Friday, October 9, 2009

First Taste: Pueblo Viejo Blanco Tequila

The efforts by the tequila business to shed the bad old image the spirit earned in the 1960s have largely succeeded, but one result is that tequila prices have gone through the roof. As good as some of today's blancos are (and believe me, the improvement in quality at the blanco level is clear; now, if only barrel management in Jalisco got as much attention as agave quality).

But there are always bargains to be had, and here's one some savvy mixologists already know about; Pueblo Viejo Blanco from Tepatitlan. It has a light cocoa powder, even baby powder, aroma at first, followed by anise seed, orange rind and a touch of bitter herbs. In the mouth, it has a great balance between minerally citrus, mostly lemon and lime, and a moderate agave sweetness. There's a notably rich texture, and the blanco finishes with another dusting of cocoa powder along with a clean lime and apple crispness, a lovely tequila all around. Prices vary, but last month in San Diego, I saw it going for under $16 at a chain store, a steal as far as I'm concerned. (Imported by Gemini Spirits and Wine.)

My score: 6.5

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