Note: My husband, John Ofenloch, has served as my editor since Dallas Wine Chick began more than 8 years ago. When he decided to go down the path of learning about spirits, I 100 percent supported that journey. In March, he asked in lieu of a Father’s Day gift, to do the high end tequila tasting at the Four Season’s Resort in Punta Mita, Mexico. This is his story.
I am a bourbon guy. Always have been and still am, which makes it a bit unusual for me to write my first guest blog about tequila.
Tequila – for many (including me) it brings back memories of bad decisions in college when we thought “gold” meant “good.” Being uneducated about tequila, I, like many after poor experiences, took a break from consuming this spirit unless it was buried in a margarita. That changed about a decade ago.
It took a trip to Mexico and an informed and persuasive bartender to convince me to go “local”.
Efrain and me
I was at the Four Seasons Resort in Punta Mita, sidled up the bar and asked the bartender to recommend a sipping tequila. He immediately recommended a brand-name tequila that is highly marketed, very popular in the US and not cheap. Not that it is bad tequila, but having done a modicum of research, I shook my head and asked for another option. He smiled. What happened next was a tasting of tequilas, mezcals and raicillas. Some pulled from secret compartments behind the bar usually allocated for knowledgeable nationals who knew better than me.
Fast forward 10 years and I’m a convert. I now own proper Riedel tequila glasses and my college experience of tequila is far behind me. Since that enlightening day in Mexico, I have had the opportunity to try many great tequilas, but recently I had the rare opportunity to taste three tequilas that you will not find…well…most anywhere. On another beautiful afternoon in May at the Four Seasons , Punta Mita, I sat down with Efrain (a tequila expert at the Four Seasons) to try the three Extra Anejos:
Gran Patron “Piedra” Extra Anejo – Aged for at least three years in new American oak and French oak casks, this tequila is produced using the traditional stone wheel process to grind the agave heart. I tasted cinnamon, vanilla and clove. I found it online for $400.
Clase Azul Ultra Extra Anejo – Wow – I am a frequent consumer of the Clase Azul Reposado but the Ultra is double distilled, aged for five years in sherry oak casks and produced in batches of 100 bottles per year. This lingered longer on the palate than any of the other two tequilas. I found it online for $1,800.
Jose Cuervo Ultra-Rare 250 – Jose Cuervo, there were times in college when you were NOT a friend of mine, but tonight…I love you. This insane tequila is first aged in French and American oak barrels, then blended with tequilas found in the legendary depths of the Cuervo cellar and finally aged for another year in sherry barrels brought from Spain. This limited-production tequila comes from agave grown on the original plot of land granted to Don Jose Cuervo in 1758 by the king of Spain. From my research, 495 bottles were made and I found it online for $3,000.
I don’t know if I will be able to try these again but if you have the chance, and especially if someone else is picking up the tab (I picked up this one), don’t pass up the opportunity to try these amazing tequilas. And if you still shudder when someone mentions the word “tequila”, find a knowledgeable rep at your local liquor store and give this spirit another shot – trash the lime and salt and find one you can sip.