A Tequila Reality Show?
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Tequila History Preserved
Watch the whole Last Tequila Standing series here:
|Adan y Eva Tequila|
|Alquimia Natural Margarita|
|Don Pilar Tequila|
|Manana Tequila Perfect Margarita|
|Pavoneo Green & White|
|Quinta de Gomez Tequila|
|Senor Rio Tequila|
In the desert Highlands of Mexico, 250 acres of land has been handed down from generation to generation for more than 200 years. This land stood as a pivotal battlefront in the war for Mexican independence. Land where determination and pride prevailed in the struggle for freedom.
Today, this is the land of Riazul — a silky, smooth tequila made from 100% blue agave, honoring the heritage of the land and celebrating the independent spirit of its people.
For too long, the authentic spirit of tequila was lost. Tequila became something to dispose of quickly, with a shiver and a chaser and great fanfare. No longer.
Too many things in life speed by. Good tequila — pure tequila — takes time to mature. And time to enjoy.
No shot glasses. No loud whistles. No chanting, cheering, or slamming.
Just you. Your time. Your space. Your pace. And a sip perfected over hundreds of years.
Tequila Aficionado’s Mike Morales and Alex Perez taste and discuss Riazul Tequila Blanco from Nom 1460.
Two hundred years ago, the highlands of Jalisco, Mexico served as a key battlefront in the Mexican War of Independence. During that struggle, Maria Higinia Gomez served as a high counselor to the Mexican rebel leaders. For her service, she was granted 10,000 acres of land — most of which she gave away to revolutionaries who fought for Mexico’s freedom. The remaining 620 acres was handed down from generation to generation and virtually untouched until Riazul’s founder, Iñaki Orozco, inherited the land in the late 1990s.
Iñaki knew that the land was located within the exclusive area of Mexico where agave could be harvested into what is officially recognized as tequila. He approached the family elders and pitched his idea to initially plant a few agave plants, with plans for more a much larger agave field in the future.
The elders were skeptical and challenged Iñaki‘s vision as naive and nearly impossible to achieve. But the young idealist was persistent and won them over. Soon, Iñaki had his chance to prove himself. He planted 100 initial agave shoots and that early agave crop flourished. Iñaki worked day and night to plant more than 175,000 more shoots.
Here, the high elevation, cool climate, and red volcanic soils — or tierra roja — give rise to agave that matures for close to a decade before reaching harvesting quality. During that time, the agave soaks up unique aromas and flavors indigenous only to this region.
Agaves harvested in the Jalisco highlands contain higher sugar content, resulting in more aromatic tequilas with sweeter tasting notes.
Early on, Iñaki simply planned to grow agave as raw product for other tequila companies. Later, he began thinking about launching a private label brand for restaurants and bars, but his dream kept getting bigger. When the elders heard thatIñaki planned to launch his own premium tequila brand, they thought he had lost his mind.
Today, Riazul Premium tequilas are available in hundreds of restaurants, bars, and retail outlets throughout Texas and in parts of New York, Illinois, Florida, Arizona, and Nevada, with expansion into other markets in the works.
Riazul Blanco and Añejo were introduced at the end of 2008 as the first tequilas in the Riazul portfolio. Both have gained quick acclaim from tequila experts and amateurs alike.
Riazul Reposado launched in September 2009 and word is spreading fast about this barrel-oaked tequila that is aged for nine months.
For some reason this article Tequila Timeline: From Agave to the Worm was reposted in Fast Company Magazine on Friday, November 20, 2009 from an earlier post on October 15, 2009. (Maybe it was because the editors forgot to add the cute tequila graphics the first time?)
Anyway, most of the timeline is historically accurate, except for this factoid:
“1873: Don Cenobio Sauza exports three barrels to El Paso, Texas, the first tequila in the United States. Today, the U.S. is the No. 1 market for tequila. Mexico is second. Third? Greece.”
Texas’ long history of laying claim to being the home of tequila in the United States can be credited to W. Park Kerr of the El Paso Chile Company fame. Not for anything that he may have said, but for what he did.
Kerr was the first Texas entrepreneur to distill a private label tequila (Tequila Naciónal) in Mexico to his specifications, thus opening the floodgates of recent tequila brands based in Texas such as RiAzúl in Houston, El Grado in Corpus Christi, Republic Tequila in Austin, Buscadores in San Antonio, and Dos Lunas in El Paso, among others.
In his book La historia del tequila, de sus regiones y sus hombres, author Rogelio Luna Zamora recounts:
“‘…con destino a Nuevo Mexico sale una partida de 3 barriles y 6 botijas….’ El punto fronterizo por donde salió fue el Paso del Norte (hoy Ciudad Juárez) en aquel entonces, paso obligado a las mercaderías exportadas por tierra al mercado estadunidense.”
[“‘…with a destination of New Mexico there is a lot of 3 barrels and 6 jugs….’ The border town point of entry was el Paso del Norte (present day Juárez) that in those days was the required land passage for commodities exported into the American marketplace.”]
In 1873, New Mexico was a territory of the United States, but still considered part of Mexico. The final destination of Sauza’s shipment is believed to have been to the oldest capital city, Santa Fe. Being also the terminus of the legendary Santa Fe Trail, the route that opened the Southwest to trading with the Eastern United States, this conclusion only makes sense.
Thirty-nine years later, New Mexico joined the Union. Flash forward to today, and there is only one New Mexican owned brand of tequila (Silvercoin).
Perhaps now is the time for more New Mexico entrepreneurs to step up with tequila labels of their own?
Originally posted November 22, 2009 by TequilaRack.