Tequila!?! WTF, I thought this was a whisk(e)y blog. Indeed it is. However, we are dedicated to bringing you a little something else every know and again. Now tequila is something I’ve never been able to get my head around, but our friends at Charbay have produced a tequila and they want you to know about it. Here’s the press release.
SUBJECT: Charbay Father & Son Team Are First American Distillers to Distill 100% Blue Agave Tequila in Mexico
(St. Helena, CA) June 2009 – Charbay 100% Blue Agave Tequila Blanco is the first personally hand distilled tequila by American distillers in Mexico. Its bright and spicy agave flavors are elegant & smooth for sipping neat, over ice or in your favorite cocktail.
The adventure started when a highly acclaimed Tequila Distiller in Arandas Mexico offered to share his facility with Charbay’s father & son team to see what kind of tequila they could distill if given total freedom. Miles & Marko Karakasevic jumped at the challenge. The 12th & 13th generation distillers are passionate about distilling fresh ingredients & always eager to distill something new.
Charbay’s goal: accent the natural agave flavors in a spicy, clean tequila. “Of all the world’s distilled spirits classes, Tequila is by far one of the most challenging,” says Miles Karakasevic, Master Distiller & the father of this distilling duo. “To capture brighter Tequila flavors of spicy agave freshness, we combined the traditional methods of classic tequila distilling with proprietary Charbay fermenting & distilling methods. They shared, we shared… everyone learned & enjoyed.”
Miles & Marko were given free reign to distill Charbay Tequila at the Los Altos Family Distillery, allowing them to be completely hands on during the entire process. They were 100% involved with harvesting the Agave, baking, fermenting, and hand distilling in traditional 90-250 gallon Copper Alambiques Tequilano Pot Stills.
Agave to tequila equals grapes to wine – altitude, climate and soil are flavor specific to the finished spirit. Charbay Blue Agaves were grown at the altitude of +7,120 in the superior, intensely red volcanic soils in the foothills of St. Augustine Mountain. When Miles designed the label, he put the GPS coordinates on each label to show exactly where the plantation is located.
With the Jimadores (agave masters), they hand selected the estate grown 8 year old Blue Agaves which were transported to the distillery. The pinas were then halved or quartered by hand and stacked into the old brick ovens (small ovens – not large steel autoclaves). The agave is baked slowly for four days and then crushed to extract the sweet agave juice (“Mosto”) for fermentation.
Only a selected fraction of freshly baked, sweet agave juice was pumped into small fermenters, allowing the fermentation to be cool and slow to preserves the fresh, delicate agave flavors. Once the Mosto fermented into dry distilling material called “Mosto Muerte” it was ready to distill.
Marko points out: “During the final distillation at 142 proof, our tequila tasted as if you were chewing on fresh chamomile buds. Later, at 140 proof, it started to taste like cinnamon. At 138 proof, the flavors were of herbaceous, rich agave – with a peppery finish. We captured all of these flavors, even after cutting to 80 proof!”
The first release of 1,700 cases will be available in California & Nevada early August and will then roll out to Colorado, Missouri, Connecticut, Oklahoma, Florida and New York. Suggested retail is $49.00.
For more information: Charbay Tequila
I think we’re getting a sample here at Whisk(e)y Apostle, so stay tuned. Until then, drink well, drink responsibly.