A week or so ago I attended the San Francisco launch event for Don Roberto tequila, hosted by Junior Merino at Cantina. Don Roberto is made by the Orendain family in the lowlands of Jalisco, Mexico in the town of Tequila, at the La Purisima distillery. Merino says that this is Mexico's largest tequila distillery. (You can see the brands made at the distillery by putting in "1437" into the search box on Tequila.net)
Despite the distillery having the high tech equipment like autoclaves and diffusers, Don Roberto is made in a more traditional style using hornos (ovens) to cook the agave. The brand has been on the market in Mexico since 1995 but is just launching in the US (I believe SF and NY first) around late November.
As is typical for a lowland tequila it has notes of overripe tropical fruits with a nice white pepper spice. In some lowland tequilas the fruits are so forward as to make the tequila taste a bit gamy, but I think Don Roberto keeps it nicely in check with its light, soft texture. The reposado is aged for 6 months in new American oak barrels and the anejo for 18 months, lending buttery notes with some nice herbaceousness coming on in the anejo.
We were also treated to four of Merino's cocktails: a Sangrita and three refreshing, fruit-forward drinks. As usual with Merino, they were all delicious. My favorite of the bunch was the Guadalajara Silver.
by Junior Merino for Don Roberto Tequila
1 1/2 ounce Don Roberto Plata
1/4 ounce agave nectar
3/4 ounce fresh lime juice
1/2 ounce fresh pink grapefruit juice
3/4 ounce ginger liqueur
1/2 ounce fresh Granny Smith apple juice
Rim a glass with sugar and cinnamon. Pour all of hte ingredients into a shaker, shake and pour into a rimmed rocks glass filled with ice.