The Tasting Panel magazine

December 2016

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december 2016  /  the tasting panel  /  121 Riazul Plata is clear, aged for 15 days in American oak barrels. It has a sweet-savory scent, includ- ing aromas of pineapple and powdered powdered sugar with with pickling herbs herbs and spices; spices; its taste fades fades to roasted peppers peppers and white white pepper and and uses only long-maturing long-maturing agave. agave. Riazul Reposado is aged for nine months in American and French Oak bar- rels, which lends a very smooth, dry-yet-fruity, medium-to-full body profile and a long, second- ary warming finish with complex notes of crème brulée, pepper and earthy radish. amber spirit that is aged for two years in barrels used in the production of French XO Cognac to cre- ate an excep- tional flavor and a soft, silky feel. Its primary aromas are of honey, vanilla, Maraschino cherry and spicy pineapple; the taste over the long finish is a balanced mix of sweet and peppery spices. Riazul Plata Riazul Reposado Riazul Anejo is a complex, rich golden amber spirit Riazul Tequila, however, is produced from 100% estate agave. The 620 acres of land in the Jalisco Highlands is where Iñaki Orozco took a risk, hand-planting his first agave shoots in 1999. Early on, Orozco planned to grow agave for other tequila companies. But when he realized the quality of the blue agave he was grow- ing, he decided to create his own brand, called Riazul. The name comes from the river that runs through the highlands and provides a consistent source of irrigation for the agave plants. The property, located in the Jalisco highlands, has its challenges as an agave- growing area: a harsh microclimate, high elevation (2,000 meters above sea level), strong winds, temperature fluctuations and high mineral content of its volcanic soil. Orozco decided to forge on and give it a go. But first he had to persuade family elders to agree to a trial planting, one that eventually grew from 100 shoots to more than 175,000 plants. Orozco planted the first shoots himself, by hand. He knew that highland agaves are highly sought after because the combination of high elevation, cool climate and red volcanic soil—called tierra roja—imparts a unique character to the blue agave and gives the resulting tequilas a definite sense of terroir. One of the outcomes of growing blue agave in the highlands is higher sugar content and a fruitier flavor profile because of the stress the plants endure. The end result is tequilas with alluring and aromatic citrus notes and a subtle sweetness. Riazul is imported from Mexico by Terlato Distell Artisan Spirits, which is a division of Terlato Wines International, a family-owned business based in Chicago that traces its roots back to 1983.

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