by Steven Doyle
Tequila Codigo, launched in late 2016 with the support in the form of country icon George Strait, who is an investor and brand ambassador. Some may think this to be gimmicky, but quite the opposite. Strait has passion for the project, and the tequila is quite remarkable as we found at a tasting recently in Oak Cliff at Veracruz Cafe, which plans a series of tastings and even wine events in coming months charge by a fairly new co-owner, Nico Ponce. You know Ponce for his many years behind the stick in Dallas, and lead of the now famous Margarita Meltdown.
Codigo is made in the region of Los Bajos, these are all 100% blue agave tequilas. Curiously, all of the aged expressions spend time not in ex-bourbon barrels, which is traditional, but rather in used French oak Napa cabernet sauvignon wine barrels. This takes Codigo’s tequilas in a direction like no other.
Five expressions in total are produced, all save for Rosa, which is aged for just one month in those wine barrels and is colored pink. All expressions are bottled at 80 proof.
Ponce played the perfect host, a bit doting at times which endeared his enthusiasm. With each tasting we enjoyed a course from the Veracruz kitchen. this night it was more tasting plates, which was more than enough even for the hungriest in the crowd. An excellent bargain for the $25 price tag, and coupled with the generous pours, a bargain. We will keep you informed of future events.
Veracruz kitchen is an excellent Bishop Arts choice, and their mole is nearly unequaled. Previous visits featured a particularly wonderful chile relleno. Make note.
Let’s take a look at the tequilas we sampled.
Tequila Codigo 1530 Blanco – Unaged. Very peppery on the nose, with overtones of overripe fruit. The body is unusual, with notes of baked apples and ripe banana. Some cinnamon character endures on the finish.
Tequila Codigo 1530 Reposado – Spends six months in Napa cabernet barrels. Lots of dessert notes here, showcasing peppery and agave-laden notes. The palate is heavily influenced by brown sugar, banana, caramel, and toasted marshmallow. The bite is a bit chewy, but well explained with a bold chocolate head.
Tequila Codigo 1530 Anejo – 18 months of oak give a well-integrated agave and caramel note, in equal proportions. I loved the creamed coffee and layers of fruitiness which made this a fantastic sipper.
Tequila Codigo 1530 Origen – This is Codigo’s extra anejo, aged 6 years in the cabernet barrels. None of the sweetness or even the base agave is present aromatically, but rather antiseptic. There is a bit of pungency abound but you will experience a full range of euphoria along with a spat of oiliness.
Código 1530 Rosa – This beautiful she-beast begins with the purity of the Blanco, then is rested for 1 month in un-charred Napa Cabernet French White Oak barrels. The result is a refined spirit with a natural color as beautiful as its taste. The Rosa has rested just long enough in the Cabernet barrels to enrich the natural agave juice, without overpowering its delicate floral notes. Start looking for more juice like the Rosa, but consider this the first. At least in our vision.