tequila is filtered and bottled. For Olmeca Altos they blend together rollermill and tahona tequila before bottling.
Then it was time for the cocktail contest. We'll cover that in the next post.