We decided to do a tequila in honor of the upcoming Cinco de Mayo celebration, an obvious choice perhaps. But with the warm weather a-coming and June right around the corner, Tequila seems more and more ripe for review. No other spirit embodies the carefree notion of summer and invokes feelings and memories in quite the same way. Sure, maybe you drink rum or vodka even in warm weather, but there is nothing like an ice cold margarita on the rocks on a hot day. Nothing. Tequila is the wild spirit of summer. Perhaps it is its mystic origins, in the ancient lands of Mexico, that make it such a special, ritualistic kind of drink.
What separates tequila from most of the spirits in the world is the plant that it's made from, Agave. There are many different types of Agave, a large succulent plant similar to Aloe that thrives in arid climates. We are only interested in one type, the aptly named Agave Tequilana. The hearts of these Agave plants are harvested and heated to remove the sap, the sap is then fermented and distilled to produce tequila. Tequila comes generally in three flavors: Blanco, Reposado or Anejo. Blanco has no color because it is not aged at all and bottled after distillation. Reposado normally has a golden color from being aged for 2 to 12 months in oak barrels before being bottled. Anejo is aged from 1 to 3 years in oak barrels. The aging process adds spiciness and flavor to the tequila while refining and smoothing the spirit as well.
We here at VINE-YL tend to prefer Reposados as they fall in the middle of the spectrum -a bit of the light freshness of a Blanco, a bit of the spicy woodsiness of an Anejo. We decided to try a tequila we'd never tried before, on a recommendation, Corralejo Reposado. Corralejo comes from a centuries old Hacienda in Mexico. It is made from 100% agave, as all tequilas should be (some lesser tequilas use only 55% Agave!) At first glance Corralejo seems very light in color for a Reposado, almost clear. The nose is pleasantly mild, with just light floral and herby, cinnamony notes. On the palate it's again surprisingly smooth and mild for a tequila. There is a bit of green fruit with a hint of spicy peppermint and wood, and something slightly medicinal. On the finish there is a pleasant burn and a little kick of pepper. A very pleasant sipping tequila and at under $30 a bottle, also a great addition to any margarita. Happy Cinco De Mayo everyone!