It's hard to imagine a more beautiful place to handcraft tequila than Casa San Matías, an estate distillery located above 6,000 feet in the Los Altos Mountains of Tepatitlán. Beyond its physical beauty, the microclimate and the estate's red volcanic soil create ideal conditions for cultivating agaves and making artisanal spirits. Among its many highly acclaimed brands produced by the esteemed distillery is San Matías Gran Reserva Extra Añejo 100% Agave Tequila.
Casa San Matías (NOM 1103) was founded in 1886 by Don Delfino González in Magdelena, which is located just west of the town of Tequila. In the 1950s a new distillery was opened in Ojo de Agua in the Highlands.
The celebrated San Matías Gran Reserva Extra Añejo is made from mature, estate-grown agaves. After harvesting, the agave piñas are baked in traditional clay ovens for 48 hours before being shredded and transferred to stainless steel fermentation vats. There the juice is allowed to ferment between 3 to 5 days depending on the ambient temperature. The fermented wash—called mosto—is then double-distilled in the estate's stainless steel stills. Casa San Matías uses only pure mineral water sourced from nearby springs in producing its tequilas.
The altogether marvelous Gran Reserva is matured for a minimum of 3 years in French Limousin oak barrels. During its stay in wood, the tequila develops a deep amber hue, a velvety, medium-weight body and a generous nose saturated with warm spice and fruit aromas. The longer the tequila is allowed to breath, the more glorious its bouquet becomes. The entry is remarkably gentle as it bathes the palate with the flavors of orange zest, baked apples, pears, cloves and cinnamon. The finish is long and luxurious.
One quick sniff, sip and swallow of this extra añejo will confirm that it should be savored neat with plenty of time to appreciate the experience. That said, it is really too good to share with the in-laws.