An Agave Expert Explains the Terroir of Michael Jordan’s Cincoro Tequila
Cincoro's portfolio boasts four award-winning tequila expressions: blanco, reposado, añejo and extra añejo
Terroir — the topography, soil and climate of a region — isn’t only important when it comes to wine. It’s considered more and more in the spirits world as well. With tequila especially, it plays a significant role when it comes to the agave used to produce it, according to Cincoro Tequila VP of trade development Chris Spake.
Made from two distillates that are mixed together after being slow-cooked and distilled in separate batches, Cincoro’s ultra-premium tequila is made from 100% Blue Weber agave sourced from private farms in the San Miguel el Alto highlands and the El Arenal lowland regions of Jalisco in Mexico. Though the difference between the terroir in the highlands and lowlands in Jalisco isn’t as pronounced as the difference between the terroir in Napa Valley in California and Burgundy, France, the two areas do produce agave with different flavor profiles.
“Altitude is a factor. The highlands get a lot more rain, and the agave acquires a lot more water and has more robust growing conditions and gets bigger. They really reflect a citrusy kind of flavor profile. A lot of lemon and lime,” Spake tells InsideHook. “When I was up in the fields talking to the growers, they told me they thought the annual rainfall had more of a pronounced effect on the flavor profiles of the agave than even the soil, which surprised me. The lowland terroir has more earthiness. It produces tequilas that have more vegetal natures to them. There’s almost a jalapeño note there.”
It was the contrast in terroir between the two areas that ultimately led Cincoro, which produces award-winning blanco, reposado, añejo and extra añejo tequila expressions, to distill both a highland and lowland tequila and blend them together in order to get the best of both worlds.
“We literally take a huge truckload of lowland agave, cook it, shred it, ferment it and distill it into a lowland tequila. Then we get a huge load of highland agave and do the same thing and blend them together in a formula that’s unique to Cincoro,” Spake says. “When they come together, you get a little lemon and lime and pick up a little jalapeño on the nose. When you taste it, you can actually pick up more of the fresh agave and citrus notes. On the finish, you get some grapefruit, sweet coconut and a little bit of mint. These are all things that come from the agave itself.”
A consideration for Cincoro, which is owned by NBA owners and friendly rivals Michael Jordan (Charlotte Hornets), Jeanie Buss (Los Angeles Lakers), Wes Edens (Milwaukee Bucks) and Wyc Grousback and Emilia Fazzalari (Boston Celtics), terroir isn’t always a prime consideration for other brands, according to Spake.
“There are very few brands that speak to it. It’s mostly because most of the houses are either in the lowlands or highlands and they can be so similar that you can’t tell the difference,” he says. “You really have to go out of your way to find fields and production processes where you pick up all the nuances. Rather than terroir, I think the trend is going to be towards really finely made blanco tequilas made with really traditional production processes. I see a trend toward tequilas that are woody and have a lot of bourbon notes. Consumers want to drink and enjoy stuff they can sip with a lot of flavor and not have to fight it. Sip it neat. That’s what we tell ’em.”
The Secret to Great Cocktails? Find Out in The Spill.
Suggested for you