Jose Cuervo DistilleryTour: Part II

After the Agave pinas are baked, crushed, fermented and then distilled twice, the tequila is now ready for its final stage – aging. While there are hundreds of brands of tequilas, there are only three main types:

1. Blanco (white or silver)

2. Reposado (rested)

3. Anejo (aged)

Blanco tequilas can be consumed directly from the stills after the distillation process or are temporarily stored in large stainless steels vats. Blancos get thier name from the color of the Tequila. In it’s raw and pure form, Tequila is transparent and colorless. In the U.S. many Tequila brands such as Don Patron Silver are very popular. Although Blancos can be stored in stainless steel vats for a long, long time they are not considered aged unless it is stored in wood barrels or vats.cuervobarrels.jpgBlanco Tequila can be called Reposado if it is stored in wooden barrels for at least 3 months. During the course of 3 months what used to be a colorless Tequila is slowly absorbing elements from the insides of the barrel. The absorbtion of elements from the barrel start giving the Tequila a different flavor from more robust to spicy and also giving the Tequila a yellowish color. Some barrels are charred and the Tequila acquires a smoky, full flavor. American and French Oak are the most popular types of wood used to make barrels.Anejos are stored for at least one year and up to 3 years. These type of Tequilas are very high end and are highly sought after by connosiuers with sophisticated palates. Because of the aging, Anejos acquire rich, strong, flavors like Cognacs and fine whiskeys. Reposados and Anejos are considered sipping liquors and are not meant to be taken as shots. The picture on the left was taken at the distillery’s cellar. As you can see there is low lighting and the temperature is cool year round. The barrels are for a Tequila Anejo reserve. Call me unsophisticated but I prefer Blancos and Reposados. I appreciate the more distinctive Agave taste found in Tequilas that are not aged.

cuervosampling.jpgtequilamuseum.jpg

 

After the distillery tour, we head across the street for the Tequila sampling. We sampled the Silver, Reposado, and Anejos from the Cuervo Distillery. I’m not a big fan of Jose Cuervo, but the tour itself was very comprehensive and enjoyable. The cool thing about this tour is the distillery’s proximity to the town’s central plaza. Walk a few hundred feet to the right and you can visit the Tequila Museum. The picture to the right shows the courtyard of the hacienda. It’s a small, pretty cool museum. I also took these pictures at the museum. On the bottom left picture is an antiquated distillation system. On the bottom right is a Tahona. Mules or horses would pull the Tahona in a circular pattern, crushing the baked ptahona.jpginas in the pit. Modern industrialization has made mules obsolete.olddistillation.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

If you walk a few hundred feet to the left, you can also visit the Sauza Tequila Museum. They don’t allow photographs in this museum … come on hombre, they think it’s the Louvre? There is enough time after the tour to not only go to both of these museums, but also to enjoy an agave paleta (Mexican popsicles) at the central plaza and do a little shopping at the market place. For those of you who are Catholic and feel guilty for doing nothing but drinking Tequila for the past few days, visit the church and repent for your sins.

plaza.jpgtequilachurch.jpg

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