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Juan Fernández-Wheeleri

Juan practices the increasingly rare tradition of distilling lechuguilla, but he also makes expressions with 100% sotol, such as this one. In the majestic town of Madera his process is true to his ancestral traditions. He shares with us that the wisdom to prepare lechuguilla is an art of patience. He explains that “Capar,” the Agaves months in advance in preparation, is one of those acts of patience that distinguish lechuguilla. Sotol is added to aid in the fermentation of the distillate. Juan has worked to refine his processes over time and is constantly inspired to make each batch better than the last one.

Distilled in Madera, a city located in the northwest of Chihuahua, at an altitude of 6,900 feet above sea level, this area is known for its coniferous forest vegetation. Its high altitude provides a cool subtropical climate, with humid summers and cold and dry winters.

Batches:

  • JF-WHE-01

    June 2023, 47.39% ABV, rested 3 months in glass

MAESTRO VINATERO – Juan Fernández, 4th generation

RAW MATERIAL – 100% wild Dasylirion Wheeleri (the sotol plant)

VIÑATA – Madera, Chihuahua, MX

PLANT SOURCE – Las Escobas, Chihuahua, MX

SOURCE CLIMATE – Coniferous forests, humid summers but cold & dry winters, elevation 5,000’ to 7,000’

PLANT MATURITY – Madurado en verde 15 years

ROAST – 3 days in an underground conical horno with pine wood, covered with volcanic stone

CRUSH – Mechanical

WILD FERMENTATION – 7 days in stainless steel & tomba

DISTILLATION – Stainless steel alembic, first with pine wood & then with gas

ADJUSTMENT METHOD – With well water until it is parejo

TASTING NOTES
AROMA – Ripe tropical fruit, pencil shavings, floral
TASTE – Baked ham, creamed corn, lemon
TEXTURE – Tingly, lactic, energetic

Production Process

Sotol
The wild wheeleri plants for this expression are harvested from the Las Escobas region north and west of Madera.
Cook
The sotol piñas are roasted for 3 days in an earthen oven with pine wood. The oven is conical, and covered with volcanic stones during the cook.
Mill
Juan uses a small mechanical mill to process the cooked agave.
Ferment
Fermentation is done in stainless steel tanks and tombas. It is completely natural with ambient yeast, and takes about 7 days.
Distill
Distillation is done in stainless steel. The first pass is with pine wood, and then gas is used during the second distillation so that the temperature can be controlled with increased precision.