The Tasting Panel magazine

September 2010

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TEQUILA Twelve New Tequila Sensations by Robert Plotkin T here’s a mystique and romance surrounding tequila that few other products enjoy. The import has captivated the imagination of the American drinking public, making it the country’s fastest-growing spirits category. Fueling the phenomenon is a small cadre of new upscale tequilas. After all, nothing breeds success like success. The first sip will quickly reveal why they’re so popular. This is how tequila is meant to taste. In an evolutionary sense, tequila is a maturing category. As aficionados grow more discerning, distillers are responding by releasing the best and brightest their craft can produce, innovative offerings such as ultra-premium blancos, vintage-dated and single-estate bottlings and increasingly rarer and older añejos. Here’s our take on new tequilas destined for the fast track. Diamond Purity Undoubtedly the most innova- tive tequila making its American debut is handcrafted Reserva del Maestro Dobel Diamond. This franchise player is an ultra-premium blend of 12-month- old reposado, two- year-old añejo and three-year-old extra añejo tequilas distilled in the Lowlands and barrel-aged in new oak casks. Prior to bottling, the small- batch spirits are filtered to remove all traces of color and impurities. The result is a highly aromatic, crystal clear spirit brimming with nuance and com- plexity. Maestro Dobel looks like a blanco yet drinks like an añejo. PROXIMO SPIRITS 76 / the tasting panel / september 2010 Tequila Terroir High on the list of sure-fire prospects is single-estate Tequila Ocho. The range features vintage- dated, estate-delineated tequilas distilled in the Los Altos region. Each bottling showcases the agave Classic Style Often priced in the mid-$20s, Antiguo de Herradura is the consensus “best juice at the best value.” The brand was introduced in Mexico to com- memorate Herradura’s 125th anniversary and is now available in the U.S. The one-year old Antiguo Añejo is particularly sublime. The dark gold tequila has a light oily body and a delectable honey, cinnamon and butterscotch finish. It’s a sterling example of affordable luxury. BROWN-FORMAN from an individual estate. For instance, the agaves used to make the 2009 Tequila Ocho Añejo were cultivated in the heat and humidity of Rancho Carrizal, which is at a different altitude and miles away from the red soil of Rancho Los Corrales, where the agaves for the 2010 Plata were grown. Few brands better demonstrate the profound effect of terroir on a finished spirit this ultra-premium. ALTAMAR BRAND

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