The Results of the 2003 San Francisco World Spirits Competition

From the Vault – May 3, 2003

vault

 

The San Francisco World Spirits Competition is the first comprehensive, international spirits judging ever held in the United States on an annual basis. It is an unsurpassed marketing and promotional opportunity for the top medal winners.

*Editor’s Note 2015*

This announcement was from the 2013 show where tequila was judged in champagne flutes.  The most recent show used the Neat Glass to judge tequila.  Many aficionados have mentioned to us that although the Neat Glass works very well for mezcals, it does a disservice to tequilas.  Have you tried tequilas in side-by-side tastings with different glassware?  What are your findings?   

The results of the 2003 World Spirit Competition

TEQUILA

San Francisco World Spirits Tequila Judging 2013
San Francisco World Spirits Tequila Judging 2013

Silver
Amate Silver Tequila 100% Agave, Jalisco, Mexico [$42]

Silver
Del Señor Silver Tequila Herencia de Plata, Jalisco, Mexico [$39]

Silver
Don Eduardo Silver Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico [$44]
Imported by Brown-Forman – Louisville, KY

Silver
Don Julio Blanco Tequila, Mexico [$49]
Imported by Diageo – San Francisco, CA

Silver
El Tesoro Silver Tequila Platinum, Jalisco, Mexico [$37]
Imported by Jim Beam Brands – Deerfield, IL

Silver
Espolon Silver Tequila, Arandas, Mexico [$35]
Imported by Shaw Ross – Miami, FL

Silver
Gran Centenario Silver Tequila Plata, Mexico [$50]
Imported by Skyy Spirits – NY

Silver
Herradura Silver Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico [$36]
Imported by Sazerac Co. – New Orleans, LA

San Francisco World Spirits Tequila Judging 2014
San Francisco World Spirits Tequila Judging 2014

Bronze
Oro Azul Silver Tequila Blanco, Zapopan, Mexico [$35]
Imported by Barrel Select Importer – West Bend, WI

Silver
Sauza Gold Tequila, Mexico [$16]
Imported by Allied Domecq Spirits – Westport, CT

Silver
Sauza Silver Tequila Tres Generaciones Plata, Mexico [$33]
Imported by Allied Domecq Spirits – Westport, CT

Silver
Amate Reposado Tequila 100% Agave, Jalisco, Mexico [$45]

Silver
Cazadores Reposado Tequila, Mexico [$37]
Imported by Bacardi USA – Miami, FL

Silver
Centinela Reposado Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico [$35]
Imported by Haas Bros. – San Francisco, CA

Silver
Corralejo Reposado Tequila Triple Distilled, Mexico [$33]
Imported by Wilson Daniels – St. Helena, CA

Double Gold
Del Señor Reposado Tequila Reserva del Señor, Jalisco, Mexico

Silver
Don Julio Reposado Tequila, Mexico [$49]
Imported by Diageo – San Francisco, CA

REPOSADO TEQUILA

Bronze
1800 Reposado Tequila 1800, Mexico [$24]
Imported by Skyy Spirits – NY

Silver
El Conquistador Reposado Tequila, Mexico [$35]
Imported by Heaven Hill – Bardstown, KY

Double Gold
Espolon Reposado Tequila, Arandas, Mexico [$40]
Imported by Shaw Ross – Miami, FL

Silver
Gran Centenario Reposado Tequila, Mexico [$53]
Imported by Skyy Spirits – NY

Double Gold – BEST TEQUILA
Herradura Reposado Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico [$40]
Imported by Sazerac Co. – New Orleans, LA

Double Gold
Jose Cuervo Reposado Tequila Tradicional, Mexico [$22]
Imported by Diageo – San Francisco, CA

Silver
Los Arango Reposado Tequila, Guanajuato, Mexico [$43]

Silver
Penca Azul Reposado Tequila, Mexico [$90]
Imported by R & A Imports – Pacific Palisades, CA

Gold
Sauza Reposado Tequila Hornitos, Mexico [$24]
Imported by Allied Domecq Spirits – Westport, CT

AÑEJO TEQUILA

San Francisco World Spirits Tequila Judging 2015
San Francisco World Spirits Tequila Judging 2015

Silver
Centinela Añejo Tequila, Arandas, Jalisco, Mexico [$40]
Imported by Haas Bros. – San Francisco, CA

