We were inspired by our friends Nancy and Rob and Kathryn and Robin to take an inland trip to Tequila. The four of them went there earlier this year, had great things to say, and came back with some amazing tequila. Rob is especially talented at describing the tequila making process and how to properly taste sipping tequila.
We rented a car for a week and boy was it great to have wheels again. Mike picked me up from the airport; I made a quick trip home to get injections in my cervical and lumbar spine as the pain and numbness were worrisome. The trip came at a perfect time so I could relax, stretch out and let the injections work.
Tequila is a quaint Mexican town. Other than the tequila tours it isn't touristy and we really got a chance to practice our Spanish.
The first day was kind of a wash because we didn't leave until late morning. We were able to walk around an historic walkway and saw quite a bit of the town.
We left with full tummies and headed for Amatitan to take a tequila tour at Hacienda Heradura. This turned out to be an excellent choice as our introduction to the tequila making process and the history of tequila.
The tequila making process begins with the harvesting of Weber Blue Agave (Agave Azul Weber). It takes 7 years for each agave plant to be ready for harvest.
The harvested agave is called "piña" or pineapple.
In order to extract the juice from the piña, they are put in a hot oven for 24-36 hours.
The juice can then be extracted and fermented and distilled. The byproduct of pulp is returned to the land as compost and the methane created in the fermentation tanks is used to power the process. I really appreciate the small carbon footprint.
Twice distilled, the tequila is now ready to drink as a blanco. Tequila aged 2 months is called reposado and aged 2 years is called añejo. There is also extra añejo that is typically aged more than 2 1/2 years. As in wine, this extra aging process adds color, complexity and notes of the surroundings, as well as influence from the barrel.
We stopped at Trés Mujeres and Miravalle for more tastings and purchasing.
We arrived back in Tequila in time for dinner and a celebration. The town was celebrating its 485th birthday in full Mexican fashion, complete with a parade, a ceremony, music, dancing,
carnival rides and traditional food and drink.
The next day we had a private tour of Fortaleza, a tequila we had discovered through Shindig and Agave Azul.
The tour happened by chance. We were walking along the historic/romantica walkway our first night in Tequila and were right next to Fortaleza when a car came out of the gate. The woman driving the car rolled down her window and asked if she could help us. We told her we loved the tequila and wanted a chance to tour the grounds and learn the history. We were given her private card and asked to call her this morning. Wa-la! Now we found ourselves learning the family story from Cristina Hernandez, the personal assistant of the owner, Mr. Sauza.
The tour ended with a tasting in their caves. A very nice touch!
Now we are officially tequila savvy.
First Mate Kate