It’s the age of tequila. The once under-valued spirit that North Americans drowned in prepackaged sour mix or hid in a flavour onslaught of lime and salt has evolved from rotgut to super premium.
Have you tasted the good stuff yet?
Whether you’re new to tequila tasting or a seasoned hand at sipping blue agave añejos, the second annual Vancouver International Tequila Expo Friday, May 24 at Hyatt Regency Vancouver, has a tequila for you.
Over 23 tequila producers are pouring 60 tequilas at VITE’s main event: The Grand Tasting Hall on May 24. Tickets are $65.25. Last year, approximately 1,500 tequila fans showed up for the inaugural event. Given the growing enthusiasm for aged tequila, this year promises to be bigger than ever.
While chatting with a tequila exhibitor over a snifter is a great introduction to the new breed of world class spirits, VITE has an educational component, Agave Week, with tequila seminars, pairing dinners and master classes around Vancouver May 20-24.
Inside Vancouver blogger Remy has covered must-attend Agave Week events. In the meantime, if you’re considering attending Vancouver International Tequila Expo, here’s some tequila 101:
- Tequila is a highly regulated, exclusively Mexican spirit with an official Denomination of Origin like Cognac, Armagnac, and Champagne.
- The standard cocktail mixing liquor must be at least 51 percent derived from agave sap sugar to be labeled tequila. The more agave, the more tasty the tequila for aficionados who sip. If the label does not say 100 percent agave, the tequila is a mixto.
- Jimadores (agave farmers) harvest the agave at 8-12 years of age and remove the long, spiny blue-green pencas from the heart or piña of the plant.
- The agave is then slow-roasted in brick hornos, crushed to extract the sweet, baked caramel goodness of the agave aguamiel (“honey water”) for fermentation and later double (or triple) distilled into a peppery, and citrus-noted blanco tequila.
- Tequilas have three levels of aging. The youngest tequilas are called blanco, plato or silver. Next come reposados, which rest in oak barrels two to 12 months. The oldest are the añejos. They must be aged at least a year in oak barrels. They often spend three to five years in oak.
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