Our Top Tequilas & Mezcals From November

These ten agave spirits took home the highest ratings from our Tasting Table in November!
Nov 30, 2016
  • 10
    10 Arta Tequila Silver
    85
    Fruity
    Arta Tequila is produced by the Gonzalez family in El Arenal in the Valley of Jalisco. They adhere to dry farming and sustainable practices without the use of pesticides. The agave is harvested at between 8 - 10 years old and cooked using an autoclave (think pressure cooker). The blanco is bottled unaged after triple distillation.
  • 9
    9 El Decreto Tequila Reposado
    85
    Rich
    El Decreto uses sustainable practices in its facilities. The agave used is grown in the Jalisco Highlands for 7- 12 years before harvest. The reposado is double-distilled and aged 8 months in ex-bourbon casks. Every bottle is unique, made by local artisans.
  • 8
    8 Alacrán Joven Mezcal
    87
    Umami & Herbal
    This silver mezcal from Auténtico Alacrán (Spanish for "authentic scorpion") is distilled from 100% agave espadin. It's produced by Master Distiller Don Lucio Morales at Integradora Comercial Ejutla S.A. de C.V. (NOM O96X) in San Dionisio, Oaxaca. The flask-shaped bottle is frosted; the spirit within is made from agaves cooked in earthen pits, crushed with a tahona wheel and double-distilled in copper pot stills.
  • 7
    7 Mezcal Marqués Plata
    88
    Sweet & Rich
    Distillate has been produced at Hacienda Jaral de Berrio since the late 18th century, when its Marquis was granted permission from the King of Spain to distill there in what was then "New Spain." Today, this tourist attraction in the borough of San Felipe Torres Mochas in Guanajuato is part of one of 8 states in the mezcal designation of origin. Here the Salmiana agave species is king, harvested at around 8 years and produced in traditional, conic stone ovens, crushed by tahona and distilled in alembic stills. The plata is bottled unaged.
  • 6
    6 Mezcal Naro'ba Joven
    88
    Smoky
    Mezcal Naro'ba is produced in San Luis del Rio, Oaxaca under Master Distiller Rene Nolasco Velasco. It's produced using 100% espadín agave, the ubiquitous mezcal "cousin" to blue weber used in tequila. The joven is bottled fresh off the still unaged.
  • 5
    5 Herencia Mexicana Reposado Tequila
    90
    Fruity & Sweet
    One of Herencia’s big claims to fame is that comes from the highest elevation distillery in Jalisco (6,200 ft.). The high elevation ultimately translates to lower distilling temperature because of the high atmospheric pressure as well as longer growing cycles for the agave. Roasted in traditional brick ovens and distilled in traditional copper pot stills, it is aged in ex-bourbon barrels.
  • 4
    4 Tequila Ocho Plata "Los Corrales" 2010
    91
    Herbal & Mineral
    Rancho Los Corrales (meaning “the corrals” or “place to keep livestock”) is located on a triangular plot facing the main road from Arandas to Jesus Maria. Situated at an elevation of 7,100 feet, the estate’s temps range from 80 F to 48 F, resulting in agaves with very high sugar content. The agave plants matured quickly in the deep red soil and were harvested at 9 years.
  • 3
    3 Tequila Ocho Añejo "El Vergel" 2007
    93
    Spicy
    Tequila Ocho is dedicated to showcasing terroir ( a sense of place) in Tequila. Each production is from Blue Agave harvested at the peak of ripeness from a single rancho. Rancho ‘El Vergel’ (The Orchard) is close to Arandas at an altitude of 2,000 meters and has the red, iron soil characteristic of ‘The Highlands of Jalisco”. This Rancho was thought to be unsuitable for agave growing by Don Felipe, since his limes growing there would sometimes freeze, peaches were grown there too. This was the first crop of agave harvested here and had the sugar content of 26.7%, which is in line with the region average.
  • 2
    2 Tequila Ocho Plata "El Puertecito" 2011
    93
    Mineral & Floral
    Rancho El Puertecito is one of the highest elevation agave fields owned by the Camarena family. The northern and western ends of the field are surrounded by oak and cedar trees, protecting the agave from the summer heat. The agave plants were harvested at 8.5 years old and their extreme maturity resulted in high sugar and acidity. About a quarter of the original plants were overly mature and decayed.
  • 1
    1 Espíritu Lauro Añejo Mezcal
    95
    Rich & Spicy
    Espíritu Lauro uses a blend of 70% wild Espadín and 30% Karwinskii of San Martín agave that is aged 6 - 8 years before harvesting, and left to ferment naturally without the use of yeast. This añejo is aged 13 months in used Jack Daniels barrels that are charred and scraped before maturing the distillate.