The Jalisco Tourism Board came to Los Angeles recently to host a tequila tasting as part of an informative event and I was thrilled to attend to learn more:
Jalisco is full of tradition as the birthplace of tequila, mariachi and Mexico’s national sport charrería, but it’s also one of the states with the most developments, from a new archaeological site and a third international airport to burgeoning boutique hotels and ocean castles.
The event, held in the evening at the LINE LA hotel, started off with a bit of a meet and greet with German Ralis, the Secretario de Turismo for the Mexican state of Jalisco. He was quite charming, and the evening was starting out well.
Many may not know that they have been to Jalisco if they visited their popular cities, Puerto Vallarta or Guadalajara, before. I have to admit, I didn’t. We travel a lot but not knowing more about where we travel is no one’s fault but my own.
In my defense, there was one other wine writer friend that travels that also didn’t know much about the state of Jalisco, or that it was a state.
So, moving on, this is what I learned:
There is a city in Jalisco named Tequila where Jose Cuervo has built an empire for visitors to see: Mundo Cuervo. A trip there can include a tour and tasting on the Jose Cuervo Express Train complete with Mariachi music, distillery tours, more than one hotel, an International Events Center and a Cultural Center. This is where I would start. With the world’s most popular Tequila, the #8 spirit brand worldwide and the #6 spirit company in the U.S.
Jalisco is known for their blue agave plant and blue agave tequila, small beach towns, festivals, beer, a thriving hospital doing lots of procedures for tourists, excellent infrastructure, no crowds, most locals speak English, and even country music dancing.
Wine is also being made in Jalisco, varietals include Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec, among others, that do well in their microclimates.
California is the number one market for tourism in Jalisco. People don’t just come for the tequila: there are ancient ruins near Guadalajara, and they have three to four of the world’s 50 best restaurants.
Led by the impressive and knowledgeable Araceli Ramos Rosaldo, the Directora de Promocion Y Relaciones Publicas (think tequila sommelier) for Jose Cuervo Tequila, who started her presentation by showing us her bull horn somm necklace, telling us that she’d been with the company for more than two decades and had doggedly pushed through the idea of building Mundo Cuervo.
Rosaldo had three tequilas to present and first explained how the tequila should be savored: not by shooting it back, but by smelling for flavors with both the mouth and nose open, savoring in a Champagne flute, tipping to one side to see the “tears and legs” that would designate a good overall body and oils from the wood.
We tried the Reserva Platino (what we call silver), Reserva Reposado De La Familia (some time in barrels, with notes of chamomile tea, flower, cream and butterscotch) and Reserva Extra Anejo De La Familia. All were grand with particularly spectacular, what Rosaldo called “end of mouth”, finishes.
That Reserva Extra Anejo is the one for me with killer aromas of clove, nutmeg and chocolate in a lovely balance, like a fine single malt whisky. Rosaldo would pair with aged cheeses, mole sauce and dessert. Did some research and found it for $120 at Bev Mo but I’m told it’s about $20 less at Costco. Rosaldo said it was the best tequila for the last 13 years and traditionally spends 5 to 8 years in wood. Even the artistic label is changed with every annual release. Will be satisfied, for now, to tour Tequila shelves longer.
Learn even more here:
Eve Bushman has a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET), a “certification in first globally-recognized course” as an American Wine Specialist ® from the North American Sommelier Association (NASA), Level 1 Sake Award from WSET, was the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video (over 16k views), authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and has served as a judge for the Long Beach Grand Cru and the Global Wine Awards. You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits.