Learning From The Master – German Gonzalez

The tequila industry may not recognize their masters, but here at Tequila Aficionado, we know that we could never consider Germán Gonzalez, distiller of T1 Tequila and Tears of Llorona, any less than a Master at his art.

Learning From The Master - German Gonzalez http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4DC

Enjoy this intimate talk we had the pleasure of having with German Gonzalez when he took off his iconic hat and joined us at our table with his stellar selection of tequilas.

Visit T1 Tequila Uno Online

The story of T1 Tequila Uno begins where the history of tequila begins. For centuries generations of tequila masters have perfected the art of making this unique spirit. A creation of Master Distiller Germán González, our tequilas have an acquired pedigree only achievable through heritage and continuity with the past. Handcrafted using these ancestral and traditional methods and from mature 100% Agave Azul grown in the highlands of Jalisco, Mexico, emerges a masterpiece collection of T1 Tequila Uno’s of extraordinary and exquisite caliber.

Visit Tears of Llorona Online

Tears of Llorona is an extra extra añejo tequila. It begins as 100% blue agaves from high volcanic slopes in Jalisco, where growth is slow. Master Tequilero Germán Gonzalez hand selects the agaves and has them harvested late, increasing their starch and sugars. The piñas are roasted slowly in the traditional way. His yeast is proprietary and fermentation is slow. Distillation is by copper pot still and barreling is at very high specific gravity.

Tears is aged in three different barrels — oak that has previously held scotch, sherry, and brandy — and brought together in very small batches to create a complex fusion that is more like a cognac than a tequila. Germán then bottles at 43% specific gravity to balance the flavors. This results in a very high rate of osmotic loss – the “angel’s tears” that are one reason for the name, Tears of Llorona.

Learning From The Master - German Gonzalez http://wp.me/p3u1xi-4DCAbout German Gonzalez

Master Distiller Germán González, is the great grandson of General Manuel González, former President of México between 1880 – 1884. In the late 1970s Germán’s father, Guillermo Gonzalez Diaz Lombardo, founder of La Gonzaleña launched what would become the first ultra-premium tequila imported into the United States, Chinaco. Germán worked closely with his father and learned how to handcraft tequila using traditional techniques. After years serving as Chinaco’s master distiller, Germán left the company to launch his own brand, like his father before him.

Learn all about tequila from field to glass and then get paid to share your love of agave spirits with others! Buy Them Both Now!

Germán González’s T1 Tequila Uno–Questions and Answers

Response to the interview series with Master Distiller Germán González has been wonderful.

Rightly so, for a man who is a living part of tequila history and continues to make history today with T1 Tequila Uno and Tears of Llorona.

Here are some of your questions answered:

Q:  Does Germán always blend agaves from Tamaulipas and Atotonilco because originally he didn’t have enough from Atotonilco?

A:  As we stated in Tequila From the Heart, Germán blended

T1 Tequila Uno and Tears of Llorona.
T1 Tequila Uno and Tears of Llorona.

agaves from Atotonilco with those from his family ranchos in Tamaulipas only during Chinaco’s resurgence and for his duration with that brand.

T1 Tequila Uno and Tears of Llorona use only agave from the highlands in Atotonilco.

Q:  Did Germán say what blending percentages he uses?
A:   Mas o menos, but…off the record!
T1 Selecto.
T1 Selecto.

Q:  Do all his expressions start as Ultra Fino except Selecto?

A:  Correct.
Q:  What exactly does that mean?
A:  The entire process starts with Ultra Fino, but as you know, Selecto is at a higher alcohol by volume (43% ABV) to acquire a more robust, agave forward flavor profile.
Q:  Does Germán make Selecto from scratch [using] more mature agaves and it was never Ultra Fino? 
A.  As he stated in Tequila From The Heart, Germán always uses mature agave according to his definition, but…
Selecto is distilled to be different than Ultra Fino, which is

Ultra Fino
Ultra Fino

softer on the palate.

