Thursday, August 26, 2010

Arrette Unique from Tequila Rack

Several weeks ago, I was in my local ABC store on Leesburg Pike, when I spotted some interesting bottles in the 'tall cotton' case. Right next to the Glenlivet 21 (picked up a bottle of that too), I saw several tequilas I'd never seen before.

Always one to experiment with new findings, I asked the owner what he knew. Apparently not much... However, he did mention that other connoisseurs he knew were buying them on a regular basis. I said 'What the heck', and picked up one of each.

Tequila Rack tequilas are designed for tastings. From their website:
The International Tasting Group has sourced several of the finest boutique Tequileras in Mexico and assembled their products of Micro Tequilas as a collection to be sampled and compared. Each Tequila has its own unique story.
The flavor variations come from the differences in the soil within the appellation of origin where the Weber Blue Agaves are grown, as well as the kinds of water and yeast used in the distillation process and the length of time and types of barrels used for aging. The color of each brand depends on how long it has been aged and what type of barrel was used. These differences all combine to give an array of flavors, aromas, textures and mouth-feels to our collection of Mexico’s finest Tequilas.

So let's take a look at each brand. I'll be featuring a new one every few days.

Arrette Unique

Named after the horse ridden in the 1948 Olympics that led to two gold medals for Mexico, Arette is distilled at the Tequileria El Llano, one of the oldest Tequilerias in the town of Tequila.
This tequila is classified as 'Extra-Anejo', having been aged in white oak casks for 6 years. It lends a wonderful woody flavor, with a smooth texture.
Lots of aromas and flavors of vanilla and caramel with touches of flowers and a lovely earthiness.
Flavor is a blend of very nice agave with baking spices, wood, and even some orange peel. The finish lasts forever.
This is a fantastic tequila. Seriously. While it's on the expensive side, and hard to find, it's worthwhile for ANY tequila lover to find a bottle. I'd buy it at twice the price.

Tesseron Cognacs

I've been a fan of Tesseron cognacs for quite some time, but they have remained in relative obscurity until a few months ago. At least in the circles I run in. Thanks to David Nathan-Maister at Finest and Rarest, some light has been shed on the brand. So much so, that I thought I'd go out and replenish my supply and do some reviews. A big shout out to Joe Riley at Ace Beverage in Washington DC, who had a good selection from the line.

First, a bit of brand history, blatantly copied from David's Tesseron page, which is one of the most informative I've found on the brand:

Cognac Tesseron is one of the great secrets of Cognac. Abel Tesseron created the company in 1905, relying at the time on two separate estates, one situated in the Grande Champagne area (Boneuil) and the other in Petite Champagne (Saint-Surin). He adopted a long term policy of buying up stocks of the oldest and finest eaux-de-vie, carefully conserved in a twelfth century crypt. Despite a very low public profile, this little known firm is today revered in the region, as owners of the largest stocks of great old cognac in existence. In their legendary innermost cellar or paradis, lie an incredible 2200 glass demijohns (most around 25 litres) of cognac dating from between 1825 and 1906, painstakingly built up by three generations of the Tesseron family. This treasure trove of 19th century cognac is supplemented by hundreds of oak casks of the very finest cognac dating from the first half of the 20th century. There is no comparable collection in Cognac or anywhere else - the Tesseron holdings are unique, and irreplaceable.

And now my thoughts on each:

Lot 90 'Selection': aromas of pears, membrillo, maple and soda bread. Taste is young, with leather, honey and dried fruits. A great ever day cognac. Good for Earthquake cocktails too.

Lot 76 'Tradition': Only made from Grande Champagne cognacs. A deeper and richer color than the 90. The aroma is also more delicate. Tea and mulled fruits. Flavor is citrusy with a noticeable rancio from the aging. The grape base is quite evident. Very smooth finish.

Lot 65 'Emotion': A special gift decanter edition. Nose of plums, leather and nougat. Flavors consist of tobacco, nuts, honey and baking spices. A dash of water brings out wonderful dark chocolate notes both in the nose and the flavor.

Lot 53 'Perfection': Absolutely gorgeous topaz/copper color. Deep and exotic. Lots of chocolate and old books on the nose. Figs as well. The flavor and texture is thicker and spicier than the younger line. Lots of dark chocolate and white pepper. Fantastic stuff.

Lot 29 'Exception': The only cognac to ever score a perfect 100 from Robert Parker. I can see why. This is exceptional cognac. Lots of leather, chocolate, oak and even cherries on the nose. The flavor is full of the same, along with a wonderful rancio (organic, earthy, mushroomy, umami type of aroma and flavor indicative of aged eau de vies). Spectacular.