Not Every Tequila Is Made in Jalisco; Here Are 4 Fantastic Tequilas Made in Mexico’s Other Tequila-Producing States
Tequila is inextricably tied to its nation of origin, Mexico. Even more specifically, Tequila is inextricably tied to the Mexican State of Jalisco.
In the 18th century, the very first batches of tequila were distilled by the Cuervo family in the eponymous town of Tequila, Jalisco. In the centuries since, Jalisco has become a powerhouse within the tequila industry.
If there’s a recognizable brand on the market, nine times out of ten it’ll have been harvested and produced in either the damp lowlands of the Tequila Valley or the arid highlands of Los Altos de Jalisco.
This is in large part because of tequila’s protected appellation of origin. In 1978, it was cemented in law that for something to be called “tequila,” it has to be produced in one of five tequila-producing states; not only Jalisco but Guanajuato, Michoacán, Nayarit or Tamaulipas as well.
So what of these other tequila-producing states?
They have not been lost to history, but rather have simply been eclipsed by Jalisco’s colossal footprint.
From the coasts of Nayarit to the volcanoes of Guanajuato, there are vast and fertile lands from which tequila can absorb amazingly unique terroir.
While aficionados are quick to pick apart the differences in flavor between a tequila produced in the lowlands versus the highlands of Jalisco, the distinct differences in flavor between Mexico’s four other tequila-producing states are less discussed.
Here is a brief tour of recommendations through Mexico’s best tequila states – other than Jalisco.
From Michoacán – Hacienda Sahuayo Blanco
Harvested from the coast of Michoacán, the blue agave used in Hacienda Sahuayo Blanco gives it a uniquely astringent briny finish. Through the light flavor of sea salt you’ll also find an earthy mix of jalapeño, anise, black pepper and baked agave.
Highly rated within Mexico but rarely known in the United States, this isn’t a bottle you can often find on liquor store shelves, but one that can easily be bought online for under $30. At its price point, Hacienda Sahuayo has one of the best blancos you can buy.
Find Hacienda Sahuayo Blanco at Del Mesa Liquor.
From Guanajuato – Tequila Corralejo Añejo
Tequila Corralejo is one of the very few tequilas made outside of Jalisco with true international recognition. Its historic distillery Colonial Hacienda Corralejo was first erected in 1775, making it one of the oldest commercially-produced tequilas in the world.
Their Añejo, which combines oaky barreling flavor with robust notes of citrus, smoke and cherry, makes it onto this list in part because of its relatively modest $54 price tag- an exception within the often uber-expensive market of aged tequilas.
Find Tequila Corralejo Añejo at Total Wine.
From Tamaulipas – Chinaco Blanco
Chinaco is the only brand of tequila produced in Tamaulipas. What’s more, its distillery was founded in 1972, and its founder single-handedly fought to include Tamaulipas as a recognized tequila producer when the CRT was created only two years later.
That being said, Chinaco Blanco doesn’t make it onto this list out of obligation. Balancing a strong herby agave overtone with sweeter flecks of apple, pear and flowers, Chinaco Blanco has a little for everyone. Smooth enough for mixed cocktails but complex enough to sip on its own, a bottle of Chinaco Blanco will cost $42.
Find Chinaco Blanco near you.
From Nayarit – Aman Tequila Blanco
Nayarit is the only tequila-producing state without a distillery. AMAN Tequila’s founder Gerardo Madrigal, a Mathematics professor at East Los Angeles College whose family has been harvesting agave in Nayarit for generations, is aiming to build the state’s first distillery of its own.
Within this modern black and gold bottle you’ll find a remarkably sweet blanco exploding with flavors of fresh fruit, vanilla and cake batter. For $50, this isn’t the cheapest tequila blanco out there, but it’s one that bears bold flavors on its sleeve and proudly represents its region of origin.
Find Aman Tequila Blanco near you.
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