A Lesson in Tequila
Clear, unaged tequila that is normally bottled right after being distilled. When the clear white tequila drips from the cooling coils of the alambique, it is correctly called silver or plata, but is more commonly called white or blanco. Most platas pass directly to the bottling plant; however, some producers allow the tequia to settle and finish for a few weeks in the tanks before bottling.
TEQUILA REPOSADO: RESTED OR AGED
The first definitive level of aging is termed reposado or rested and mandates that the tequilaremain in wood for a period of two months but no longer than 12 months. This is a requirement of the Mexican government. Each distillery has its own preference for the type of barrel used in aging. Some of the most common are made from french oak or white oak. The type of barrel used and the resins and tannins exude a dramatic impact on the finished product and create the subtle nuances that distinguish one tequila from another.
TEQUILA AÑEJO: VINTAGE OR EXTRA AGED
The next level of aging is the anejo tequilas. Anejo, which means “vintage”, can only appear on bottles that contain tequila aged in oak barrels having a maximum capacity of 600 liters, a minimum of one year. This is a requirement of the Mexican government. A year of resting in a cool bodega produces a smoother and more sophisticated taste. American whiskey barrels, french oak casks, or cognac barrels are commonly used to age this tequila. Anejos are typically aged between one and three years. They are darker in color, more complex in flavor, and smoother than reposado tequilas. The commercial alcohol by volume must be adjusted by the addition of distilled water for each type of tequila.