Just outside of the town of Tepatitlan, down an inconspicuous cobblestone road off of a main highway, lies one of the best kept secrets in Tequila - Ojo de Agua, the distillery of Casa San Matias.
It’s one of my favorite places to visit on my journeys to Tequila’s birthplace, not only for the solitude and beauty of the landscape, but also for the wonderful people who run the facilities. Casa San Matias is one of the most established names in Tequila, and also the first to be lucky enough to be female owned and operated by Carmen Villarreal Treviño. The company is run by some of the nicest, most caring folks I’ve ever met anywhere and it shows through every single product they create.
One expression in particular from Casa San Matias is a favorite here at Sip Tequila - Rey Sol Extra Añejo.
Agaves for this premium tequila are grown in the highland region of Los Altos, hand-harvested by Jimadors at their perfect ripeness, and then steam and pressure cooked for over 24 hours before resting in the ovens for an additional day past that. When the ovens open, bees swarm to the seeping honeys coming from the freshly roasted agave. The sugars from the perfectly caramelized agave piñas are crushed and washed from the fibers and then a proprietary strain of yeast is used to convert the 'agua miel' to a low alcohol agave beer. After two distillation in stainless steel pot stills, the tequila heads off to the barrels.
Rey Sol Extra Añejo spends 6 years in French oak barrels that have been seared on the inside to a medium toast. Barrels made from French oak have a tighter grain those made from American oak. Tighter grain means less surface area so while you still get the oaky notes up front, they are light and spicy versus being buttery or drying. In addition to the bright oak, I also find notes of vanilla, caramel, and baked fruits with toasted nuts and a bit of that spicy oak coming back on the finish.
While the tequila inside is wonderful, the bottle Rey Sol comes in is equally as divine. The crystal decanter created in the image of the most prominent star above us, the sun, is designed by famed Mexican artist Sergio Bustamante. For those not so well versed in Español, Rey Sol, translates to “Sun King” and thus is the perfect name for this marriage of art and tequila.
Salud to Carmen and our friends at Casa San Matias, for a brilliant tequila we are so happy to have joining us here at Sip Tequila!