Bronze
Centinela Añejo Tequila, Arandas, Jalisco, Mexico [$60]
Imported by Haas Bros. – San Francisco, CA

Silver
Del Señor Añejo Tequila Herencia Historico 27 de Mayo, Jalisco, Mexico [$250]

Bronze
Del Señor Añejo Tequila Herencia de Plata, Jalisco, Mexico [$45]

Bronze
Don Eduardo Añejo Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico [$50]
Imported by Brown-Forman – Louisville, KY

Silver
Don Julio Añejo Tequila, Mexico [$53]
Imported by Diageo – San Francisco, CA

Double Gold
1800 Añejo Tequila 1800, Mexico [$39]
Imported by Skyy Spirits – NY

Silver
El Jimador Añejo Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico [$100]
Imported by Sazerac Co. – New Orleans, LA

Double Gold
El Tesoro Añejo Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico [$45]
Imported by Jim Beam Brands – Deerfield, IL

Silver
Espolon Añejo Tequila, Arandas, Mexico [$43]
Imported by Shaw Ross – Miami, FL

Gold
Gran Centenario Añejo Tequila, Mexico [$58]
Imported by Skyy Spirits – NY

Silver
Herradura Añejo Tequila Suprema, Jalisco, Mexico [$300]
Imported by Sazerac Co. – New Orleans, LA

Silver
Jose Cuervo Añejo Tequila Reserva de la Familia, Mexico [$80]
Imported by Diageo – San Francisco, CA

Bronze
Oro Azul Añejo Tequila, Zapopan, Mexico [$53]
Imported by Barrel Select Importer – West Bend, WI

Bronze
Sauza Añejo Tequila Tres Generaciones, Mexico [$37]
Imported by Allied Domecq Spirits – Westport, CT

MIXTO TEQUILA

Bronze
La Cava del Villano MixtoTequila Gold, Jalisco, Mexico [$13]

Double Gold
X X X Siglo Treinta Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico [$20]
Imported by 123 Spirits, Los Angeles, CA

AGAVE SPIRITS

Silver
Don Amado Mezcal, Oaxaca, Mexico [$40]
Imported by Haas Bros. – San Francisco, CA

 

How do you feel about glassware when tasting tequilas?  Will any old glass do, or is there a particular shape or design that brings out the notes you’re looking for?

The Roca Patron Road Show

The Roca Patrón launch party invitation.
The Roca Patrón launch party invitation.

 

Roca Patron Hits The Road

All across the country, in carefully selected cities where the beautiful people roam like Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Miami, and San Francisco, the Patrón PR machine (which spent a reported $34.1 million in measured media in 2013), is rolling out its new Roca Patrón line of tequilas.

Here in Tejas, on August 11, 2014, at the famed Brazos Hall in Austin, Tequila Aficionado Media was invited to the head of the line and behind the braided rope to be one of the first to try this new offering from Planet Patrón.

Once Inside…

The Brazos Hall was entirely furnished with wooden Roca Patrón branded furniture, fixtures, barrels and props, along with its own stage where a dynamic digital screen replayed a two minute silent video that was programmed to pulsating club music at deafening decibels.

 

 

Besides coming with its own publicity campaign that includes a stylized knockoff of their familiar bottle, projecting the Patrón name and iconic bee symbol onto the walls and some snappy slogans on ads and cushy sofa pillows, the entire experience is designed to embed a feeling of Old World rustic tequila-making with a modern twist.

The Process

El Tesoro's tahona, still in use.
El Tesoro’s tahona, still in use.

What makes this new addition to the Patrón portfolio any different from its usual ho-hum juice?

Roca Patrón (a Spanish corruption of the English word rock) is made exclusively using a tahona or volcanic stone wheel to macerate agave piñas to extract its juice.  Until the invention and adoption of more efficient and less labor intensive shredding machines, this was once how all tequilas were produced.

In this clip, Patrón Quality Director, Mario Chavez, explains why they settled on a 90 proof blanco and reveals some of the details in the pre-planning of the Roca line.

Mario explained that the tahona has always been part of the tequila making process for regular Patrón which they blend after distillation with juice that has been shredded.  This method was made famous by Tequila Siete Leguas, Patrón’s original producer, and eventually pilfered by Patrón.  For Roca, however, no blending occurs.

