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October 13, 2011

Polished Palate Biography

Mario Marquez

Mario Marquez

Mario Marquez’s passion for Mexican spirits knowledge started as a server at Café Coyote in Old Town, San Diego 10 years ago. Mario was determined to educate himself on the list of more than 100 tequilas on the menu. It began as a hobby that grew into a passion for all agave based drinks.

In the past 10 years, Mario has gathered an in-depth understanding of agave culture. He constantly studies Mexican regional drinks and is always trying to learn something new about them. His desire for knowledge has led him to study Mexican spirits such as: mezcal, sotol, bacanora, raicilla and the oldest agave based fermented beverage, pulque.

Mario’s passion for tequila has led him to sacrifice most of his vacation and personal time studying and visiting over 30 different distilleries in the appellation of origin, tequila-producing regions.  He takes about one or two trips every year to be immersed in this unique beverage culture.  These trips down to México have allowed Mario to conserve his Mexican roots and traditions. He spends a lot of time visiting his birthplace, San Francisco del Rincón, Guanajuato.

Mario Marquez has acquired his Mexican spirits knowledge by reading, traveling, attending seminars, conducting interviews, and talking to people who are in the beverage world. He has met with various master distillers, distillery owners, scientists, educators, and agave harvesters (jimadores) to help him build his understanding of what it takes to make quality beverages. Mario has tasted and examined more than 700 fermented or distilled Mexican beverages.

On September 15th, 2007, Mario became one of the first certified Tequilier Ambassadeurs in the entire United States. The highly accredited Mexican Academy of Tequila (U.S.A), at the time led by Phillip Soto Mares (Master Tequilier), award Mario for completing its expert seminar on tequila.

For the past 5 years, Mario Marquez has proudly served as one of the judges for the Spirits of Mexico Tasting Competition ( www.polishedpalate.com) and has collaborated by organizing some of the cultural and educational aspects of the event. This spectacular festival is one of the biggest of its kind in the United States. In 2010 Mario tasted and evaluated over 100 entries of diverse Mexican Spirits.

Mario is an individual who believes that an education is a life-long process. On March 9th, 2009, Mario became the second person outside of Mexico to attend and completed the Catador 1 and Catador 2 expert seminars on tequila tasting. These seminars were held in Mexico City at the World Trade Center. These seminars were taught by Andrés Rodriguez- Reynoso, President of La Academia Mexican del Tequila ( www.acamextequila.com) and Mr. Ricardo Higelin Iselin, Master Tequilier and Director of Mexico’s Valley Chapter.

Mario has taken part in co-teaching tequilier certification courses with both The President, Andres Rodriguez Reynoso and Vice President, Joseph Sánchez Trujillo of Academia Mexicana del Tequila A.C. The first seminar was held on November 19, 2009 in Old Town San Diego and certification courses were also given in the states of Louisiana and Texas.

His most recent expert in tequila certification was obtained in Guadalajara Jalisco, through La Academia Mexicana de Catadores de Tequila, Vino y Mezcal, A.C., which is sanctioned by the Tequila Regulatory Council and the National Chamber of the Tequila Industry.

During all of the above education Mario was exposed to rigorous scientific approaches that dealt with the overall tequila process and methods of how to professionally analyze and evaluate tequila.

On September 16, 2010 Mario Marquez began his own, Mexican Spirits consulting company, Magia Azul Tequila Consulting. Visit Mario in San Diego at El Zarape Tequileria on Tuesday nights and other prestigious tequila bars, restaurants and events around the world.

Mario Marquez can be contacted at: http://magiaazultequilaconsulting.com/ or tequliermarquez@gmail.com