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Nick’s Deep Dive: Taking a Trip to Mexico’s Tequila Growing Regions

Nick’s Deep Dive: Taking a Trip to Mexico’s Tequila Growing Regions

When Spanish conquistadors arrived in Mexico in the 16th century, they brought with them the art of distillation. Adapting the local fermentation process, they created a spirit which they called "mezcal wine." Over time, it evolved into what is now known as tequila, named after the town of Tequila in the state of Jalisco, where the spirit was first produced on a commercial scale. Discover the craftsmanship behind each bottle of tequila with Pascale’s Liquors at 7401 Oswego Road in Liverpool, NY.

The Unique Geography of Tequila Growing Regions

Geography contributes to the diversity of tequila’s flavors. The highlands (Los Altos) of Jalisco, for example, are known for producing sweeter, fruitier agaves due to cooler temperatures and more rainfall. The Lowlands (Valles), on the other hand, have lower elevation and hotter temperatures, resulting in agaves with earthier, spicier flavors.

Jalisco: The Heartland of Tequila

Jalisco’s volcanic soil and temperate climate provide the perfect conditions for cultivating the Blue Weber agave that is used in tequila production. Agave cultivation in the area involves planting agave shoots (hijuelos) in nutrient-rich soil and allowing them to mature for several years before harvesting. This allows the agave plants to develop complex flavors and sugars, essential for crafting high-quality tequila. Amidst the rolling hills and volcanic soil of Jalisco, tequila giants like Patron, Don Julio, and Herradura craft their legendary spirits.
The brand uses traditional and modern methods to produce their tequila. Their flagship Silver tequila has a blend of agave from both the Highlands and Lowlands of Jalisco, resulting in a balanced and versatile spirit with notes of citrus, pepper, and herbs. Their aging process varies across their range, with their añejo and extra añejo expressions offering rich flavors of oak, vanilla, and caramel.

ABV 40%
Don Julio is celebrated for its premium tequilas crafted with meticulous attention to detail. Their Blanco showcases the pure essence of the agave with crisp, lemon peel notes interplaying with white pepper and grass. Their Reposado and Añejo offer complexity with flavors of caramel, vanilla, and oak, derived from aging in American white oak barrels.

ABV 38%
Herradura, one of the oldest tequila producers in Mexico, is renowned for its traditional production methods and distinct flavor profile. Herradura Silver is characterized by its smooth and herbaceous taste, while their Reposado and Añejo expressions exhibit rich flavors of cooked agave, light oak, and baking spices, with a smooth, earthy finish. 

ABV 40%

Other Notable Tequila Producing Regions

While Jalisco remains the epicenter of tequila production, other regions in Mexico contribute to the diverse landscape of agave spirits.

Guanajuato, located east of Jalisco, has become a notable tequila-producing region in recent years. Although production techniques in this region may vary, they often incorporate traditional methods such as stone oven cooking and tahona crushing.

Situated in northeastern Mexico, Tamaulipas is another region with a robust tequila industry. Its climate tends to be hotter and drier, influencing the flavor profile of the agave. Tequila production may involve similar techniques used in Jalisco, such as oven cooking and copper pot still distillation.

Nayarit, located on the Pacific coast, is known for its diverse agave spirits, including tequila and mezcal. From its coastal regions to mountainous areas, Nayarit provides a range of growing conditions for agave. Production techniques here typically involve both traditional and modern methods, choosing to go with whichever produces a cleaner, more agave-forward flavor profile in the final product. The same diversity in terroir is also present in Michoacán, however, tequila production here mostly incorporates traditional techniques passed down through generations, including stone oven cooking and tahona crushing.

While Jalisco is the dominant force in the tequila market, the emergence of these tequila-producing regions has expanded consumer options and diversified the market. They offer unique flavor profiles and terroir-driven characteristics, appealing to adventurous drinkers seeking new experiences.  

Challenges and Sustainability in Tequila Production

While tequila production is a thriving industry, it still faces several challenges. One of these challenges is agave shortages, which are caused by climate change, disease outbreaks, and increased demand for tequila worldwide. Shortages can lead to rising prices for agave and potential supply chain disruptions for producers.

As the demand for agave increases, concerns about land use and conflicts between agave cultivation and urban development grow. Balancing the needs of tequila production with environmental conservation and community interests presents a complex challenge for industry stakeholders.

The future of tequila production is also influenced by regional factors such as climate variability, land availability, and water resources. Producers may adapt to changing environmental conditions by implementing resilient agricultural practices and exploring alternative agave species or cultivation methods.

Despite the challenges, the industry is embracing sustainable practices and innovations to ensure its resilience and viability. Prioritizing environmental stewardship, social responsibility, and product quality can contribute to a more sustainable future for the industry while meeting the evolving demands of consumers worldwide.

Nick's Top Tequila Picks

This tequila offers a complex aroma of light fruit and agave with hints of pepper, herbs, and earthiness. The palate is greeted with a lively burst of vanilla and cinnamon, rounded out by a sharp kick of hot pepper, making it an excellent choice for both sipping and cocktails.

ABV 38%
This additive-free brand has a rich body and smooth texture with lingering aroma of cooked agave, sweet potato, cinnamon, and dulce de leche. The initial sip reveals these complex flavors, followed by layers of citrus and tropical fruits upon succeeding sips, delivering a fresh, crisp finish.

ABV 40%

Grow Your Tequila Collection

From the sun-kissed fields of Jalisco to the rugged landscapes of Guanajuato, each region offers a glimpse into the soul of Mexico, inviting us to savor the beauty and complexity of this timeless spirit. To learn more, visit Pascale’s Liquors at 7401 Oswego Road in Liverpool, NY, online at www.pascalesliquor.com or call (315) 701-078.