OnFriday, July 22, 2011, in celebration of National Tequila Weekend, twelve of the most inspired and celebrated catadores (tequila tasters) from around the US enthusiastically gathered to judge a wide array of tequilas in an historic blind tasting competition at the New Mexico International Intimate Tequila Tasting(TM) held at Heritage Hotels & Resorts’ Nativo Lodge.
Gold, silver and bronze medals werebestowed not just in the blanco, reposado, añejo and extra añejo entries, but also unprecedented awards were given in the new Certified Organic Tequila category.
To ensure tequila’s integrity within the spirits industry, the New Mexico International Intimate Tequila Tasting™ followed the prestigiousAcademia Mexicana del Tequila (Mexican Tequila Academy) tasting protocols based on a twenty point rating system developed exclusively for the spirit.
In close cooperation with National Distributing Company of New Mexico, and conducted by SpiritsAficionado.com/American Tequila Academy, over sixty different brands and expressions of tequila were tested for their visual, aroma and flavor profiles.
Hopeful tequila “brands of promise” who participated in the cata (tasting) and vying for distribution in New Mexico were TequilaRack, Cuestión tequila, Alquimia organic tequila, Nobleza Azúl, Don Modesto, Tequila David Reyes, Cocula, and Sin Rival.
In the first ever Certified Organic Tequila Category, history was made when Alquimia Tequila gained gold medals in the blanco, reposado and extra añejo categories followed by a silver medal in the añejo entry. Certified Organic Republic Tequila scored a silver medal in the blanco and a gold medal in the añejo categories.
Composing the stellar panel of judges was a who’s-who in the tequila industry: Christopher Zarus, CEO of International Tasting Group/TequilaRack; Jason Lerner, partner in the newest restaurant and tequila bar in Chicago, Masa Azúl; Chris Milligan, The Santa Fe Barman and blogger for Forbes Magazine; Bob Wolter of TequilaTracker.com; Catador Mario Alejandro Marquez, President of Magía Azúl tequila consulting; Jason Silverman, Agave Beverage Manager at one of New York’s premier tequila bars and restaurants, AgaveNYC, and Alex Perez, Editor-in-Chief of TequilaAficionado.com, were among the twelve ardent tequila professionals, collectors and connoisseurs selected for this monumental task.
Among the top three blanco tequilas were Corazón de Agave, award winning Alquimia Organic, and the surprise in this vibrant category, a tie between mainstay Gran Centenario plata and new brand of promise, Nobleza Azúl.
Reposado winners were perennial powerhouse Herradura, Penacho Azteca grasped a silver medal, and in their first competition ever, Don Modesto broke through in dramatic fashion to grab the bronze from Nobleza Azúl by only two-tenths of a percentage point.
The añejo category was dominated by Herradura’s Antiguo 1870. A silver medal was shared by both Don Modesto and Republic Tequila (organic). The bronze medal was awarded to the dazzling Nobleza Azúl.
Finally, in the elegant Extra Añejo category, Jose Cuervo Reserva de la Familia was the frontrunner. Alquimia’s Reserva de Don Adolfo placed a solid second, and another tie between two tequilas from the same house, Sin Rival and Cocula snared bronze medals.
For a complete list of medal winners and competing tequilas, visit www.NMIITT.com.