Saturday, November 9, 2013

A conversation with David Ravandi of 123 Organic Tequila

By Ria Soler

The trend in the wine world of late is to turn away from pesticides and chemicals and make organic wine created through sustainable practices. Now the very first spirit to embrace those principles has arrived. 123 Organic Tequila (Uno Dos Tres) is a 100% certified organic line of tequilas created by tequila expert David Ravandi. Recently I sat down to talk with him about the brand, what sustainability means to him, and to learn the differences between Uno, Dos, y Tres. Andale!

1. What prompted you to start 123 Organic Tequila? Have you always had a passion for tequila?

When I envisioned 123 Organic Tequila (Uno Dos Tres), I was inspired to create a brand specifically with wine enthusiasts in mind.  In doing so, we focused on crafting ultra premium tequilas using artisanal, small-batch distillations to capture the delicate floral aromas and complex mineral flavors that are characteristic of 123 Organic Tequila.

Tequila is an authentic spirit and it’s one that I’ve always enjoyed. My desire was to connect tequila’s cultural heritage through illustrating and retelling the ancient folklore about its origin with a truly superior product.  123 Organic Tequila is uniquely authentic in that way and very much a tribute to the rich heritage of Mexican culture. 

2. Why did you choose to make the brand organic and sustainable? Do you find that to be a unique choice in Tequila? Or do you find that the trend is leaning towards more sustainable practices?
I have always been a huge supporter of organic farming and all things organic.  I’m proud to say that our tequila is Certified Organic by USDA and EU as well which makes us the ONLY fully sustainable spirits in the world.   Anyone can claim sustainability but these certifications guarantee consumers that our products are grown and made according to rigorous standards.   Also, the adoption of sustainable practices will lead even more producers towards organic certification. Also, all our bottles are individually hand blown from 100% recycled glass. The labels are made from 100% recycled paper and printed with soy ink.

3. 1,2,3- can you walk us through the differences between the three tequilas you produce?
123 Organic Tequila Blanco (Uno) is the mother spirit from which Reposado, Anjeo and Extra Anjeo are created from, so it’s essential that we start with a superior spirit.  Blanco is unaged tequila that has clean, intense aromas of fresh agave and vibrant flavors of lemon peel, black pepper and minerals. It’s silky smooth and has a slight sweet kick on a lengthy finish.   

123 Organic Tequila Reposado (Dos) is Blanco that has been aged six months in oak, which gives it a very light color and flavors of salted caramel, creme brulee and toffee notes but no real hint of wood.  You can detect agave on the nose, but it quickly dissipates as the flavors deepen and conclude with a minty anise finish. Dos is a very complex and versatile tequila.

123 Organic Tequila Anejo (Tres) spends eighteen months in oak so the wood character is more prominent, and on first blush it’s heady on the nose with tannin and wood oil notes. These fade after some time in the glass to reveal richer versions of the characteristics found in the Reposado: caramel and some chocolate notes. A lovely anejo, it really opens up when you give it some time.

And our recently released (Only 1,000 bottles) 123 Extra Anejo Diablito is aged for forty months. The nose reveals deep vanilla notes, along with plenty of fresh black pepper.  The flavors are textbook extra aƱejo, a seductive melange of deep vanilla, racy spices, and chewy, roasted agave all in harmony. The body is rich and creamy, and the finish surprisingly long lasting, offering citrus-focused tartness and plenty of bite.  Extra Anejo demonstrates a level of complexity that few tequilas ever achieve making it dangerously easy to drink.

4. I know that the agave used to produce 123 Organic Tequila has an interesting terroir aspect to it, not unlike the vineyard’s soil mineral content effecting the outcome a fine wine. Can you explain how it influences the flavor profile of the different tequilas?
The flavor of the tequila has direct relationship to the terroir. The higher the terroir the more delicate flavors in your tequila. The estate where we grow the agave for 123 Organic Tequila is at an altitude of 4,800 feet. For Diablito, our agave is grown at an altitude of 6,000 feet.
Ideal conditions for agave include average temperatures of around 80 degrees F, well-drained soils, like the Tierra Roja soils on our estate, and very dry conditions.  The maturity of the agaves and the production process also have an influence on flavor.  Agaves are harvested when they reach 10 years of age and only the highest quality plants are used.  Production methods some of which are proprietary also contribute to the pure and complex flavors of our tequilas.

5. 123 Organic Blanco (Uno) being an un-aged, or Blanco style of tequila, I imagine it to be pretty versatile in cocktails.  Of course a margarita is a natural choice, but what other cocktail do you think it really shines in?

Blanco really shines in cocktails made with fresh, organic fruit juices- particularly citrus (orange, lime, grapefruit), pomegranate, pineapple and fragrant spices like ginger and cardamom.  Citrus juice and muddled citrus really play up the bright flavors in Blanco and earthy spices compliment and add even more complexity to the agave flavors.  On our website you can find recipes for the Uno Dos Tres which combines orange and pomegranate juices and the Uno Cardomomo with grapefruit juice, cardamom bitters and ginger ale, along with many seasonal cocktails. But my favorite is a Paloma!

Thanks so much for taking the time to talk, David. Salud!

Cheers from DrinkUpNY!

Ria Soler is a spirits and wine professional with an extensive background in education, events, marketing, and writing. She loves a martini, two at most...

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