May 5, 2010
Quick tequila picks

The Mexicans fought valiantly against the French at the Battle of Puebla. But hey, we're not here to give a history lesson about the origins of Cinco de Mayo. We're just looking for an excuse to sample some 100% blue agave tequila.

And throughout the Sacramento area, there's plenty of tequilas to sample and shoot. These 80 proof spirits aren't necessarily the kind from those hangovers college days gone by. Quality tequilas demand sipping like a Scotch to savor those complex flavors from agave and oak. Leave the shot glass, lime and salt for another time.

What to sip this Cinco de Mayo? Here are some quality tequilas that can be found around town. Expect to pay between $9 to $13 for a two ounce pour, save for that special bottle from El Tesoro. Salud!

Fortaleza Reposado
: Get a whiff of these wonderful butterscotch aromas. This "reposado" tequila - meaning it's been barrel-aged for more than two months, but less than a year - drinks especially smooth and with rich agave flavors.

Mejor Tequila Blanco
: Mejor Tequila has connections to midtown Sacramento. The company's chief operating officer, Angel Penilla, helps run the company from his home office near 20th and Capitol. The agave comes from the highlands of Jalisco, Mexico and this "blanco" (bottled less than two months after distillation) shows the essence of its agave in an easy-to-sip style.

Herencia Mexicana Tequila Anejo: Technically, this tequila could be classified as "extra anejo" since it's been aged for more than a year in barrel. And after three years of aging, you'll find a tequila that's remarkably balanced between its oak and agave components. Think of it as the aged wine equivalent of tequila.

Tres Agaves Tequila Casa Noble Single Barrel Reposado
: If you drop by Tres Agaves in Roseville for some Cinco de Mayo celebrating, get a taste of its custom reposado tequila. Made in conjunction with Casa Noble, a tasting team from Tres Agaves was sent to Jalisco to taste through barrels of tequila. This lot was the winner, with its combination of earthy and fruity agave flavors. We especially like this one for its clean finish.

El Tesoro 70th Anniversary Extra Anejo: Attention, high rollers and tequila aficionados, this bottle comes with a price tag that pushes $100. But if you've got the coin, you'll find a full-bodied tequila with an oak-y and rich agave flavor. The exceptionally long finish may help you get past the sticker shock.

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