The Tasting Panel magazine

April 2012

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Page 104 of 133

SPEED TASTING REPORT A PLATINUM POWERHOUSE: AZUÑIA PLATINUM TEQUILA (SRP $30) A zuñia is made by one of the oldest agave- growing families in Jalisco, the Zuñiga family, who own the growing fields and the distillery, giving them ultimate control over their product. Azuñia Platinum is made from 100% Organic Weber Blue agave piñas, which are baked in clay ovens for 36 hours and naturally fermented without the addition of yeasts, resulting in a clean tequila that's equally mixable and sippable. Intersect Beverage mixologist Joe Valdovinos broke down the classic Marg with The Envy (aptly named on account of its green color), a well-presented chaser that really grabbed the panel's attention: Sans alcohol, the fresh cucumber/cilantro/lime juice with spherified tapioca pearls shooter, rimmed with black salt, was an exotic take that was part salsa, part party in your mouth. "Wonderful creativity," said panelist Cole Apodaca. "Exciting, fun and balanced and full of unexpected flavors and contrasts." Joe Valdovinos, Mixologist, and Alex Baca, Distillery Liaison, both for Intersect Beverages. The Panel's Scorecard: "A nice one with a bit of pepper heat; light and bright." —Naomi Schimek "Very unique, pleasant, sweet flavor with nice agave finish."—Blake Donaldson "Straightforward, slightly rustic, extremely spicy tequila. Great for blend- ing."—Dana Farner THE ROOKIE ROLLER: MONTALVO PLATA TEQUILA (SRP $40) W ith basketball superstar Shaquille O'Neal as a business partner, newly-released Montalvo Plata has impressive roots, but there's more to this 100% Agave tequila than fame-factor. Slow-cooked piñas are hand-selected and triple-distilled, the water used in the fermentation process is sourced from a well in the town of Tequila that's filtered through volcanic rock and the tequila is bottled imme- diately after distillation. "Montalvo is designed to enhance the tequila experience in a smooth, clean and memorable way," says Alex Viecco, Casa Montalvo CEO. After tasting the spirit straight, the panel was presented with a Montalvo Margarita that John Moraytis called, "very light and refreshing with the perfect use of sour grapefruit on the finish." Naomi Schimek remarked, "It's poolside refreshing and very well done. I could drink these all afternoon—and that's not a common thing for me!" The Panel's Scorecard: "Very interesting soft perfumed nose, round on the palate; smooth with rose petals and a lingering soft finish." —Blake Donaldson "Balanced, clean and bright with muted agave flavor, but nice vanilla and spice." —Anthony Dias Blue 104 / the tasting panel / april 2012 MONTALVO MARGARITA ◗ 2 oz. Montalvo Plata ◗ 5 oz. fresh juice of organic blood oranges, lime, lemon, grapefruit and navel orange ◗ ¼ oz. agave sweetener ◗ Splash of natural ginger ale ◗ Shake with ice, strain. Garnish with young ginger and fresh citrus peel. Casa Montalvo CEO Alex Viecco.

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