 

2014-08-11 19.12.58
L-R: Mike Morales, John Rivers of Julio Cesar Chavez Tequila, Mario Chavez. Patrón Quality Director, Mario Chavez, was so animated and excited about sharing Roca Patron that we couldn’t capture a still photo of him! Special thanks to Greg Cohen for inviting us to a great party!

 

Francisco-head-shot
Francisco Alcaraz, Patron Master Distiller

In his passion, Mario was sure that there were no other tequilas produced exclusively using a tahona.  I reminded him of the sought-after Fortaleza brand which he acknowledged, and Suerte, which he had never heard of.  But, why would he?  He is so engrossed in his own line that it figures that he would be oblivious to any other ones.  An honest, and forgivable, mistake.

Several distillers/chemical engineers are associated with the Roca line.  It’s refreshing to see a new face representing Patrón besides Francisco Alcaraz, their long time Master Distiller.

Cocktail Worthy

The Roca Patrón website has plenty of signature cocktails, but for each of the other 40 odd launch cities including Austin, original recipes were created by hired hot mixologists.

As previously pointed out in our reviews of Cabeza, Tapatío 110, and the entire Dulce Vida line, overproof tequilas shine in cocktails and Roca Patrón is no different.

Both myself and Mario agreed, however, that for a purist, a tequila the caliber of Roca

Lutfy Flores, David Alan, Carolyn Gil, Brian Dressel, Joyce Garrison, Patrón's guest mixologists.
Lutfy Flores, David Alan, Carolyn Gil, Brian Dressel, Joyce Garrison, Patrón’s guest mixologists.

Patrón would be much better served either neat, or simply on the rocks.

The Break Down

For the sake of transparency, we were served Roca Patrón on tap at room temperature in branded champagne glasses.  (Don’t be fooled by the lit-from-behind liquid lines viewed through false tequila barrel tops.  Patrón invented the art of visual illusion for these events.)

Patrón reps that evening admitted that it was not the best way to taste test tequila, but considering the amount of guests invited to the launch, it proved more cost effective.

Due to the darkness of the Brazos Hall, observing Roca’s color was next to impossible.

Roca Patrón Silver–90 proof

The new Roca Patrón line.
The new Roca Patrón line.

At first sniff, instant piedra (tahona, rock) with barely any hint of alcohol.  The nose gives no warning for what’s to come, however.  Extreme agave on the entry, so brace yourselves.  Light to medium finish that lingers on the palate, not down your throat.  On the second intake, more sweetness is evident.

Roca Patrón Reposado–84 proof

Instant butter on the nose to go along with the wood notes, vanilla and caramel.  Mario confessed that his wife is even able to pull some pineapple and pear on the entry.  Both were slightly noticeable, again with very little to no alcohol.  Aged in American oak barrels and guaranteed to coat your palate.

Roca Patrón Añejo–88 proof

Aged 14 months, mas o menos, there is evidence of dried fruit, nuts and some citrus.  Again, very little if any alcohol was present in the nose.  Very easy finish, but not as memorable as the reposado even though it, too, will coat the palate.

The Verdict

Both at the event and in digital print, Patrón reps and officials have admitted that there has been a gradual decline in demand for its tequila in the United States.  Consumers and industry professionals alike have dismissed it as a brand that rests on its colorful past and deft marketing.

Whether this trend has been due to the rise of mixologists and their demands for better and more artisanal ingredients for their cocktail creations, a more sophisticated and educated consumer, or focusing on its ravenous rise to dominance in the overseas Duty Free market, Roca Patrón is their bold statement to these allegations.

Despite Patrón’s attempt to backpedal into the current craft tequila craze with Roca, it is still a mass produced tequila targeted to their own particular customer base–

Those willing to spend anywhere from $69, $79, and $89 for silver, reposado, and añejo expressions.

Don’t expect to see these prices drop, either.  Patrón was one of the only tequila producers that refused to roll back prices during the recession even though consumers were trading down to cheaper brands.

In the end, those faithful Patrón followers who enjoy the Gran Patrón line (Platinum, Piedra, or Burdeos), but not the heady price tags, will appreciate Roca Patrón’s assertive flavor profile and less aggressive cost.

As for the Patrón Road Show…

It was an elegant, eventful, and enlightening affair.  Like watching Cirque du Soleil but without the embarrassing costumes.

***

Watch for a future Sipping Off The Cuff(TM) featuring Roca Patrón, coming soon!

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