July 27, 2011 at 11:32 AM
"To be included as one of the Catadores was one of the biggest highlights of my career..."
This past weekend I had the honor of sitting with 11 of the most respected tequila aficionados in the country for The New Mexico International Intimate Tequila Tasting (NMIITT) in Albuquerque.
Organized by Mike Morales, the NMIITT is an official “Cata de Tequila” or tequila judging, held under the guidelines of the American Academy of Tequila and/or the Mexican Academy of Tequila. The “Catadores”, or judges, blind taste a series of tequilas by class (Blanco, Reposado, Anejo, and Extra Anejo) having no knowledge of the name or distilleries participating. Each tequila is scored on its own merit of sight, smell, and taste then rated on a 20-point scale.
The event was held at Nativo Lodge over a full weekend, where the judges first gathered in a private room for the Cata. The following day, a public tasing was held along with the announcement of the winners in each catatgory.
Now I said this was a historic event, and it was in two ways. First, this was the first time in American history that Sotol (the native spirit of Chihuahua made from the sotol plant) was included in an official Cata. Secondly, this was the first time that organic tequila was judged as its own category in a Cata.
To be included as one of the Catadores was one of the biggest highlights of my career. And to sit next to the other 11 judges, considered some of the greatest minds and palates of tequila in the U.S. and Mexico, was a true honor.
Before I tell you the winners of each category, I want to say again that this was a complete blind tasting. We had no idea who was being represented in each glass: only given a bottle number. I was shocked at a couple of the results, but as I said, each tequila was rated on its own merit
And, the winners are…….
Best Blanco Corazon Blanco
Best Reposado Herradura Reposado
Best Anejo Antiguo 1870 de Herradura Anejo
Best Extra Anejo Jose Cuervo Reserva de La Familia
Surprised? I was.
For the first ever Organics judging here’s who won
Best Organic Blanco Alquimia Blanco
Best Organic Reposado Alquimia Reposado
Best Organic Anejo Republic Anejo
Best Organic Extra Anejo Alquimia Extra Anejo
Talk about a near sweeping victory! Now let’s hope we can get Alquimia in New Mexico soon!!
Finally, the Sotols.
Best Blanco Don Cuco Sotol Traditional
Best Reposado Don Cuco Sotol Reposado
(no anejo category judged)
Coming soon, I will have interviews with some of the judges as well as some of the tequila makers who placed in the Cata along with a diary of my experience over the weekend.
Suffice to say, I cannot wait to do this again!