Monday, 23 April 2012

Etzatlan (Day 3)

Hi, me again!! (Lots of pictures following!)

This morning we decided that the easiest way to get to the tequila tours in Tequila, about 40 minutes away, was to unhook the van and pack some of the gear away and leave some on the patio and just go. First we headed into town and dropped off the laundry - again!! I know, I am quite lazy aren't I? But in my defense, we had no idea where the do-it-yourself lavanderia was. Also, this way it enabled us to just go right away. Well worth it to us!!

First, we had to get permission from the iguana gate guard.....

She said, sure go ahead and crawled out of the way. She is pretty big!!

After dropping off laundry, we actually drove right through the town of Tequila and went to Amatitan, which is about 10 kms away (thanks to Doug's fancy research) and toured the Herradura plant. It cost $200 ps ($15.87) each for the "special tasting" tour. This is the one where you get to try the regular samples and some of the fancier types of tequila too. (Hey, who is going to drive home, anyway??)  

The other nice thing about doing these tours "off-season" is that we got our own private tour guide, Angel (of course English speaking....) He was great and we really enjoyed ourselves, right from the start:

Felix, the jimador, shows us how they still harvest the blue agave plants, by hand, seperately. The Herradura Distillery has something like 600 hectares of blue agave plants. This one was about 9 years old. The picture shows the "red heart" which indicates that the plant is ready for harvest....

Guess it was ready alright!!

Next they go in the ovens. One oven can hold about 45 tonnes of plants and this pile was about 80 tonnes. After they cook and cool (few days) they turn into a soft, stringy pulp, which we got to eat, and it was fantastic! (I wish they would just sell that!) You could taste a hint a tequila, bit of a sweet potato taste. Pretty cool!!


Just how much of this cooked plant could I get in my purse, anyway??!!

Really big, big tanks.....

Now we are on the top of those 64,000 litre tanks holding the juices.
No yeast or additional heat source is applied in the tanks during the
natural fermintation process.


Further along in the tequila making process....

It was also great to see the "old way", similar but so much more hard work!!

One of the original ovens

Cooked, cooled product got churned around and mashed here

Then, carried by bucket full and dumped into these old holding tanks...Yikes!!

I find that when you are on these tours, it is impossible to remember everything they tell you. But, I always go away with a deep appreciation of how things are done, past, present and future. Angel was very interesting and very passionate about the Casa Herradura group. The old original "casa" is from the late 1800's....Also, some of the workers that live on site are 7th generation employees, wow, imagine!! 

So after all this, it was time for some tastings. First the regular tasting:

Then, drum roll please....the fancy tastings (the reason why we paid a little bit more!)

Check out these fancy tequila tastings glasses made by Reidel (the wine glass people) and they actually said "Tequila glasses" on the box! Too bad they don't sell them. This is the type of glass that the professional tasters in this company use.....

Doug wanted to stay on full-time....

...Okay, I'll stay too!!

The "big casa" where descendants of the Herradura family still ocassionally come on the weekends...

What a great tour. We really enjoyed ourselves. After this we headed back the 10 kms to Tequila and decided that we couldn't top that personal tour so we just wandered around, took a few photos and then had a bite to eat:

Went here for lunch/ sauce people!!

Doug liked this VW open deck truck....

Yup, even parking meters in Tequila, Jalisco!!

Well, that was a great day. Euri's temperature gauge inside was 44.5 degrees C. when we got back from eating!! Cooled down while driving back to about 36 degrees C. Definitely a warm one today!!

Well, hope you enjoyed the tour! We sure did too! Like I said, one can never remember everything on them, but just come away with an appreciation of how that small part of the world works, no matter what it is!!

We will still be here tomorrow. We will probably go into town for a walk-about and maybe try and find the look-out point above town!


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