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Charbay Tequila Blanco

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Charbay Tequila Blanco

Charbay Tequila Blanco

Photo Courtesy: © Charbay Winery & Distillery

The Bottom Line

I have made it no secret that every product I have tried from Charbay Winery & Distillery are among my absolute favorite distilled spirits. When I heard that they were releasing a tequila I had mixed feelings, but anticipated that it was going to be at least a good tequila because the Karakasevic family does not release just any old liquor, or wine for that matter. Going into this tasting with an open mind, not allowing myself to be deterred by a brand, I was once again amazed at the simple taste of the Charbay Tequila Blanco. It's a tequila with a distinct taste and one that tequila adventurers need to add to their list.

Pros

  • Rich, spicy blanco tequila that is tastes handcrafted.

Cons

  • Limited availability and a nearly $60 price tag.

Description

  • Double distilled 100% blue agave blanco tequila.
  • Produced by Miles and Marko Karakasevic of Charbay Winery & Distillery, Napa Valley, California
  • 40% alc/volume (80 proof)
  • Retails for around $58/750ml bottle

Guide Review - Charbay Tequila Blanco

How can a family of distillers from Napa Valley, California produce a tequila when the spirit's legal requirements state that it needs to be distilled and bottled in certain regions of Mexico? Travel to Mexico to run the still, of course. That is exactly what Miles and Marko Karakasevic did over a three year time span to develop Charbay Tequila Blanco. Unlike others, the Master Distillers for Charbay oversaw the distilling process of this tequila with a hands on approach, bringing their years of experience into what Miles has said is one of the most challenging spirits to produce. I have found over the years that people with this much passion and dedication to the distilling craft can tackle any challenge and you can taste the difference.

So, we have the first tequila distilled by California distillers made completely of blue agave grown on an estate whose GPS coordinates can be found on every bottle's label. In this instance the estate is in the rich, red soiled fields of Los Altos de Jalisco, where in my journey to the tequila fields produced some of the best tequilas you will find on the market. The agave plants grow for eight years before reaching the beginning of the tequila making process with a four day baking session in brick ovens, which adds a certain richness to the final product. Once the juices are extracted the distilling team from California comes in and they bring their European-based double distilling technique that has done so well for them in the past. After the trips through the copper alembic pot still the tequila is "barely" filtered, cut to 80 proof, and bottled.

Each of those elements have played important roles in producing one of the most interesting tequilas I've had to date. Where some tequilas attempt to be ultra smooth, Charbay has developed a full-flavored tequila that has that ultra smooth quality. Imagine one of the great anejo tequilas without the taste of the barrel, just pure, refined agave flavor and you have Charbay Tequila Blanco. Sure, there is pepper (a substantial amount) notes along with those of chamomile, cinnamon, and other herbs, but the underlying flavor you taste here is agave at its finest. I liken it to a spicy piece of the agave pina straight out of the oven, which is the richest, sweetest baked plant I have ever tasted with this wonderful caramel that easily beats any manufactured candy. For Charbay to have captured that is truly showing off their craft.

How would you drink a tequila of this quality? At $58 a bottle it is not the cheapest tequila available, but is in line with other premium tequilas, therefore I say sip at will and mix carefully. You don't want to use this tequila in a drink that masks it's unique aspects, instead choosing tequila cocktails that compliment the natural flavors of a tequila such as this Jalisco High Tea, a Juan Collins, or a simple Tequini. Other than that, pour it over some ice, chill it, or sip it warm and enjoy.

Tasting Notes:
From the nose to the finish, this tequila has a vibrant mix of herbs, peppery spice, and sweet agave.

Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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