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The 2nd Annual Las Vegas Tequila Fest was held Sept. 12 and 13 at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino showcasing tequila from major legendary labels and boutique tequilas distilled in the heart of Mexico with tastings and seminars about tequila with master distillers and tequila experts.
This popular Mexican spirit is derived from the blue agave plant, made in the area surrounding Tequila, a town in an area known as Los Altos de Jalisco about 40 miles northwest of Guadalajara in the highlands of the western Mexican state of Jalisco. The volcanic soil in the region surrounding Tequila is particularly well suited to the growing of the cactus-like blue agave and more than 300 million of the plants are harvested there each year. However, both U.S. and Mexican laws state that tequila can be produced anywhere in Mexico, and there are several other tequila-producing regions.
Tequila is most often made at a 38–40% alcohol content (76–80 proof), but there are also several varieties of tequila produced with 43–46% alcohol content (86–92 proof). It is encountered in three principal varieties - tequila blanco, which is clear and unaged, has a pure agave taste and a sharper bite; tequila reposado, which has a light-golden color, is aged for several months and has a smoother and more characteristically woody taste; and tequila anejo, which has an even smoother and flavor.
Tequila is a complex liquor that can be sipped slowly. It should be served at room temperature; although if you like it cold, you can keep a bottle in the freezer since alcohol does not freeze. Traditionally most people serve it in a "caballito," a 2 ounce glass made exclusively for this purpose.
The famous Riedel Glass Company from Austria introduced a 6 3/4 oz tequila glass. Riedel reports that “This elegant slender glass has a tall stem, meant to lift fine tequila to the level it deserves, to accord it the appreciation and respect of which it is worthy.” Añejo is preferably served in a snifter so that its aroma is fully appreciated.
The tequila shot with salt on one hand and a bite of lime is from American movies and few people drink it that except Americans and tourists to Mexico. However, some people do put some lime juice in the tequila or bite the lime before sipping it. In many restaurants throughout Mexico, a small tray is brought to your table with your favorite brand, a caballito with sangria, salt and half a lime.
Some of the tequila producers represented included 3 Amigos Tequila that is family own, managed, and controlled and in fact, the land where 3 Amigos Tequila brand grows their agave is owned by 3 Amigos. When their agave is grown, it is transplanted from a more mature agave that sprouts out young agave. These agaves are not introduced to any pesticides or herbicides making the tequila organic. All work is provided by ranch hands, who shave off some of the leaves from the agaves; as well as cattle that consume the weeds and grass. They offer blanco and anejo and produce it from beginning to the final product. Their website is www.3amigostequila.com
Tequila 1519 is a new company made with blue agave from Jalisco and named after the first Andalusia horses brought to Mexico in 1519. They offer three varieties of their tequila and premiered their new product at the Tequila Fest including blano, anjero and reposado varieties.
Jalisco International Imports, Inc. which is premiered Senior Rio tequila at the Tequila Fest. Jonathan Gach and Deborah Medina are the co-founders and Gash said, “My partner Debbie and I love tequila and as tequila became more popular, we decided to go to Mexico and produce our own. We wanted to create a brand to be considered the cognac of tequilas.” They developed Senor Rio to be a smooth elegant tequila that can be paired with gourmet dining. Their website is www.senorrio.com.
Tequila Herradura was founded in 1870 and is one of the oldest companies producing tequila. They were the first to introduce a variety of reposado in 1970 and have recently introduced el Jimador tequila, now one of the most popular brands.
For more information, visit www.lasvegastequilafest.com