Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Tequila Factoids


Just as true champagne can only be made in Champagne, France, true tequila can only be produced in the Tequila region of Mexico and must meet stringent government regulations. It is made in two general categories:

• Tequila 100 percent Agave: Must be made only with the juice of the blue agave plant and must be bottled at the distillery in Mexico. It may be Blanco, Reposado, or Añejo.

• Tequila: Must be made with at least 51 percent blue agave juices. It may be exported in bulk to be bottled in other countries following the NOM standard. It may be Blanco, Gold, Reposado, or Añejo.

NOM, the official Mexican product safety requirements, defines four types of tequila:

• Blanco, or Silver: The traditional tequila. Clear, transparent, fresh from the still. Must be bottled immediately after distillation process. Traditionally served in a two-ounce glass called a ``caballito.''

• Oro, or Gold: Modified by adding colorings and flavorings, caramel the most common. Widely preferred for frozen Margaritas.

• Reposado, or Rested: Kept in white oak casks or vats called ''pipones'' for two to 11 months. Much mellower than blanco or oro, pale in color, gentle bouquet.

• Añejo, or Aged: Matured in white oak casks for a year or more. Maximum capacity of the casks should not exceed 159 gallons. Amber color, oak notes.

• Reserva: Not technically a category, but recognized as an Anejo aged in oak up to eight years.

Tequila has its unique points. For one, there are no vintage years because tequila is made year-round from a plant that takes eight to 12 years to mature and its ripeness doesn't depend on the climate of one particular year. However, the weather obviously plays a major role year after year on the quality of the blue agave plants.

Once the best plants are selected, workers cut off the outer layers to reveal the pina, the pineapple-like heart of the plant, roasting it, with a clay oven -- the most traditional and, say purists, the best way to heighten flavor.

¡Salud!

4 Comments:

At 11:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

very nice history of that fine beverage. do you think there are tequilas that are still moderrately priced at a value?

 
At 1:12 PM, Blogger Joe Gringo said...

IMO, best bang for your buck is Sauza Hornitos, you can get it for approx. $20-24.

 
At 3:30 PM, Anonymous antone, seattle said...

Dude, can't believe you said Sauza Hornitos, because that is the only tequila I drink!!

Antone

 
At 3:46 PM, Blogger Elmer's Brother said...

ummm...sounds good.

 

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