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Culture,Spirits

Wine & Spirits ~ Tequila 101

The deeper into this business of beverages I delve, the more aspects of it become revealed.

The only spirit that I’ve come to really, just naturally enjoy in this lifetime is tequila. As soon as I’m having Mexican food, I deliberately leave wine behind and order a margarita. I love tequila… that’s all… A great tequila with a fajita is my kinda food and spirits combination.

So, the universe has delivered a tequila company to my business, and I’m off on another learning curve.

Tequila Semental is giving me a shot at a good basic understanding of tequila; one that I never knew existed. I just always knew I liked it.

So, here are some very basic things I’ve recently come to learn about tequila that make me begin to appreciate more than a frozen margarita… although, I still love margaritas.

The yin yang you’re looking at is something I PhotoShopped. The light background is a blue agave field.

  • The blue agave is the plant from which tequila originates.
  • The blue agave for the tequila spirit comes from the state of Jalisco in the country of Mexico. One of the areas in Jalisco is Tequila. Tequila, the beverage, comes from Tequila, the town; just as Champagne comes from Champagne.
  • Tequila has two cultures: One is riotous and goes along with machismo mind-numbing sprees; the other is enjoyable, and goes along with gastronomic pleasures and civility.
  • It has been distilled in Mexico for the last 400 years, and is considered the spirit of Mexico, in more ways than one.
  • Tequila came into fame during the dictatorship of Porfirio Diaz. I first learned about Dictator Diaz through Jim Concannon, whose grandfather James Concannon had a connection to him. From 1889 to 1904, James Concannon shipped millions of grapevine cuttings from Livermore to Mexico. Porfirio Diaz had a palate for beverages.

My sashay into the world of tequila has really begun with Tequila Semental. To understand the company, I had to first understand the name that was chosen for this new brand. This would then lead me to understand a lot more about Mexican culture.

Semental, the Bull

The bull that this tequila company has chosen as its image is not a mere bull. He’s the bravest of all bulls, belonging to a very special caste, called “SEMENTAL.” An original species from Spain (Bos Turus Ibericus), the Semental is born and raised only to demonstrate its braveness in the bullring. The selection process beings with the cows of this species. These cows must first demonstrate their own braveness by fighting in small rings at ranches, in order to gain the privilege of bearing offspring.

Semental bulls are chosen for their excellent breeding purposes. There is a selection process that’s in place for the selection of the bulls, but I’m going to give you another scenario that was explained to me, by Tequila Semental’s proprietor Efrain Raul Lopez. This one happens during the traditional bull fights in Mexico or Spain.

Matadors and bulls are paired by their skill level and bravery. When the best of the best of matadors go into the bull ring, with the best of the best of the Sementals, the bull fight is carefully observed by the audience. If it appears that both the bull and bullfighter are equally paired and have endured an equally excellent sport, the people who have come to the bull fight will call for the bull to be spared. When this happens, the Semental will go to a ranch to live a quiet life from that point forward.

This story is a revelation for me, as I learn this new (to me) Mexican culture. (Although my last name is Diaz, it’s my husband’s surname, and his background is Puerto Rican. Mexican and Puerto Rican cultures have vastly different histories, people, and backgrounds based on who invaded their lives and for what reason the invasions occurred.)

So, Running of the Bulls could also be called Running of the Sementals. It’s not something that I would ever dare to do, except with this tequila company.

What my new friends have taught me is that I now enjoy moving beyond a margarita, and I now prefer a great shot of Añejo… Not as a shot, but sipped and enjoyed as a spirit. Not only was I aghast that in a meeting that lasted six hours with our new Tequila Semental clients that I did one shot per hour – with no ill effects, but so was everyone else aghast. I was in a board room with the big dogs, and I just found myself sipping enough that each hour brought a new round to my empty glass.

Because this Añejo is produced in pure conditions with only the best of the best and newest equipment, then aged in new French oak barrels for one and a half years, the tequila is divine in aromas, flavors, and a really smooth finish. This is what amazed me, and moved me from a frozen blended beverage to one of style and grace. Fortunately for me, my body doesn’t react as others may… in wild and demonstrative mannerisms.  I experience  simple enjoyment… and I may giggle a bit more, I’m thinking.

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2 Responses to “Wine & Spirits ~ Tequila 101”

  1. Roger says:

    Nice write! I prefer an Añejo (aged) rather than a Reposado (rested) as well. Keep ’em coming…

  2. Jo says:

    Roger,

    I love your peace sign on your site. between this yin yang and your peace sign, we’ve got things covered. ;^)

    http://rogerleepaige.wordpress.com/

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