Summer 2013 Newsletter

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Marko & Miles in the early ‘80s

Just a couple years ago...making

Port at the Still House

News from...  

The Still on the Hill

Join us in celebrating Charbay’s 30th Anniversary. In 1983, we lit our classic Alambic Charentais pot still for the first time with great expectations and no idea of the amazing journey ahead.

Miles brought the boundless creativity. His sights were high and every bottle has had his stamp on it. Now Marko does most of the distilling and the theme carries on...we know you trust all that Charbay stands for.

Since we wrote last, Miles was named a Living Legend by the San Francisco Bartenders Guild. There truly was an air of respect in the audience as he stepped onto the stage and they listened to his words. He advised them to dream big.

Then Marko’s inspired R5 Whiskey (distilled from Racer 5 IPA beer) won a ‘Good Food Award’ in San Francisco for sustainability and commitment to producing exceptional quality spirits.

Add articles in the NY Times, Wall Street Journal and beyond, and calls from enthusiasts all over the country...we always appreciate the chance to share our passion with you.

Tequila Tapatio Blanco, Anejo, Reposado and 110-Proof Blanco

Tequila Tapatio Has Arrived

Remember the story about the distillery where Marko & Miles distilled Charbay Tequila? That story goes on: Carlos Camarena & his family at La Alteňa Distillery are the owners/distillers of Tequila Tapatio, a 75-year-old brand that is one of the Top 5 in Mexico but has never been available in the U.S.  Carlos is a very authentic distiller - iconic in the bartender world. We had no idea how many aficionados had trekked down to meet him as the distiller of El Tesoro.

After the deep friendship that developed over hours & days alongside the Stills, Carlos asked Charbay to be the exclusive U.S. importer of the Tequila Tapatio brand. And Miles & Marko said: Yes!

We started slowly last June with a container of Blanco (2,000 cases)...and suddenly needed more. Then we received requests from bartenders & fans for the Anejo & Reposado, which arrived in the next container. And before we knew it, Marko & Carlos had developed a new label called B110. (You know Marko!)

What’s B110? ‘Blanco’ at 110 proof!  

Why a higher proof? Tequila consists of water, alcohol and flavors: reduce the water and you’ve increased the alcohol and flavors.  “At 110 proof, more of the subtle top notes of flavor are exposed,” explains Marko. “Tapatio has huge florals and spicy cinnamon, plus chamomile and rich agave.”

110 proof, 55% abv., is the highest proof allowed by Mexican law. Releasing a Tequila at top-strength - just to show that it can be incredible & smooth - was a distiller’s challenge that Carlos nailed!

Here are some of Miles’ comments as he first tasted it: “Stupendous... big & plentiful and soft, forceful agave, overwhelming nose, full body & follow through on the full pallet with no bite! Carlos, it’s your best ever - a masterpiece...”  (I wrote these words down because Miles was so vocal and he is usually very reserved when it comes to other distillers’ spirits.)

Distillery Special Offer
Tequila Tapatio Sampler  Receive FREE GROUND SHIPPING on a 4-bottle Tapatio Sampler...Blanco, Añejo, Reposado & B110.  Invite a few friends over for a tasting flight of one of Mexico’s finest Tequila brands. Finally available in the U.S. through the friendship of two distilling families. You’ll be impressed. We are.

(Use promo code ‘Tequila’ at checkout. Valid thru 7/7/13. CA Residents: Your order will be forwarded to a participating retailer per CA law.)

Where to Drink (San Francisco)

You probably already know about Charles Phan’s Slanted Door at the SF Ferry Terminal. Now he’s opened Hard Water, ‘An American Whiskey Bar’ right on the Embarcadero on Pier 3. Great selections and, yes, you can enjoy Charbay R5 Whiskey & Whiskey Release II. Both are sold out so that’s a rare find! Don’t miss tasting them.

Where to Stay (Napa Valley)

Next visit to Napa, check out the Andaz Hotel. Yes, stylish & very comfortable beds. Of course! But imagine a 375ml bottle of Charbay Vodka in every room...and Charbay Saturdays! You can enjoy Charbay any day of the week in their restaurant & hopping bar stocked with Charbay’s collection of Spirits.

Watch for the photos from our recent cocktail competition held at Andaz. We’ll post them on our Facebook page.

Where to Buy

Charbay is now available in WA & OR. Call your local spirits store to request your favorite Charbay. We’re also back in TN (a visit to  Blackberry Farm is a lifetime must!) and TX is restocking across the state. Charbay Ruby Red Grapefruit Vodka should be their State Vodka!

For those of you in S. CA, we know there’s a good Charbay stash at Beverage Warehouse. And Total Wine (S. CA, so far) has picked up Tequila Tapatio & Charbay R5 Whiskey.

