There are many incredible people in the world of Sherry and I will introduce them to you in our blog. Today´s person is very special, my father Eduardo Miller Margolles. My father worked at González Byass for many years. He was a passionate Sherry wine enthusiast and I assume that I have inherited that passion. Below, I share with you a newspaper reporter´s interview of my father, conducted in 1971, when he would travel througout Latin America representing González Byass and, above all, Tío Pepe which, as you can see, was already more than famous. I hope you enjoy it.
The above caption reads:
Andalusian Sun 1971
On the Road with “Tio Pepe”
Miller Margolles talks about what he saw and heard in Latin-American countries.
Those of us, who have undertaken the mission of spreading the bottled Andalusian Sun throughout the world, frequently save some space in our suitcase for a good collection of anecdotes and memories in which the main character is our very own TIO PEPE. For me, they are some of the most pleasant moments and comments which I have experienced and have heard in the Latin American countries which I have visited, where our wine is the best ambassador of happiness and friendship.
SHAKESPEARE AND “TIO PEPE”
Eduardo Miller begins by telling us:
It was in Bogotá, a beautiful city with fantastic restaurants. One day I went to one of the most famous ones, attracted by its specialty dish- Valencian paella. After I sat down, I noticed a large fresco that covered an entire wall. It portrayed Shakespeare and below his image one can read his famous sentence regarding Sherry wine, modified to read: “If I had one thousand sons, the first human principle that I would teach them would be: that they abhor insipid libations and that they become fans of TIO PEPE.”
And Miller´s response to the waiter who approached him, and asked what drink he wanted to start with, was: “Friend, I want what Shakespeare recommends – TIO PEPE.”
TO THE BULLFIGHTS! WITH “TIO PEPE”
The great following that bullfights enjoy in Latin America is well known, some of which I attended watching with satisfaction that in Colombia, almost all of the spectators go to the bullrings carrying a genuine wineskin full of TIO PEPE. My curiosity made me ask if that was always the case at the bullfights, and they answered me:
“We can tell that you are not from here. Look, we bring and drink TIO PEPE because that way the poor performances of the bad bullfighters are easier to accept, and the successes of the good ones are better appreciated as well. Come on, let´s have a drink.”
“But, right now, we aren´t at the bullfights.”
“It doesn´t matter, my Spanish friend.”
Miller tells us that during a bullfight which he attended in Caracas, a giant TIO PEPE on wheels was paraded around the bullring accompanied by two beautiful young ladies that were dressed in short jackets, an advertising campaign that was conceived by our agents, the Benedettis.
The public, at the end of the bullfight, petitioned that an award of ears, from all of the bulls, be made to the TIO PEPE figure because it had been the only good thing that had been seen in the bullring that day.
“TIO PEPE” DUCK
“The following also happened in Caracas…” Miller said: In a French restaurant they served me “Tio Pepe” Duck. Since it was finger-licking good, I invaded the chef´s domain and after congratulating him, I asked for the recipe letting him know that it was of great importance to me since I was part of the González Byass team. The chef, an old “Marseillais”, meticulously explained to me all of the steps necessary to prepare that exquisite dish, until he came to the point of serving the dish. Since he had not mentioned the aforementioned wine, I reminded him of what he had missed. He smiled and explained to me:
“That is the secret. If the baked dish comes out well, which it always does, I drink a few glasses of TIO PEPE in order to celebrate. That is the origin of the name of the plate which you have enjoyed so much.”
THE DRINK OF THE ANCIENT INDIAN GODS
Miller weaved a few anecdotes together with others, impossible to recount them all, but this one is worth adding as a finishing touch to the above-mentioned collection:
“Finding myself in El Salvador one day, where a bottle of TIO PEPE can end up costing about four hundred pesetas, I observed a barefoot laborer who was working at a street repair site. He was eating a sandwich and in between he would drink from a TIO PEPE bottle. I went up to him and asked him if he liked it and he replied that it was the drink of the ancient indian gods, which was taken by its discoverers to Spain. I did not want to make a comment regarding that, but I did share my opinion about how expensive that wine must have been for such a simple meal. What he responded, made me laugh:
“Sir, even though on this label it says TIO PEPE, what this bottle contains is the cheapest form of grain alcohol. I pour it into this bottle so that it tastes better and so that I can imagine that I still have some TIO PEPE left in it. It is a bottle that was given to me as a gift at my wedding. That was the only time when I had the pure pleasure of drinking the best wine in the world.”
“What did you do, Mr. Miller?”
Well Sir, I gave him a few bottles of TIO PEPE so that, throughout the length of a week, he could feel as if he were an ancient god.
My dad and I at a González Byass function.
My dad with Mr. Mauricio González-Gordon, and the tennis player Manolo Santana.