One tequila, two tequila, three tequila………
How Tequila is Made:
- Tequila begins it’s journey as an agave plant, of which there are many different varietals of. The main species of agave that is used in tequila production is the Blue Weber agave plant which can take an average of 8-10 years to reach full maturity.
- Once the plant reaches maturity, it’s chopped into smaller pieces and roasted to bring out the natural sweetness of the agave heart. After the roasting process, it’s broken apart and pressed to separate the solids form the liquids.
- The liquid that is left over from the pressing is loaded with natural sugars from the agave plant and is allowed to undergo fermentation, or the conversion of sugar into alcohol.
- After the fermentation process, a low alcohol “beer” or “wine” has been created and is ready to undergo distillation.
- Alcohol enters the vapor stage at a lower temperature than water, and this is how distillation can separate the alcohol from the rest of the remaining liquid from the “beer” or “wine”
- After the tequila has been distilled at least twice, it is ready to be called tequila. It can be aged in barrels to help mellow the spirit out.
Age restrictions on Tequila:
Blanco: unaged up to 60 days
Reposado : 60 days up to one year
Anejo: one year up to 3 years
Super Anejo: at least 3 years.
Main tasting differences between Highland Vs. Lowland tequila
1. Highland Tequila
If the agave plant was grown in the highlands, it will exhibit a sweeter and more floral quality. The final taste of the tequila can exhibit much more of the fruity agave flavor than it’s lowland grown counterpart.
2. Lowland Tequila
Lowland tequila can exhibit more of the mineral concentration of the soil and have a flavor that is closer to a vegetal or herbal focus. The peppery quality of the tequila is much more pronounced in a lowland grown tequila.
Now a tasting of one of my favorite Lowland Tequila Producers: Partida
1. Partida Blanco
Intense pepper flavor and really nice fresh agave flavor. The alcohol is noticeable in the beginning and is replaced quickly with a fresh mint aroma. The mineral quality of the tequila is noticeable and there is a brininess to the tequila that is present at the end.
2. Partida Resposado
Immediately there are aromas of vanilla and butterscotch, courtesy of used Jack Daniels barrels. The fresh agave flavor has been subdued and has been transformed into a sweet canned pear flavor, with a slight jicama note. The mineral quality and pepper notes are there, but not as pronounced as the Blanco. The texture on the palette is very smooth and silky.
3. Partida Anejo
This is where I feel that Partida, as a tequila producer, makes one of their best tequilas. The sweet pear that we noticed in the Reposado has been replaced by a roasted pineapple flavor and the vanilla and butterscotch has been replaced by caramel notes. The minerals that we have noticed in each of the previous tequilas have taken on a life of it’s own in this tequila, very faint and subtle, almost ghost like. It lingers on the palette and the sweetness of the tequila is slowly transformed into a slightly salty, beautiful expression of Lowland grown tequila.
Overall the Partida lineup represents what a Lowland grown tequila is all about. Do you have other Lowland tequila’s that you would recommend? I’d love to hear about them in the comments.