It seems like the past 15-plus years have brought an explosion in the sipping tequila market. The quality houses for these delicious libations, which have been around for many years, are now getting their due for the variety of styles, aromas, and flavor they impart. Here are a few of my favorites.
Plata, also known as Blanco
Usually bottled immediately, or can be kept in steel tanks for up to 59 days before bottling. Tequila artisans consider Plata the purest expression of agave.
Try Clase Azul Plata: A delicious example of pure Blue Weber agave, orange, mint, touch of vanilla on the nose and palate, no heat — just a clean expression of agave.
Reposado tequilas are aged a minimum of 60 days in wood and can be aged up to 364 days.
Try Fortaleza Reposado: The traditional stonecrush methods really bring out the flavor of the agave. Touches of apple, cinnamon, earthy with a long, rich, spicy finish.
Añejos are aged a minimum of one year — and up to three years — in barrels. American, French oak, and used bourbon barrels are commonly used to impart different flavors and house styles.
Try Don Julio Añejo: Aged 18 months in American oak. Richly textured, beautifully balanced with just the right amount of spice, agave, and vanillin oak.
Aged a minimum of five years in various types of oak, depending on the house recipe, and usually in very limited quantities.
Try G4 Extra Añejo: Very smooth flavors of oak, vanilla, dark berries, and agave. Beautiful on the palate, long, complex and very satisfying.
A blend of Joven (young) Blanco, unaged tequila, and Reposado, Añejo, or Extra Añejo.
Try Clase Azul Gold: A beautiful blend of Clase Azul Plata, Reposado, matured in French oak, and blended with 8-year-old Extra Anejo. Layered flavors of agave, oak, vanilla, and orange spice on the palate, sensational!
Jamie McNeely is president and general manager of Our Market in Oak Bluffs, and of Vineyard Wine Shop, which is located at Our Market, and Your Market in Edgartown. Jamie is also a serious wine connoisseur, and is responsible for some of the finest wine cellars on the Island.