Have a favorite fine spirits shop that you’d like to carry Charbay? Give us a call - we’ll see what we can do.

Featured Recipes

Marko’s Margarita

2 oz Tequila Tapatio Blanco or “B110”
1 oz Fresh Lime Juice

1 oz Simple Syrup

Mix well and serve over ice; salted rim optional. Mmmmmmmm!

Grandote (serves 2)

3 oz  Tequila Tapatio Blanco

1 oz  Fidencio Classico Mezcal

1 oz Dry Curaçao

.5 oz Maple Syrup

4 oz Fresh Grapefruit Juice

Splash fresh lime juice

Handful fresh pineapple chunks

Muddle pineapple and maple syrup until juicy, add rest of ingredients, shake, strain into a big ice filled glass. Top with 5-6 dashes of bittermans habanero shrub. Two straws!

Recipe: West of Pecos, San Francisco, CA

Still House Tasting Room News and Special Offer

Charbay Spirits Tasting Flight: Now when you visit Charbay here in Napa Valley, we’ll send you off with a voucher for a mini-sampler of Charbay spirits at one of our favorite NV restaurants. You present the ‘pass’ and they’ll pour three Charbay spirits tastes...seems everyone gets comfortable and stays for a drink & an appetizer or two. Best part is you’ll enjoy these restaurants!

New Port Releases: Marko has isolated the 2006 Port barrels into two lots for a Distillers’ Port and a Still House Port that he’ll be bottling soon! Let us know if you want to know the minute they’re released & finally available.

Green Tea Aperitif: Marko’s updated blend (21% Alc.) is a touch drier. Designed to be a ‘ready-to-drink’...just pour it over ice & enjoy. Add tonic, sparkling Pellegrino, fresh lemonade or champagne - they all add extra pizzaz.  It’s already a top-seller here at the Still House.

Chardonnay: Imagine a 3-year-old Chardonnay that has truly come into its own! The steely crispness from brief aging in French oak has mellowed into a softer apple-grapefruit flavor that is superb with salty appetizers and sauteed fish. Grab a case for your next party and “enjoy knowing how to find rarity!” says Miles.  (Huh?)

Tasting Room special:


“Yes, Miles and I drank the rest of the ‘S’ Whiskey sample. We’re very sorry!”

- Charles Henning,

Managing Director of Charbay

Spirits: Sneak Peek

You’ve got to feel for to choose between distilling (a 24/7 nonstop when the Still’s on), bottling, travelling to bars & restaurants across the U.S. to share his latest releases...and sleeping? Send him some love on Facebook!

Whiskey Release III -  This is ‘Part III’ of the original Pilsner Whiskey Batch (22 barrels distilled by Miles & Marko in 1999). M & M envisioned this whiskey as a 4-part collection so you could experience its evolution as it ages. Release III will be bottled in mid-July, with the first 120 bottles signed by Marko for our Charbay Club Members.

Marko’s next release of R5 Whiskey.

This has us all excited. We were able to taste the final’s full of caramel and toasty vanilla plus those floral hops that work a magic in a smooth body. How to enjoy: either straight, with a splash of pure water or with a clear ice cube... you’ll have to choose!  

And, last but not least, ‘S’ (Stout) Whiskey is coming soon. Miles & Charles were so excited after the recent tasting of barrel samples. “It’s stunning,” Miles told me. Must be good because they polished off the rest of the sample as they grilled chicken! Signed bottles for Club Members. See below if you haven’t joined yet! This is an extension of the Charbay ‘S’ Whiskey that’s available in NYC at Ward III & Astor Liquors.

Marko (right) and Club Member with his case...

‘Club Charbay’ Now Includes Spirits

In case you didn’t hear: Charbay Wine Club is now ‘Club Charbay.’ Three levels, three times a year - including Spirits!

Members like the convenience of shipments, the Club Member discount, the complementary Still House the advantage of being first to know about new releases & first dibs on the barbecue tickets. JOIN NOW

Upcoming Events: (More on our website)

Sun, Jul 14, 6-9pm: CUESA's 3rd Annual Summer Celebration, San Francisco - An evening supporting 20 years of connecting urban eaters and local farmers and artisans. Tickets

We look forward to welcoming you personally to the Still on the Hill - just 15 minutes out of St. Helena. We’ll pull you into our world of distilling & winemaking, family style. Bring a picnic. Enjoy a glass of wine or port with a cigar from our collection.

NEWS FLASH - FROM MILES: We’re about to announce Salon Alambic! [A surprise from Miles...still being worked on]

Warm wishes & ‘liquid smiles’ (as Marko says),

Susan & the entire team

CHARBAY Distillery & Winery

Napa Valley, CA

CHARBAY Distillery & Winery

4001 Spring Mtn. Rd

St. Helena, CA 94574

(707) 963-9327

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