german gonzalez

Germán González–Tequila From The Heart

[In early November of 2014, San Antonio resident and neighbor, Germán González, joined us at our home office.  That evening, he brought his full array of Tequila Uno (T1)–Ultra Fino, Selecto, Excepcional, Tequila Estelar, along with the much acclaimed ultra-aged Tears of Llorona. 

In a more relaxed atmosphere and without his signature Panama hat and guayabera, Germán guided us through a tasting of each of his offerings while sharing his wit, wisdom, and knowledge.]

The Present

 “To send light into the darkness of men’s hearts–such is the duty of the artist.”–Robert Schumann

What strikes you first about Germán González is his intense modesty when he discusses his vast accomplishments.  Secondly, it’s realizing the level of genius he possesses as a Master Distiller.  Thirdly, you are awed by the depth of his artistry.

Distilling what was arguable some of the finest tequila available in the

Chinaco logo.

Chinaco logo.

spirits market in the past with his historic family brand, Chinaco, today Germán humbly pours us proper amounts from his own equally lauded labels, T1 (Tequila Uno) and Tears of Llorona, and teaches us his trademark “toast from the heart.”

Taking his branded Riedel Ouverture tequila glass held at the stem, Germán places it over his heart and says, “salúd, from the heart.”  He then reaches out to each of us and, instead of touching at the rim of the fragile vessels, he turns his glass almost sideways and boldly tags the bowls sounding a lyrical crystal clang.

Afterwards, he lovingly looks at the platinum liquid inside his stemmed glass and says, “This tequila is amazing,” as if surprised that it turned out so well.

Coming from a family that played an integral part in both Mexico’s and Tequila’s sweeping history [you can read more about his family history here], Germán González is at once inspired by his past and firmly focused on his future.

The Past

A gentleman farmer by trade and a romantic at heart, Germán literally learned his profession from the ground up under the watchful eye of his father, Guillermo, a lawyer and politician.

At eighteen, Germán permanently moved to the family ranchos in Tamaulipas by himself instead of attending university.  For several years, he spent intensive weekends learning about the land from Don Guillermo, growing agaves, chiles, corn, soybeans and raising cattle.  He felt privileged and grateful to have his father as his instructor and mentor.

Don Guillermo also purposely kept him away from the La Gonzaleña distillery until he felt Germán was ready for the responsibility.

Tough Times

After several years of piloting Chinaco to unprecedented heights, creative differences with his older brothers caused Germán to seek a new distillery from where he could challenge himself to distill even greater tequila.

Luckily, his lifelong friend and owner of La Tequileña (NOM 1146) Enrique Fonseca, himself a celebrated tequilero, most recently with his Fuenteseca brand, literally gave him the keys to his distillery and allowed Germán to pursue his dream of producing the ultimate expressions of tequila that have ever been realized.

At the same time, Germán uprooted his family and moved to San Antonio, Texas in 2007 to learn about the liquor distribution system and also to study the fickle American palate.  He officially launched Tequila Uno in 2009.

Lessons Learned

Germán memorized two very important principles from his father where tequila was concerned–

That the quality of the agave will always assure favorable results and consistency.  That’s why he insists on using estate grown agave from a single plot of land or grove (huerta), and…

Used scotch whisky barrels are the secret to capturing just the right balance when resting tequila.

He deliberately employs the used barrels to take only the rough edges off of the Selecto when resting for his Excepcional.  Germán believes that this practice results in a more traditional reposado.

“It’s how reposados should taste–not like añejos,” Germán declares.

Then, he boldly adds, “I don’t care about the color, I care about the flavor.”

The Meaning of Mature

Germán believes the maturity of blue agave has nothing to do with the plant’s brix (sugar content) or age.  He judges the maturity of agave by its look and feel.

He prefers using  agave from Atotonilco, in the highlands of Jalisco, since he determined that they produce a close flavor profile to agave from Tamaulipas, and thus, compliment each other.

He had blended highlands agave with those from Tamaulipas when in charge of Chinaco during its second resurgence.  At that time, La Gonzaleña didn’t have enough agave in reserve as it had in its heyday.

Inside the Mind of An Artist

Tequila Uno

Tequila Uno

“The sculpture is already complete within the marble block, before I start my work.  It is already there, I just have to chisel away the superfluous material.” –Michelangelo

Behaving more like a painter or chef–hands on, using all of his senses–Germán González has in mind exactly what he wants Tequila Uno and Tears of Llorona to taste like and what effect he wants to attain with each expression.

He knows that flavor profile exists within the plant and the resulting juice, just like Michaelangelo knew that inside each slab of marble was a statue waiting to be released.

Germán distills Tequila Uno to set the flavors free!

  Chemistry vs. Alchemy

“Tones sound, and roar and storm about me until I have set them down in notes.”–Ludwig van Beethoven

Unless prompted, Germán never talks about the numbers, the chemistry or science of distillation like famed Master Distillers Carlos Camarena (Tapatío), Marko Karakasevic (Charbay), or Melkon Khosrovian (Ixa Tequila by Greenbar) have been known to do.  In fact, those were Germán’s worst subjects in high school.

