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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Tuesday Tasting: Anejo Tequila

Tuesday Tasting is a regular feature of Lyke2Drink that explores some of the best beers, wines and spirits on the market. This week we head south of the border to taste the juice of the blue agave.

Tequila is named after a town in the Mexican state of Jalisco. I've often wondered how someone first got the idea to cook the massive blue agave -- the pinas weigh around 150 pounds when they reach maturity at 8-12 years old -- but I'm glad they did. After being heated for 24-36 hours and processed, the resulting aguamiel or honey water, is distilled down to Tequila. Tequila, similar to vodka or gin which go straight to market after distillation, can be on a store shelf with just a relatively few days or weeks of aging. However, by paying attention to the label you can find a 100 percent agave Tequila that is aged up to a year -- called a reposado, or product that has been in the barrel for one to three years -- called anejo. Hold the salt and lime, you want to experience the flavor.

Today we taste six fine anejo Tequilas.

Don Julio Anejo ($50): A light golden color that has crisp fresh wood tones. The slightly sweet flavor finishes with pepper. Good balance throughout.

Gran Centenario Anejo ($55): This 80-proof Tequila is copper colored and has a classic agave nose. Aged for 18 months in French oak, it has a very smooth flavor profile with finishes of pepper and spices. Worth finding and trying.

Herradura Anjeo ($50): A nice copper color, this 80-proof Tequila is aged for two years offering mellow, with an oak base, a hint of vanilla and a long finish. A very nicely put together drink.

Sauza Tres Generaciones Anejo ($40): This Tequila is light gold with a hint of honey in the nose. It has a very flavorful finish with tones of pepper, nuts and agave throughout.

Tequila El Conquistador Anejo ($52): This 100 percent agave Tequila is golden in color and has a slightly floral nose. The flavor profile is a pleasing combination of pepper, green grass and citrus.

Jose Cuervo Reserva de la Familia ($100): Whiskey bronze in color, this Tequila has deep rich agave character with hints of grass and spices. Made from a blend of anejos, some aged for 10 and 30 years, this Tequila is sold in artist-designed keepsake boxes. The barrel aging comes through with mellow hints of wood in the finish.

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