Thursday, February 5, 2009

How to do a tequila tasting.

Fresh radishes and cucumbers with guacamole, light and healthy

My chile verde

Chiles gueros

Las tequilas, la provoleta, and la salsa.

tequilas y antojitos

A short while ago a few friends got together for one of the many tequila tastings I host, most of the time its just me! Chris Uhde, our new friend from Signatory Scotch came over to learn about tequila as he had shown us so much about scotch, the process, regions, and brands.Tonight it would be the lowlands and highlands of tequila, Sinaloan agave azul, Sonoran Bacanora, and Chihuahuan Sotol.A taste of gold, joven, blanco, reposado, anejo, and the new style, extra anejo.

Tequila is not a spirit that goes particularly well with food but there are definite simple plates that will combine , provide a little stability for the tasting, and not leave any "ill" will.Pork dishes are great, some carnitas, a cochinita pibil perhaps.I made chile verde, some chiles gueros(blond chile broiled and covered with lime, soy, and pico de gallo chile salt),guacamole with radishes and cucumbers, a salsa de molcajete with chile de arbol and chile guajillo, and an Argentine provoleta(grilled porvolone) I had as a little substitute for a queso fundido(melted cheese).Something spicy, something fresh, and a simple hearty meat dish.Avoid creamy sauces and too many foods.You just want something to nosh and to keep you from falling over after the 5th shot.

A homemade sangrita and fresh limes top clease the palate are a must to prepare the senses for multiple tastes.I use roasted ancho chiles, onion, orange juice, lime, and salt.

Because of the youth of tequilas compared to scotches and other spirits arranging them in a tasting order is fairly easy.Start with the adulterated mixtos, oros(golds), and jovenes(young).These are not 100% agave and have been enhanced with coloring, sugar cane spirit, and other methods to soften the flavor.All tequila has to have a minimum of 51% blue agave from the tequila region to be called tequila.Tequila is a DOM, and the five tequila producing states are Jalisco, Tamaulipas, Guanajuato, Michoacan, and Nayarit.These adulterated tequilas can be quite good.

Oro and Joven-no aging
1.Jarro Viejo Oro
Tepatitlan, Jalisco-highlands
mellow agave flavor, perfect with a wedge of lime

2. Tres Reyes Joven
$10 a bottle, a great sipper simple, earthy, and smooth, a true value

Plata(silver) and Blanco-brought to proof and bottled without aging
3. Hacienda del Cristero 100% agave azul
Amatitan, Jalisco-lowlands
bold citrus notes a benchmark silver

4. Tapatio Blanco 100% agave azul
Arandas, Jalisco-highlands
smoky mezcal finish, my favorite silver

5. Alma de Mujer
El Arenal, Jalisco-lowlands
A nice blended tequila I picked up at the Expo

Reposado-reposed, rested 2 months to a year in oak
6. Pueblo Viejo 100% agave azul
Tepatitlan, Jalisco-highlands
benchmark reposado, mexican slow burn with rich flavors

7. La Alborada 100% agave azul
Tequila, Jalisco-lowlands
sasparilla, a slight mexican style burn upfront, a real star of the evening and one of my favorite reposados

Anejo aged in oak for a year or more
8. Bracero 100% agave azul
Arenal, Jalisco
at $25, the best anejo for the dollar hands down

9. Volcan de Mi Tierra 100% agave azul
El Arenal, Jalisco-lowlands
one of the most complex tequilas I've ever tasted from start to finish, best tequila of the night and pride of my collection

10.Siete Leguas 100% agave azul
Atotonilco el Alto-highlands
classic mexican tequila with spiciness and balance

Extra Anejo-aged in oak 3 years or more
11. Herradura Selecion Suprema 100% agave azul
Amatitan, Jalisco-lowlands
the elegant, smooth and sublime tequila from a mexican dynasty

Agave Azul-made from blue agaves in the state of Sinaloa
12. Los Osuna 100%agave azul
Mazatlan, Sinaloa
as good as anything in tequila but not invited to the tequila party, the last surviving house of blue agave in Sinaloa since the DOM was established

13. Sotol 100% Dasilyrion Wheeleri(Desert Spoon) not an agave
Chihuahua, Chihuahua
A great spirit distinct from agave, enjoyable, but lacking character.Their new 5 year Sotol I tasted was really nice at a recent event.

14. 300 Anos-made from local agaves in a mezcal process
Bacanora, Sonora
smoky flavors permeate this fine spirit as agaves from Sonora are roasted directly on coals, my favorite non-tequila agave spirit in Mexico

For dessert, bottle number 15, Agavero licor, a mixture of tequila and damiana(wild plant indigenous to Mexico) licor.

And that'a all there is to it.Take a peek at a google map before your tasting to get a lay of the tequila region, know where your bottles are from and look for patterns.Without knowing any better I found myself gravitating towards the city of Arandas and the highland's tequilas years ago.Then I started reading about the rich volcanic soil in the highlands and it all started coming together.Take note of the distillery because many of your favorite bottles will come from the same distillery.

It isn't a bad idea to put a little thought into decor and presentation.Traditional mexican pots and tablecloths.

A tequila tasting is really a simple affair, highly pleasurable, and a fantastic way to learn about this divine nectar from the soul of Mexico.
salsa de chile de arbol y guajillo

1 comment:

Masa Assassin said...

Wow this sounds and looks fantastic street!