Alright, alright, alright! So now we’ve made it to the “Gran” Finale of our tequila tasting series. It is our “Gran” Finale because the final tequila of the tasting, the second “surprise” bottle that Chris shared, was possibly even more unique than the Jose Cuervo Reserva de la Familia 1997.
The final tequila of the evening was the Gran Patron Burdeos – Burdeos means Bordeaux in Spanish – an Añejo tequila matured in a blend of American and French oak barrels for a minimum of 12 months, then distilled a third time and re-racked – or “finished” – in vintage Bordeaux wine barrels.
While the concept of “finishing” – essentially the process of putting a spirit into a cask that had previously held other wines or spirit for a short period after initial maturation – is somewhat common for whisky producers, it has been much less common in tequila so far, although there is more exploration underway. Here, with the Gran Patron Burdeos, we have a tequila with a wine-cask finish. The wine barrel finish imparts to the tequila some of the distinctive flavors of vanilla, raisins and dried fruit found in Bordeaux wines.
As you can see in the photo at right, the presentation of this special tequila is….well, special. Each bottle comes in a handcrafted box made of black walnut and is designed to double as a display case for the bar. The interior of the box is lined with suede, and the packaging includes a lead-free crystal bottle, a specially designed corkscrew to assist with opening and an lead-free crystal bee stopper to preserve every drop.
Gran Patron Burdeos is a definite luxury item, with a price tag that runs $495 or higher per bottle, so having the opportunity to taste this tequila was very much appreciated! Thanks again, Chris!! But what did it taste like?
Gran Patron Burdeos
This particular bottle of Burdeos is stamped with LOTE BX 005813 130449 17:03. There is no table or source that I could find to translate the stamp codes, but my guesstimate is that it either indicates that this is bottle number 5813 and was bottled in 2013, or it that this was bottled 2005, Aug 13 and it is bottle 130449. I know, a highly definitive answer, right! Sorry, best I can do! Anyway…..
Color: Dark amber
Nose: The wine finish is immediately noticeable in the glass. There is an underlying earthiness and agave juice note, but in reality, this one is all about the vanilla, the dried spices, and fruity notes that come from the wine barrels. As I first smelled this tequila I tried very hard not to be influenced by the knowledge of the maturation process, but there is no way not to recognize the effect this extra step had on this tequila. The good news, though, is that these added aromas are very well-integrated and don’t completely consume the traditional tequila notes, which assert themselves alongside the spice and fruits notes.
Palate: As with the nose, the agave is there, but on the tongue this is almost more “Armagnac” than tequila. The arrival is richly fruity, dense and oily on the tongue. There are all sorts of dried fruit and red grape notes, beautiful herbal spices, a hint of chocolate, some subtle oak notes of vanilla and cinnamon. Great body!
Finish: Spiced vanilla, some damp earthy agave, slightly tannic and drying at the end. Quite a long, lingering finish.
Overall: Wow! This Burdeos starts moving tequila into a whole new realm, a completely different category of tequila! The introduction of the aromas and flavors that the wine finishing adds just so much depth and complexity on both the nose and the palate. Kudos to the master blender for his skill in putting this together! For me, this was unquestionably the star of the evening and an incredible tasting experience! I said you had to try the Cuervo Reserva de la Familia, and that still holds true, but you might even consider selling your first-born to try this one! (not really, but close!)
Wow! Yep, that sums it up pretty nicely!