Hola friends come join me on a tour of a small Agave distillery in the countryside of Sinaloa called Vinata Los Osuna. The narrow twisting old dirt road leading to the distillery is a little on the rough side. The amazing scenes of fields and fields of blue agave plants ranging in sizes are so cool to look at, I hardly notice the road. This was actually a easy quick 45 minute trip up from Mazatlan to the distillery just outside of La Noria.
Vinata Los Osuna and was established in 1876. It is a family business that has been run with great pride and determination. The Los Osuna blue agave spirits have won several awards at the fabulous San Francisco World Spirits Competition in the tequila category. Because the name “tequila” is legally actually referring to the agave spirits created in the state of Jalisco. It isn’t legal to use the term tequila here in the Sinaloa state, Which is why the Vinata Los Osuna spirits are named Agave Azul. They won the bronze medal for their Blanco, the silver for their Anejo and the double gold medal for their Resperado .
One agave plant makes approximately 2 to 5 liters of Blue Agave. These plants can grow upwards of several feet tall and several feet around. However, the part of the plant used to create this Mexican spirit is the fruit portion of the agave plant. The piña usually weighs anywhere from 75-200 lbs and will take 6-10 years to grow before they’re harvested.
The first point of the process, the leaves are all removed and the heart or piña is steamed in large underground stone vats. Basically, it’s like a really big pressure cooker. Once the fruit has been steamed releasing the sugars inside it is then mashed. Originally this was done with a large stone grinding them, that was lead by a mule team. Now it’s done on a modern pressing machine that extracts the sugars.
After all the juices are extracted then placed in these large oak barrels allowing them to ferment approximately 4 days. The alcohol is then separated out by heat and steam pressure inside large stainless steel stills The alcohol is run through two distillation run. Which leaves the Agave Azul Blanco. Some of the product is sold after this as “Blanco or White” Also some portion of this Blanco will be used to create flavored spirits. Like Vanilla, cinnamon, coconut etc…
The more sought-after spirits known as Resperado meaning rested is left in oak barrels for eleven months. The longest aged “tequila” is the Anejo which is aged for three years. This allows for a dark golden color and oaky flavor.
It was really amazing going through the entire process and seeing all the different steps. I enjoyed seeing the actual tools that were used originally and being able to compare them to what they use now. I can’t even imagine how much longer and difficult the process must have been like in the 1800’s.
I did feel bad for the poor donkey’s that were tied up to the old grinding stones. However, I guess they seemed pretty happy and healthy. At least they weren’t working in a field any longer. Plus they were stars now since so many of visitors had taken their pictures.
Now to the really fun stuff. Tasting time!!! Off to the small covered plaza where there was a brick laid bar. The attendants were happy to give you any of the distilled spirits you wanted. For a one ounce shot of your desired flavor was 50 pesos give or take which is currently around 2.60$ US. They had all of the different blue agave spirits that were created here at Vinata Los Osuna. I thought in the name of being scientific I should taste a couple of the flavored ones and a couple of the aged ones. It was fine since I wasn’t driving, “when in Mexico!” The flavored ones were pretty darn good but a far cry from the true tequila flavor. They seemed more like a moonshine type alcohol to me. My favorites of this group was the coconut. I liked the Anejo and the Blanco best. It was super fun trying them all. Jeff is a huge fan of tequila so I, of course, had to buy him a bottle. I got him the Blanco it had a nice smoothness to it. I also immediately sent him a picture of his newest gift. Just a little incentive to keep him happy knowing he had one of his favorite things waiting for him.
After my tastings, I wandered through the two small vendors that were lined along the back of the plaza. I got very enthralled with the beautiful silver and Mexican blue fire opal jewelry. Which just so happens to be my all time favorite stone. It was so tempting to buy a piece, but I was a good girl and left without one. This time…
In front of the plaza is The national tree of Mexico, the amusingly named Ahuehuete roughly translating to “old man water” better known as the Montezuma Cypress. Many have never heard of this tree but I have to say it is unbelievable huge and wide. They use this tree to create amazing furniture here. Some of the pieces are adorned with leather or use the live age of the tree. The pieces are beautifully crafted.
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