First Single-Estate Tequila in the United States Gaining Steam
Altamar Brands, LLC announced today that Tequila Ocho, the first ultra-premium single estate vintage tequila to be introduced to the United States market, is releasing its 2009 vintage in time to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. Both the Plata and Reposado varieties from Las Pomez are available now. The 2009 vintage of Añejo from El Carrizal, which is aged for a full year, will be released in July.
“To celebrate Cinco de Mayo, we recommend you do so the way our family would: over a lovely dinner. Enjoy Ocho as an aperitif to stimulate the palate, followed by a perfect pairing with a cheese course, seafood and as a compliment to aged meat,” says Tomas Estes.
Ocho’s agave is sourced from “single estates,” meaning a single piece of land with its own microclimate. Access to the Camarena family’s multiple estates, at highly varying altitudes, allows Ocho to showcase different aroma and flavor characteristics in each vintage harvest. The brand represents the unveiling of “terroir” as a genuine product concept in tequila and confirms that it exists as much in agave as it does in grapes. This concept is well understood in wine, but has not been seriously explored in spirits. Whereas most spirits focus their production on delivering a consistent character profile for their product, Ocho is unique in its delivery of complexity of character through its use of multiple estates at different altitudes in different climates.
Tequila Ocho is the product of collaboration between third generation Tequilero Felipe Camarena and Tomas Estes, Ambassador of Tequila to Europe. What differentiates Ocho from other tequilas and makes it unique in its category is its rarity. Because of the time it takes an agave to mature, each estate cannot be replenished for almost ten years after each harvest, thus making each vintage of Ocho a rare and collectable tequila. Ocho was launched on August 8, 2008 in California, and the first vintage was sold out in less than six months.
While Ocho’s product concept is highly innovative, the process by which the tequila is made remains highly traditional. All agaves are slow-cooked at low temperatures in stone ovens and fermented naturally with airborne yeast. The distillation is done very slowly at low heat to retain the maximum agave flavors. No chemicals are used. The artisanal approach is intensely handcrafted at every step of production, including the packaging, when each bottle is numbered by hand and stamped with the estate name of each vintage.
"Agave is rich and complex. It imparts vastly different flavors when harvested from different microclimates at different altitudes. No one has ever demonstrated this before in tequila,” says W.L. Lyons Brown, CEO of Altamar Brands. Ocho will demonstrate there is “terroir” in agave. “The wonderful taste nuances in the 2009 vintage from Las Pomez showcase this concept.”
Las Pomez is located in the Jesus Maria county near the town of Arandas. The region is called “Los Altos” (The Highlands) because it lies 6,560 feet above sea level. As one of the highest elevation estates, it has high temps of 80F and lows of 48F, producing extremely high sugar content in the agave plant. Las Pomez is approximately 7 hectares with 20,336 agave plants. The soil is red and rich with organic material and iron oxide. The agave plants are harvested at nearly 10 years old.
Tequila Ocho 2009 Vintage from Las Pomez will be available in markets such as: LA, San Francisco, New York, Miami, Boston, Chicago, Dallas and Houston. 2009 Ocho is currently available in Plata and Reposado and will be sold at $60 and $70 per 750ml bottle, respectively. Añejo will be available in July 2009 and retail for $80.
2009 Tequila Ocho Plata, Las Pomez – Nose: Sweet molasses, butterscotch and ripe agave opening up to cooked pumpkin and hints of peppermint. Palate: fresh, lively, round sweetness, subtle tropical fruits and a hint of cinnamon.
2009 Tequila Ocho Reposado, Las Pomez – Nose: Sweet agave nectar, rich custard, with a slight accent of cinnamon and ripe tropical fruits. Palate: clean sweetness balanced with dry notes, earthy agave with apricots and accents of oak and nutmeg.