The Story of Hacienda de Chihuahua
Hacienda de Chihuahua is the leading producer of sotol, a kind of mescal, made only in the Chihuahuan Desert of Northern Mexico. For more than 800 years the indigenous Tarahumura Indians made a fermented drink, similar to pulque, from the wild agave plants to use in their ancient rituals and religious ceremonies. When the Spanish Conquistadors discovered the fermented beverages of Mexico, they introduced the locals to the art of distillation and the various mescals developed. Hacienda is a subsidiary of a leading real estate company, Vinomex, who have enabled them to establish a conservation programme to ensure the continued growth of the sotol plants.
Maturing on the local mountainsides for up to 15 years, the sotol plants store vast amounts of natural energy in their underground pinã bulbs which are harvested to make the sotol. In a similar way to mescal and tequila, the sotol plant is harvested and the Jimador cuts off all the vegetation leaving only the head. This is baked to concentrate the flavours and convert the starches to fermentable sugars, and then milled to separate the sugars from the pulp. The sugars are then fermented with champagne yeast, distilled, aged and bottled. Unlike many types of tequila, sotol must be produced from 100 % agave so the flavour is pure and distinct.