The Rancho, or ranch, on which the agave are grown creates the terroir of the tequila. Terroir describes the way that the soil, climate, weather, and time in which the agave is grown, affect the flavor profile of the tequila. The CRT registration number, which links directly to a satellite photo, proves the location of the Rancho, as specifically requested by Siembra Azul. Our agave was grown and cultivated in the Mexican highlands; its iron rich, red soil provides ideal conditions for agave growth, which result in larger agave plants, higher in sugar content.
You may notice that sometimes an agave's planting date doesn't correspond with the date of its maturity. These are baby agaves that have been replanted. There are three phases in which they are replanted, Lima, Naranja, and Toronja. These represent a lime, an orange, and a grapefruit – each indicating the approximate size of the plant at the time it is replanted. They lose no quality when they are transferred.
The planting and harvesting dates, like a wine's vintage, indicate the conditions in which the agave matured. With respect to terroir, there are two ways to ensure quality agave – Estate grown or Single Estate. Single Estate means that all of the agaves come from one rancho. Estate grown indicates that the rancho is owned and cared for by the distillery where it is produced. Siembra Azul, in a quest for quality, uses both practices. We use nothing but the highest quality Blue Webber agave from the Highlands.
The Jimador is responsible for planting, nurturing and harvesting the agave plants. A Jimador may only see 4 to 5 rotations of crop, as the life cycle of an agave is often up to 12 years. Jimadors require immense physical strength and precise techniques to cut the agave to the correct jima. To be a Jimador is to be part of a family – literally – many Jimadors work with their sons, cousins, uncles and brothers ,and pass their skills from generation to generation.
The Jima is the cut of the agave- how much of the leaf is left on the piña. Larga, Normal, or Razurada; a generous shave, a medium shave, or a razor close shave respectively. The type of Jima changes the flavor characteristics; more adds bitterness, less provides a cleaner taste. The agave plants are cut with blinding precision by Jimadors wielding an instrument called a Coa.
Master Distillers blend art and science to produce spellbinding tequila; balancing modern technology and tradition. They oversee the recipe and the combination of stages which will come to define the flavor of the tequila. The litany of decisions a Master Distiller has to make include: the amount of oxygenation, the precise timing of roasting, readiness of the Anejo and many more.
Perhaps the most important step in distinguishing mass-produced tequila from artisan tequila is the hydrolyzation stage. Long, slow roasting in a brick oven draws out flavors over the course of up to 50 hours. Other methods cut down on time and introduce chemicals, pressure, and excessive heat, which compromises the agave’s flavor.
The extraction process draws out juices from the agave after the hydrolyzation process. The most traditional method for extraction is a massive stone mill known as a tahona. There are only a few distilleries who use this prestigious and ancient technique; it requires a very specific facility. Siembra Azul aspires to work with stone milling someday. Until then, we opt to utilize the tandem mill. This process doesn't detract from the flavor of the tequila, instead, the slight difference in the way the tequila is processed produces different flavor profiles.
In the fermentation process yeast consumes sugars to convert into alcohol. Meticulously curating the conditions of this process is essential to a quality product. Siembra Azul uses saccharomyces Cerevisiae (SCE ec118), the same yeast used in champagne production, to ensure unique organoleptic profiles. The fermentation chamber is serenaded to the strains of Mozart and Vivaldi. The vibrations of the music reduce environmental stress during the fermentation process.
Law dictates that all tequila must go through at least two phases of distillation; first Destrozamiento and then Rectificacion. Every distillery has its own methods, which impart distinct flavors to their product. For Siembra Azul, destrozamiento is done in a copper still and Rectificacion in our hybrid alembic, unique to Siembra Azul. Copper in alembics provide flavor – they give tequila a rustic quality. Siembra Azul is made in a hybrid alembic which is 3/4 copper with a steel top, granting it all the flavor you could desire while providing a clean finish.