Much like a mezcalero (mezcal distiller) does when producing mezcal, he uses his senses to tell him what alcohol by volume (ABV) his tequila should have to achieve the desired flavor and aroma.  The numbers then become minor details in the entire scope of things.  He allows the formation and density of the lingering bubbles (perlas) in his glass to be his signposts that he has succeeded.

 Balance Is Everything

Germán asserts that alcohol in tequila is not just about getting drunk.  He describes it as a necessary element in any tequila’s flavor profile.  In fact, he contends that mezcals, by and large, should be distilled at 45% ABV or higher to achieve its balance and to acquire its unique flavor profiles.

The key is finding the balance between the ABV and other elements of the highlands agave to bring about the nuances Germán demands for T1. That’s why Selecto is at one measure of ABV and Ultra Fino is at another. It has allowed him to produce two types of tequila for different

The full line of T1.

The full line of T1.

consumers–

The novice just beginning to explore tequila (Ultra Fino), and the collector or connoisseur (Selecto, Excepcional, Estelar) with more discerning tastes.  We encountered this technique at our tasting of Roca Patrón.  González has perfected this method into his own signature art form.

The Future

Germán González shares his global desires for T1.

Composer, artist, distiller–Germán González has elevated tequila into what it has always aspired to be–

A spirit worthy of the attention and appreciation of the masses throughout the world.

Whatever Germán’s next composition, be assured that it, too, will be a work of art, from his heart to yours.

 

Sipping Off The Cuff: Julio Cesar Chavez Reposado

Mike Morales and Alex Perez taste and discuss Julio Cesar Chavez Reposado Tequila, nominating it for the 2014 Brands of Promise Awards.

julio cesar chavez, tequila, blanco, reposadoJulio Cesar Chavez Tequila Reposado

Julio César Chávez Reposado is aged more than six months in oak barrels, longer than most Reposados. The extra aging results in a tantalizing balance of agave and oak, with a color like natural golden hay.

COLOR: Natural golden hay

AROMA: Clean, agave-forward, with notes of vanilla

TASTE:

Clean, agave-forward, with notes of vanilla, toasted oak and a slight spice finish

 

About Julio Cesar Chavez Tequila

It seems like yesterday my brothers and I were running through the hillsides of Mexico where beautiful agave plants sprouted in every direction. I can still clearly see the alluring agave, with its thick pointed leaves and robust piñas. I remember their vastness and the hearty blue succulents that towered over me as I ran through the fields. My father would tell us that the agave plants meant so much to the Mexican culture because they symbolized the combined works of nature and humankind. The agave plant expresses a history, spanning over hundreds of years, of a long and intimate relationship between the people and their natural environment.

Just as an agave plant takes many years of nurturing and cultivating, so did my boxing career. As a six-time world boxing champion, I often times compared my success to the lifecycle of an agave and how it was not a quick process, but one that took many years to reach full maturity. I feel proud to say my path was not easy, but with hard work and dedication, I became a Mexican boxing legend. Now that my boxing career is over, I’m focused on developing a world-class tequila. I am proud of my tequila, and I want to share it with the world! “A champion enters a new ring.”

J.C. Chávez

Sipping Off The Cuff: Julio Cesar Chavez Blanco

Mike Morales and Alex Perez taste and discuss Julio Cesar Chavez Blanco Tequila, nominating it for the 2014 Brands of Promise Awards.

julio cesar chavez, tequila, blanco, reposadoJulio Cesar Chavez Blanco

Julio César Chávez Blanco is distilled in small batches from 100% estate grown blue agave. Crisp and clear, it is renowned for its smoothness and mixability, and offers a direct representation of agave flavor in its most untouched form.

COLOR: Clear

AROMA: Crisp, fresh, vegetal and citrus notes, agave-forward

TASTE:Crisp, fresh agave-forward, with notes of vanilla and spicy dry finish

 

About Julio Cesar Chavez Tequila

It seems like yesterday my brothers and I were running through the hillsides of Mexico where beautiful agave plants sprouted in every direction. I can still clearly see the alluring agave, with its thick pointed leaves and robust piñas. I remember their vastness and the hearty blue succulents that towered over me as I ran through the fields. My father would tell us that the agave plants meant so much to the Mexican culture because they symbolized the combined works of nature and humankind. The agave plant expresses a history, spanning over hundreds of years, of a long and intimate relationship between the people and their natural environment.

Just as an agave plant takes many years of nurturing and cultivating, so did my boxing career. As a six-time world boxing champion, I often times compared my success to the lifecycle of an agave and how it was not a quick process, but one that took many years to reach full maturity. I feel proud to say my path was not easy, but with hard work and dedication, I became a Mexican boxing legend. Now that my boxing career is over, I’m focused on developing a world-class tequila. I am proud of my tequila, and I want to share it with the world! “A champion enters a new ring.”

