If I had it my way, I would sip tequila in the middle of the afternoon in a Hotel ZaZa suite with Bertha Gonzalez Nieves every week for the rest of my life.
This was the scenario when I came for a tasting of her premium tequila, Casa Dragones. Bertha is something of Mexican royalty, being the only woman in history to earn the title of Maestra Tequilera by the Academia Mexican de Catadores de Tequila (she should carry a scepter, in my opinion.) She was in town promoting her rare Blue Agave Joven tequila, one of the five official classifications of tequila that has heretofore been massively overlooked. Casa Dragones was to be poured for the members-only hour the following night at the opening for the latest exhibition at The Dallas Contemporary featuring Man with Banana byJuergen Teller and Bold & Beautiful by Ezra Petronio.
Bertha poured a generous portion of her clarion tequila into what looked like a champagne flute, and we put our noses to the glass to consider the citrus notes and spices. This was no shooting tequila; training wheels are not welcome here. Everything, from the lead-free crystal bottle to the hand-picked agave and multiple distillation process, is meticulously planned and executed. Bertha calls this Mexican Craftsmanship. In fact, the flavors of the tequila dramatically changed from one sip to the next. It was like different parts of your subconscious opening up to the experience itself.
When I asked how the effect was accomplished, she said, “Years of experimentation.” Casa Dragones Co-Founder Bob Pittman, perhaps better known as the guy who founded MTV, says it perfectly. “Our vision was to produce at tequila with no ‘wince factor’ or harsh aftertaste. We achieved it, and more.”