Appetite: An elegant line of tequilas

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Jesus Maria's Tequila Avion: tasty, refined

Tequila Avión has gained a sort of cult status from a (unsolicited) mention in the show Entourage, but I’m glad to say this tequila holds enough quality to stand on its own. Produced in the Jalisco highlands, in the town of Jesus Maria at the highest elevation of any tequila producer (7000 feet), brings a naturally higher sugar content to the agave plants. Their process is to roast the agave plants at very low temperatures and let them cool naturally which retains more juices and makes the plants less fibrous when crushed.

In meeting with Tequila Avión’s lovely president, Jenna Fagnan, I learned that they use 60% more agave to make a bottle of Avión than the average tequila. It’s intriguing to note that they went to the town itself to find their distiller: Alejandro Lopez is a young distiller from a fifth generation family of agave farmers and distillers right there in Jesus Maria.

Launched only a year and a half ago, Avión is now available in 48 states and Canada. Growing rapidly, Fagnan says, “We’ll grow as fast as the quality allows us to,” emphasizing that they won’t be taking shortcuts to meet the demand. Though in a joint venture with behemoth spirits supplier Pernod Ricard, Fagnan says they retain full control over production and the recipes they began with.

All three are smooth, elegant, flavorful expressions, and generally affordable – even the anejo is reasonably priced around $50. As is typical, I like the blanco and reposado best, the blanco bright and silky, the reposado subtle with spice and toast. The anejo (aged 2 years in light char bourbon barrels) is not much darker than the reposado, a natural color vs. having any color added. It manages to retain herbaceous, agave properties alongside barrel notes of vanilla and caramel.

Sample Avión at Colibri Mexican Bistro downtown or purchase at K&L.

--Subscribe to Virgina's twice-monthly newsletter, The Perfect Spot, www.theperfectspotsf.com

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