THE S/V SHANASHKAT ABBY GOES SOUTH travel blog

Blue agave growing in the fields outside the tequila factory.

In these rooms, the tequila is aged.

This is a pile of what the Mexicans call the pineapple. It...

This is a pineapple. It weighs approx. 80 to 100 pounds.

The pineapple cooking ovens are built into the ground and are heated...

A look inside the brick lined oven.

This is where the cooked and mashed pineapples ferment. These barrels are...

This is part of the distilling apparatus. The fermented liquid is distilled...

This is an old distiller. Looks like this used to be run...

The finished distilled product was collected in this barrel and then placed...

The old firebox for the old boiler.

Looking at the back of the production plant.

Another view of the production plant.

Some of the machinery used in by-gone days.

Looking out over the ovens and into the parking lots

The inside of the Catholic Church in La Noria.

Saddle making in the leather factory in La Noria.


Feb 3, 2007

Saturday, February 03, 2007, Marcel and I went on a tour to the only tequila plant in Sinaloa, the state where Mazatlán is located. I learned that tequila made in Sinaloa couldn't be called tequila because it is not made in the states that are licensed by Mexican law to produce tequila. So, they call it blue agave. In reality, it is the same thing.

We were originally planning to take a bus to the town of La Noria (where the tequila plant is located) and spend the night in a hotel and visit the plant the following day and then take the bus back to Mazatlán, but that would end up costing 4 times as much as a tour. The tour ended up being kind of nice but the tour guide couldn't stop talking. She kept talking about the same thing over and over again.

This is what we learned about the production of tequila. First of all Mexican law controls its' production. The blue agave plant must be from 7 to 10 years old before it is harvested by jimadores. The leaves are cut off which leaves a very large pineapple looking ball that weighs 80 to 100 pounds. The pineapples are roasted in brick ovens for 12 hours and then they are put through a masher to make a kind of agave pulp. The pulp is fermented and then the liquid is drawn off and distilled. It goes through a second distillation and then the alcohol content must be adjusted to 38% (or 76 proof). It is then placed into oak barrels for eleven months (reposado or aged). Then it is bottled and sold for consumption. That is where we come into the picture as the consumer. We thought that a bottle would look good on the boat, so we bought one.

On the way back, we stopped in the town of La Noria and visited the Catholic Church and a leather shop where they made sandals and saddles and other leather goods. From there to a local restaurant where we had an authentic Mexican meal, then a short ride back to the marina.



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