Home Enthusiast Pink Tequila is Mexico’s new crossover spirit

Pink Tequila is Mexico’s new crossover spirit

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With hues ranging from a delicate carnation blush to a deep glow of grapefruit flesh, a new crop of distinctly pink tequilas has arrived.

Often referred to as “rosa” or “rosado,” these expressions are primarily achieved by resting tequila in barrels that previously held red wines. While not a direct marriage of tequila and rosé wine, the crossover is definitely part of the appeal.

“People do indeed drink with their eyes,” says Richard Betts, co-founder of Casa Komos Beverage Group, which released Komos Tequila Reposado Rosa in 2021. The spirit was aged in a blend of Napa and Sonoma wine casks. . Betts sheds light on how the barrels of Hirsch Vineyards, known for their Pinot Noir, brought layers of juicy berries and pink peppercorns against a lively agave backdrop.

Yet the rosé boom isn’t the only reason tequila makers are thinking pink. Certainly, the hot tequila market is ripe for experimentation.

It’s also recognition that in Mexico, many distilleries have been using red wine casks for decades, even though most tequilas that reach the US market rest in old whiskey casks. This practice is a byproduct of the abundance of barrels once used by American bourbon distillers.

Codigo 1530 credits the Mexican Tequila tradition for developing its Rosa offering. The brand now works with approximately 15 Napa wineries, including Gemstone and Outpost, to source barrels of Cabernet Sauvignon to add nuanced floral notes to its blanco and Double Barrel Rosa Reposado expressions.

The same goes for Calirosa, which uses a blend of Cabernet and Merlot barrels sourced from Napa and Sonoma. The Rosa is matured for 30 days in red wine barrels, while the añejo is aged in wine barrels for 18 months. Both launching in 2021.

Of course, not all tequila dew is tinted via California barrels. Some, like Gran Centenario Rosagel, use ex-Port pipes, while Caramba Pink Silver and Asombroso La Rosa rely on Bordeaux casks. And at least one, Casa Rica Rosado, doesn’t use any wine barrels, just agave that has developed a natural “pink spot” during the composting process.

Ultimately, pink-hued tequilas aren’t just about color. “Pink alone isn’t enough,” says Betts. “But if it’s pink because it tastes good, that’s a good reason.”

Producers to look for

Komos Tequila Reposado Rosa; $110

Juicy berries frame an otherwise classic tequila profile marked by jalapeño, pink pepper and a hint of graphite.

Code 1530 Pink; $60

A pleasant peppery tingle and sweet floral notes lead to a long and delicate finish; look for a tawny shade, not outright pink.

Calirosa Tequila Rosa Blanco; $50

Lychee and coconut mingle with hints of bubblegum and grapefruit peel in this pale petal pink tequila.

This article originally appeared in the May 2022 issue of Passionate about wine magazine. Click here to subscribe today!