Q:  Besides the more mature agave and the different alcohol level, what else is different?
A:  Those answers can be found in the feature article, Germán González–Tequila From The Heart.
Have you seen our video series with Germán González, yet?  If you haven’t, pour yourself a glass of T1 Tequila Uno and watch the entire playlist here:

Learn all about tequila from field to glass and then get paid to share your love of agave spirits with others! Buy Them Both Now!

Tears Of Llorona–Tequila’s Higher Octave

“Don’t only practice your art, but force your way into its secrets, for it and knowledge can raise men to the divine.”–Ludwig van Beethoven

Germán González lingers over Tears of Llorona tequila.
Germán González lingers over Tears of Llorona tequila.

In music, an octave is the difference in sound between the first and eighth note on a musical scale.

In astrology, the planets Uranus, Neptune and Pluto are commonly considered the higher octaves of Mercury, Venus, and Mars, which are closer to the sun.

After savoring Tears of Llorona, the word octave comes to mind–something eight times greater than its tequila origin.

Barrel Blends

In this snippet, Germán González, distiller of T1 Tequila Uno and Tears of Llorana, explains the secret barrel blends that result in this masterpiece.

Tears of Llorona served in Riedel stemware.
Tears of Llorona served in Riedel stemware.

The Allure of Scotch

Here, Germán reveals the secret of a legendary Mexican rum and ultimately, the confirmation of why he favors using scotch whisky barrels for Tears of Llorona.

Why The Name?

In the following excerpt, Germán describes why he named his finest expression of tequila, Tears of Llorana.

Swirling the magic of Tears of Llorona.
Swirling the magic of Tears of Llorona.

The Higher Things

 

In this final cut, Germán González discusses the real reason he creates such fine tequilas, reaffirms the lessons he has learned in life, and imparts his belief in higher ideals.  In the process, we learn what really makes him tick.

Flavor Notes

Tears of Llorona serving suggestions.
Tears of Llorona serving suggestions.

How do you describe Tears of Llorona?  How do you depict what you have no benchmark for?  How do you relate something that is at once incomparable and incomprehensible, yet, strangely familiar, like déjà vu?

Perhaps the closest touchstone is given when deconstructing or reverse engineering Tears of Llorona.

For this first batch, Tears of Llorona is barreled in used sherry, scotch whisky and brandy barrels, achieving a spirit that does not betray its agave and tequila roots.

Instead, cradling the agave notes is a heady spiciness that continues to whisper to your senses the longer you swirl it in your glass.

Notes of bitter chocolate, sherry, leather, tobacco and coffee, along with hints of scotch and memories of the finest cognac or brandy culminate in a finish that resembles “a warm scarf on a cold day.”

While other extra añejos attempt to masquerade as something remotely similar to (or anything but) tequila, it is evident that Germán González has created Tears of Llorona to be Tequila’s higher octave.

Deliberately distilled to be lingered over, this gem is, as its website states, “an opus.”  A symphony composed and conducted by a true Master.

A symphony that can raise you–and your senses–to the divine.

Read the full story of Germán González and T1 Tequila Uno here.

Learn all about tequila from field to glass and then get paid to share your love of agave spirits with others! Buy Them Both Now!

A Bartender’s Tip from Germán González

In this clip, Germán González, distiller of T1 Tequila Uno and Tears of Llorana, reveals the difficulty in getting consumers to sip 100% agave tequila and shares a technique that a particular bartender uses to educate drinkers who ask for T1 in a cocktail.

A thoughtful bartender or mixologist will always serve the customer in the best way possible.

If you’ve never sipped T1 Tequila Uno, before having it in your favorite cocktail, ask for a bit of a sample on the side.

You’ll be glad you did!

Read the full story of Germán González and T1 Tequila Uno here.

Learn all about tequila from field to glass and then get paid to share your love of agave spirits with others! Buy Them Both Now!

Germán González and The Riedel Tequila Glass

In this segment, Germán González, distiller of T1 Tequila Uno and Tears of Llorana, explains why the Riedel Ouverture glass (now part of Riedel’s Vinum collection) is ideal for tequila tasting.

