A form of mezcal unique to the western mountains and coast of Jalisco, raicilla has been quietly produced for hundreds of years. While the state is of course known for the goliath industry of Tequila, raicilleros have arguably been producing this agave spirit since before the Spanish conquest.
Maestro raicillero Juan Ramos begins production by roasting Agave maximiliana for 2 days in an adobe oven, similar to a large pizza oven. The agave is milled, then fermented in former whiskey barrels using wild yeast and volcanic spring water from a mountain ridge above the distillery (or “taberna”). The results are distilled twice, using traditional copper pot stills, and rested in glass & stainless steel before bottling.
Maximiliana is known for its herbal and floral characteristics, and Estancia leans into this with a heady bouquet of cracked black pepper, sweet and savory green herbs, delicate hibiscus, beach plum, pineapple skin and soft goat cheese that lingers on the palate like plate of crudités.
In 2014, Rio Chenery left New York City and returned to his family home in Jalisco. He had been witnessing firsthand the worldwide explosion of agave spirits, and wanted to bring more unique Mexican distillates like the ones he grew up around to international audiences. With that goal in mind, Rio founded Estancia.
Beginning with the Raicilla he’d known since childhood, Rio has expanded the scope of the brand, remaining at the forefront of unique Mexican style and distillation to bring a diverse and educational selection of agave spirits to new audiences and palates, working with humility and respect with his local producers across Mexico.