Spirits authority Sean Ludford of BevX magazine says the surest way to assess the attributes of a tequila brand is to sample its blanco version, also known as plata.
“Barrel aging has a profound affect on tequila,” notes Ludford. “Blanco tequilas are left unadulterated and typically bottled fresh from the still. When well-made, they’re vibrant, bursting with flavor, and best represent the compelling qualities of tequila.”
In case you’ve missed the initial fanfare over their releases, here are a few silvers you’ll want to explore.
Artisanal Jose Cuervo Platino is a charming blanco with such tremendous depth of character that it is guaranteed to make Jose Cuervo a household name. The handcrafted tequila is made according to the esencia de agave process in which only that part of the agave richest in fermentable sugars is used in distillation. Platino immediately grabs your attention with an alluring bouquet and a layered, long-lasting palate.
“Cuervo Platino is a genuine pleasure to work with,” states Adam Seger, general manager, sommelier and bar chef at Nacional 27 in Chicago. “Not only is it fabulous featured in cocktails, it demonstrates to consumers just how elegant a silver tequila can be, and [it highlights] the enhanced flavor of Jose Cuervo’s high-altitude agaves.”
New from the bestselling brand of 100 percent agave tequilas is Gran Patrón Platinum. In order to produce a more brilliant, light-bodied spirit, the tequila is sent through a traditional copper pot still a third time. Another innovative twist is that a portion of each distillation is aged briefly in American oak barrels prior to being blended back into the batch.
Bridget Albert, director of mixology for Southern Wine and Spirits of Illinois, describes Gran Patrón Platinum as a tequila to be celebrated. “Agave-forward with hints of citrus, it’s one of the few blancos deserving of a snifter.”
Also worth trying is top-shelf Partida Blanco, produced from mature, estate grown blue agaves cultivated in the rich, red volcanic soil of Amatitán, Mexico. The piñas are slowly baked, fermented and double-distilled in traditional pot stills before being bottled fresh. Partida Blanco is a sleek, aromatic tequila with a warm, satisfying finish.
The most innovative silver making its American debut is ultra-premium Maestro Dobel Diamond. This franchise player is composed of barrel-aged tequilas filtered to remove all traces of color and impurities. The result is a crystal clear, highly aromatic tequila with all the nuances and complexity of an añejo.