Here are five things you probably don’t know about the agave plant. 1) It makes a really dramatic statement when potted in a Southwestern garden. All green and pointed, casting a slightly blue hew in the sun. 2) The nectar from the plant, dubbed “honey water,” has been used in Mexican dishes for centuries. You can get squeeze tubes of it in health stores now, like a trendy honey. 3) People used to make clothes out of the baked fibers extracted from the plant. 4) And they would roast and eat the heart of the plant, like a big, hearty artichoke. 5) Before Europeans showed up with the power of distillation, natives would ferment the heart of the agave by spitting into it (no kidding) and make a kind of beer with it. Cool. Gross, but cool.
Oh, and they use it to make mezcal and tequila. Tequila like Suerte.
Suerte is one of the newest brands to hit the tequila market. A couple of years ago, a Boulder, Colorado based duo partnered with a family-run distillery in the highlands of Jalisco, Mexico to produce, bottle, and market the family’s hand crafted, small batch tequila. Suerte has been slowly expanding the distribution of its three styles of tequila (Blanco, Reposado, and Anejo) ever since, and winning awards left and right in the process. Most notably, the Blanco won silver at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in 2013.
Like all high-end tequila, Suerte uses 100% blue agave, but the similarities stop there. The agave at Suerte’s distillery is harvested by hand, then roasted in brick ovens instead of being steamed in stainless steel. Then the agave is pressed, not shredded. The distillery uses micron filtering instead of charcoal filtering, and relies on gravity to power the filtration process, instead of pumps and motors. All of this painstaking care is taken to make sure the tequila retains the flavor of the agave, which has an earthy, downright herbal character. Think of good tequila as gin’s cousin from south of the Border. And Suerte is good tequila.
Pouring Suerte’s Blanco neat allows you to experience the full explosion of aroma, which is ripe with lime and sweet citrus notes. The first sip follows suit, with a bit of lime on the forefront followed by a layer of saltiness, like the tequila was dragged through a bowl of olives on its way to the bottle. The sip finishes with a hint of pepper before drying up with the heat from the alcohol. Over ice, Suerte opens up even more, like a good bourbon, and becomes this incredibly addictive sipper with a bright, herbal and lime character.
Suerte’s Blanco sits in stainless steel for a couple of months, but the company also produces an Anejo that’s aged in oak barrels for 20 months, twice the industry standard. If Suerte’s Blanco is this good (and it’s really good), it makes me wonder what sort of complexities aging it in oak would bring out.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering, not all tequilas are made from 100% agave. Just the really good ones. According to Mexican law, tequila must be at least 51% agave. Cheap tequilas pack the rest of the bill with sugar and additives. Bad cheap tequila, bad!
Stick to the 100% agave varieties, and your hangover will be less severe the following morning.
City: Boulder, Colorado and Jalisco, Mexico