The Tasting Panel magazine

September 2012

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Page 91 of 132

Canadian tequila importer Eric Lorenz agrees. "I think the appeal works on two levels. Because they have the added fl avors that come with barrel aging, many tequila novices perceive reposados as easier to drink than blancos. On the other hand, reposados are attractive to longtime afi cionados because of their elegance and refi nement. The best expressions offer a full agave fl avor with herbaceous or vegetal aromas, as well as subtle hints of oak." The on-premise reality is that most consumers prefer sipping cocktails than drinking spirits straight. The same holds true for tequila. According to master mixologist and spirits authority Jeffrey Morganthaler, reposados are the go-to expression. "To be honest, each type of tequila has its advantages when it comes to drink-making, and some cocktails are better suited for one expression over the others," says Morganthaler. "That said, reposados offer a marvelous balance between the bright, fresh fruit fl avors of a silver tequila and the rich, lush caramel and vanilla found in aged spirits. Reposado works beautifully in spirit-driven cocktails, where silver tequila might be overbearing and añejo might get confused for any other aged spirit." For a tequila to be classifi ed as a reposado, by Mexican law it must be rested (reposado) in wood for a minimum of two months and not more than 364 days—one day short of a year. Most are matured in charred oak barrels previously used to age bourbon. Used barrels impart less tannin to the tequila than do new barrels and imbue the spirit with a subtle whiskey character. Increasingly more arti- sanal brands are fi nishing their reposados in different woods, including sherry butts, port pipes and cognac barrels. As would be expected, each variety of wood has a dramatic infl uence on the fi nished tequila. Therein lies much of the artistry behind making a world-class brand. Hot New Reposados for 2012 It should come as no surprise to indus- try observers that tequila sales are red- hot. It continues to be the fastest growing category of spirits, increasing 6.4% in volume in 2011 to 12.8 million 9-liter cases sold, according to the Technomic's Adult Beverage Report. Tequila now comprises 6.4% of all spirits sold in the U.S. The unfettered growth has left many consum- ers feeling overwhelmed. So which of the recently introduced reposados are intrigu- ing enough to make their way to the bigs? Here's our take on the top 12 contenders. Bracero This newcomer is made in El Arsenal in the Highlands of Los Altos at family-owned and -operated Elaboración de Bebidas Destiladas de Agave (NOM 1524). The reposado is double-distilled in small batches and matured for ten months in charred American white oak. It has a burnished copper hue, a spicy herbal bouquet, a semi-sweet palate brimming with the fl avors caramel and vanilla and a warm, satisfy- ing fi nish. Sabemos Beverages Comisario Ultra-premium Comisario is a luxurious tequila produced in the Highlands of Los Altos at the Agaveros y Tequileros Unidos distillery (NOM 1529). The reposado is aged seven months in Canadian oak barrels and chill-fi ltered to remove any residual impurities prior to bottling. It has an amber hue, a velvety textured body and a vanilla and a citrus bouquet with light smoky notes. The long fi nish is laced with minty, peppery fl avors. World Food & Beverage Group Don Modesto Don Modesto is a neo- classic Lowland tequila made in Amatitán, Jalisco at Tequilera Rivesca (NOM 1531). The tequila is produced using the same techniques and same mountain spring water used by the distillery's founder, Don Modesto Toro Anaya. Don Modesto Reposado is aged seven months in American oak barrels. The amber hued tequila has a cinnamon, vanilla, caramel and lightly spiced nose and a palate brimming with the fl avors of cocoa, caramel, spice and light citrus. Modesto Spirits Dulce Vida Handcrafted in the Highlands of Jalisco at Grupo Industrial de Los Altos (NOM 1443), Dulce Vida is certifi ed organic and bottled at 50% alcohol (100 proof) to better preserve its bril- liant character—less water, more fl avor. The reposado is aged 11 months in charred American oak barrels. Its stay in wood imbues the tequila with a rich golden hue, an oily textured body and a generous palate of black cherries, honey, chocolate and zesty citrus. Dulce Vida Spirits september 2012 / the tasting panel / 91

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