J.C. Chávez

Sipping Off The Cuff: Don Fermin Reposado

Mike Morales and Alex Perez taste and discuss Don Fermin Reposado Tequila.

Here’s what they thought: “Caramel vanilla aftertaste” and, unenthusiastically, “a nice reposado”.

TEQUILA DON FERMÍN REPOSADO

don ferminColor and Body: Clear tones of agave syrup, medium body.Aroma: a harmonious blend of vanilla, black olive, cooked agave and wood.

Taste: Slightly sweet with clear notes of apple, eucalyptus and oak.

Finish: Pleasingly warm spirit notes that are smooth on the palate, leaving behind a hint of sweetness.

About Don Fermin

Centrally located in Tequila, Jalisco distillery Leyros S.A. de C.V. is known as one of the six largest distilleries in Jalisco, Mexico. Leyros, born in the 21st century has introduced a manufacture process that departs dramatically from traditional tequila production.This innovative process is very friendly to the environment; it uses less than half the energy, and under 60% of the water normally required in traditional tequila making. Leyros produces some of the most premium tequila using only the best Highlands 100% Blue Weber Agave.

When distillery Leyros was first opened, it was opened with the idea to produce high Quality tequila for those needing those services. Leyros is known as we call in Spanish, Maquiladores (Producers). Leyros created many high quality brands for other brand owners. Family members and friends of the Leyros owners always questioned, why not have your Tequila? That’s when Tequila Don Fermín® was born, originally created to share with friends and family only. After great reviews from friends, family and Tequila aficionados from different parts of Mexico, Leyros owners decided to share their Ultra Premium Tequila with the world.

Named after one of the Leyros owners late grandfather, Don Fermín® sets the bar high for Ultra Premium Tequilas. Don Fermín® is made from the finest 100% Highland Blue Weber agave sourced from the rich earth of Los Altos region of Jalisco. Hand-selected at harvest for highest quality and peak ripeness, our plants yield the sweetest piñas, giving the tequila its abundant character and balance.

Don Fermíns beautiful bottle named “La Espiga” (The Spike) designed and named by late world renowned Mexican Architect Pedro Ramirez Vazquez, known for such work like Estadio Azteca in Mexico City. Tequila Don Fermín® although produced at one of the largest distilleries in Jalisco, is still know as a craft spirit. Don Fermín® only produced in small batches and our aged varieties also only aged in small batches, aged in New American white oak barrels.

Sipping Off The Cuff: Don Fermin Blanco

Mike Morales and Alex Perez taste and discuss Don Fermin Blanco Tequila, nominating it for the 2014 Brands of Promise Awards.

Tequila Don Fermin Plata

don ferminColor and Body: Brilliantly clear platinum, with medium body. An expression of the highest purity as a result of continuos column distillation.

Aroma: Fresh, citric and fruity. Herbal notes that suggest the agave fields, with subtle tones of mint and spices.

Taste: Light, with undertones of pear, mint and spices. A fine balance of spirit and agave notes.

Finish: Clean, warm, smooth spirit notes, open pleasing.

About Tequila Don Fermin

Centrally located in Tequila, Jalisco distillery Leyros S.A. de C.V. is known as one of the six largest distilleries in Jalisco, Mexico. Leyros, born in the 21st century has introduced a manufacture process that departs dramatically from traditional tequila production.

This innovative process is very friendly to the environment; it uses less than half the energy, and under 60% of the water normally required in traditional tequila making. Leyros produces some of the most premium tequila using only the best Highlands 100% Blue Weber Agave.

When distillery Leyros was first opened, it was opened with the idea to produce high Quality tequila for those needing those services. Leyros is known as we call in Spanish, Maquiladores (Producers). Leyros created many high quality brands for other brand owners. Family members and friends of the Leyros owners always questioned, why not have your Tequila? That’s when Tequila Don Fermín® was born, originally created to share with friends and family only. After great reviews from friends, family and Tequila aficionados from different parts of Mexico, Leyros owners decided to share their Ultra Premium Tequila with the world.

Named after one of the Leyros owners late grandfather, Don Fermín® sets the bar high for Ultra Premium Tequilas. Don Fermín® is made from the finest 100% Highland Blue Weber agave sourced from the rich earth of Los Altos region of Jalisco. Hand-selected at harvest for highest quality and peak ripeness, our plants yield the sweetest piñas, giving the tequila its abundant character and balance.

Don Fermíns beautiful bottle named “La Espiga” (The Spike) designed and named by late world renowned Mexican Architect Pedro Ramirez Vazquez, known for such work like Estadio Azteca in Mexico City. Tequila Don Fermín® although produced at one of the largest distilleries in Jalisco, is still know as a craft spirit. Don Fermín® only produced in small batches and our aged varieties also only aged in small batches, aged in New American white oak barrels.