He demonstrates the right way and the wrong way to hold the glass, and details why it is so effective a tool when enjoying his exquisite tequilas.

Similar to the historic Jose Cuervo family and distillery, Riedel has been creating glassware for every type of wine and spirit for over 250 years.

Read the full story of Germán González and T1 Tequila Uno here.

 

Learn all about tequila from field to glass and then get paid to share your love of agave spirits with others! Buy Them Both Now!

The Rules of Agave with Germán González

In these next two clips, while enjoying sips of Germán González’s masterpiece, Tears of Llorona, we discuss the ins and outs of the tequila business.

The Only Rule That Counts

Germán Gonzalez, distiller of T1 Tequila Uno and Tears of Llorana, reveals the only real rule, according to the normas (the rules and regulations that govern the tequila making process), that counts when selecting agave.

The Brix Bottom Line

Here, Germán  explains how an agave’s brix (sugar content) may affect agave pricing.

Read the full story of Germán González and T1 Tequila Uno here.

Learn all about tequila from field to glass and then get paid to share your love of agave spirits with others! Buy Them Both Now!

Tasting Tequila Uno with Germán González (4)

Tequila Uno Estelar

Germán Gonzalez, distiller of T1 Tequila Uno and Tears of Llorana, explains what it takes to make T1 Estelar añejo.

Flavor Notes

Aged for almost 24 months, it is much darker and richer than T1 Tequila Uno Excepcional reposado.

The wood tones, courtesy of the used scotch whisky barrels Germán employs, shine through to compliment the fruity nose of the agave.

Chocolate and citrus dominate in a pleasant way on the tongue.

This nectar enters sweet and finishes dry at the back of the throat.  It’s like a warm scarf on a chilly day.

Read the full story of Germán González and T1 Tequila Uno here.

Learn all about tequila from field to glass and then get paid to share your love of agave spirits with others! Buy Them Both Now!

Tasting Tequila Uno with Germán González (2)

Summertime Food Pairing with Tequila Uno

Germán González, distiller of T1 Tequila Uno and Tears of Llorana, discusses food pairing with T1 Ultra Fino blanco and shares his recipe for a simple Skinny Margarita.

Flavor Notes

Ultra Fino is distilled using hand picked agave from Atotonilco in the highlands of Jalisco, and has a sweet, fruity nose, not flowery like the agave from Arandas is sometimes known for.  Delicate tones of fresh, green agave.  An ever so slight finish that stays in the back of your throat, not burning down your esophagus.

Serving Suggestions

Ultra Fino can be sipped neat, or on the rocks with just a twist of lime to release the fruity elements of the highlands agave.  It’s the original Skinny Margarita without the excess calories of a mix.

Designed with the beginner–or favorite lady–in mind.

Food Pairing Suggestions

Perfect for pairing with ceviche, cucumbers, jicama and fresh fruits of all kinds.

Celebrate Summertime–any time–with T1 Ultra Fino.

Read the full story of Germán González and T1 Tequila Uno here.

Learn all about tequila from field to glass and then get paid to share your love of agave spirits with others! Buy Them Both Now!

Tasting Tequila Uno with Germán González (1)

Tequila Uno–The Process

Germán González, distiller of T1 Tequila Uno and Tears of Llorana, explains in-depth his process of agave selection and distillation for his tequilas. From hand selecting mature agave to purposely aging in used scotch whisky barrels, this tequila master doesn’t miss a trick.

Read the full story of Germán González and T1 Tequila Uno here.

Learn all about tequila from field to glass and then get paid to share your love of agave spirits with others! Buy Them Both Now!

Germán González–Tequila From The Heart

german gonzalez

[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.

 

Learn all about tequila from field to glass and then get paid to share your love of agave spirits with others! Buy Them Both Now!

How to Get Paid to Drink Tequila:

How you can turn your passion into profits and get paid to drink tequila as a blogger, vlogger, podcaster or author

 

Salud!!