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Karen MacNeil and Bertha Gonzalez Nieves Host Exclusive Casa Dragones Tasting

Submitted By: Tara Thomas, March 16, 2011
SAN FRANCISCO, March 2011 – On Tuesday, March 15, award-winning wine expert Karen MacNeil partnered with Casa Dragones to host an exclusive tasting of the limited edition sipping tequila at Spruce restaurant. It was the first time that MacNeil, America’s eminent wine educator and author of the best-selling book The Wine Bible, used her knowledge and skill to create tasting notes for a tequila instead of wine. MacNeil co-hosted the event with Bertha Gonzalez Nieves, the CEO and co-founder of Casa Dragones and the first woman to be recognized as “Maestra Tequilera” by the Academia Mexicana de Catadores de Tequila. They led top Bay Area beverage and industry professionals, including sommeliers from Luce, Bix and AquaPazza restaurants, in a tasting of Casa Dragones, and MacNeil used her wine savvy to describe the tequila.

“[The] purity is remarkable throughout the entire trajectory of the flavors. Wave after wave of complex flavor present when the tequila is held on the palate long enough,” MacNeil says. “This is a tequila of superb artisanal quality, distinction, precision and complexity.” For MacNeil’s complete tasting notes on Casa Dragones, please see below.

MacNeil was introduced to the 100 percent Blue Agave Joven sipping tequila at a private Napa Valley tasting in 2010 and was intrigued by its distinct flavors, nuanced aroma and pronounced body—characteristics normally found in a wine. By collaborating with MacNeil, Casa Dragones further solidifies its position as a favored tequila of the wine and culinary industries.

“We are thrilled that Karen, a renowned wine authority, is inspired by Casa Dragones,” says Gonzalez Nieves. “Her opinion adds a new dimension to appreciating our tequila and opens the conversation between wine experts and tequila producers.”

MacNeil is Chairman of the Rudd Center for Professional Wine Studies at the Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley and recipient of awards including Outstanding Wine and Spirits professional of the Year from the James Beard Foundation (2004) and Wine Educator of the Year by the European Wine Council (2005).

Karen MacNeil’s Tasting Notes for Casa Dragones Sipping Tequila:


Jewel bright platinum


Distinctive and focused. The initial high-definition pear aromas are more vivid and sensual than the aroma of actual pears. “Under” the pear notes, the tequila’s mineral-like aromas evoke oceanic saltiness or something akin to rain on rocks. At the same time, the aromatic top notes suggest “coolness” in the manner of cucumber or starfruit. An exotic, citrusy quality ties the aromas together in ribbons of tangerine, kumquat, Valencia orange and Meyer lemon. With time, deep, woodsy, incense-like aromas emerge. All in all, the complexity of Casa Dragones’ aromas suggests it’s as much a “smelling” tequila, as a “sipping” tequila.


Satiny, almost lanolin-like quality without sacrificing the precision of the flavors.


Extremely dense and concentrated, perhaps evocative of the volcanic black rock in which the blue agave grows. The tequila’s minerality creates a kind of frame for the flavor. Within the frame, one tastes the picture of exotic citrus and light tropical flavors that spread over the palate. With time, pointalistic hints of white pepper. Purity is remarkable throughout the entire trajectory of the flavor. Wave after wave of complex flavor present when the tequila is held on the palate long enough.


Extremely long.


A tequila of superb artisanal quality, distinction, precision and complexity.



Handcrafted in small batches in Tequila, Mexico, Casa Dragones is a 100% Blue Agave Joven tequila made with an innovative process to be exceptionally smooth – so smooth that it can only be called a sipping tequila. Co-founded in 2009 by Bob Pittman, a former AOL Time Warner COO and a founder of MTV and Pilot Group, and CEO Bertha González Nieves, Casa Dragones is made with meticulous attention to detail and a commitment to perfecting this one style of limited edition sipping tequila only. The brand's Maestro Tequilero individually selects the finest blue agave plants and hand-finishes each bottle by gently balancing platinum tequila with a hint of extra añejo. Each bottle is handcrafted from pure, lead-free crystal and individually engraved, hand-labeled, numbered and signed. In 2010, its distinct bottle design won the Grand Prix Strategies du Luxe, the prestigious design award. Casa Dragones is available at select retailers and premiere restaurants and bars in New York, California, Florida, Illinois, Colorado, Texas and Las Vegas and nationwide at For more information, please visit



Tammy Walker and Casey Leblang

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