Casa Noble Tasting/Pairing

So over the last few weeks, I’ve made mention of an epic tasting night. Well this past Saturday was it, months of preparation, scouring the local market for treasure bottles and prepping a unique menu all culminated into one night. To say it was epic would only tarnish its reputation. Many of the recipes posted recently were testers to make sure the pairings went off perfectly…they did. All of the bottles have been collecting since January and are a story in their own right involving trades, back room dealings and multiple bottles crossing state lines to join in the fun. Our southern bootleggers would be proud.

When it comes to Tequila, Casa Noble is a revered brand. It’s accolades and awards are one thing but the word on the street from tequila aficionado’s is pure gold. To start, the distillery dates back to the late 1700’s located just outside the town of tequila. They are a lowlands tequila, but their agave fields carry many of the attributes of the highlands fields creating a amalgam of complex flavors that draw from both regions. In old world style the pina’s are slowly cooked for 38 hours in stone ovens. They are triple distilled and naturally fermented. The landscaping around the distillery is peppered with blue agaves, mango and citrus trees that all lend their flavors and yeasts into the final product. From there the exceptional blanco is put into new French white oak barrels to age into repo’s and anejo’s. This really sets their flavor profile apart from other brands that get their barrels used from the American whiskey and bourbon distillers. A neat thing about French white oak is it needs to be split, not sawn. Combine this with the tighter grain of FWO and the flavor is immense without over powering the wonderful genetics of the Blanco. The master distillers at Casa Noble are also masters of detail.

We tasted full line and added a few out of print treasure bottles into the mix eating along the way. It was going to be a long evening or sipping, eating and enjoying some great company so we nibbled on some freshly made guacamole, pico de gallo and a drank a round of paloma’s along with a small glass of Corralejo Repo to prep the pallet. It was now time for the pairing.

The first menu item was slices of lightly toasted French bread, spread with quince paste with a thing slice of mild yet pungent cheddar. While eating we poured the current bottling of the blanco (thanks Rex!) to let it breath and allow us some time between tastes. The sweetness of the quince and earthy creaminess of the cheese set us up nicely for a pair of blanco’s.

Everyone commented on the new bottles complex nose while thin that brought slowly cooked agave, musty lemon, and that classic Casa Noble flavor. It was extremely smooth but still remained an interesting sipper. I swear I got hints of oak. We didn’t mix it but it surely would make an excellent mixer if you wanted to move your cocktails into the stratosphere. We the moved to a treasure bottle of previous blanco I found in Conyers. It had all the notes of the current bottle but with a more complex nose that brought extra mineral and earthiness to it. The flavor was more robust as well and thus took away from the smoothness but it was by no means harsh. Both had long sustained finishes that pleased for minutes after your last sip.  The blanco’s surprised us with their complexity and were more interesting than other brands repo’s and anejo’s. After the blanco’s we had the bay scallop ceviche recipe shown a few weeks ago to draw from the sweet, citrus and fresh notes of the blanco’s. Both bottles received 5 outta 5

From there we moved onto the repo’s. Similar to the blanco’s we had the new and previous bottling’s. One of these bottles I received in trade from an aficionado in Florida whom I sent a treasure bottle of Chinaco Repo I had found locally. The older ceramic bottle was found back in January at Total Wine in Alpharetta, who for some reason was continuing to stock the older ceramic bottles for over a year after the new bottles came out. These are all since gone (bought the last one) but they’re still out there. Some distributer must be sitting on cases of these. The newer bottle was blue tinted glass instead of the blue ceramic. Both were eye catching but in different manners. The new had a classy elegance to it while the ceramic harked back to an old world style. Immediately the nose and effects of those French white oak casks came out and you start to smell the family lineage of that great blanco. Aged for a full 364 days (one day short of Anejo territory) luscious molasses, sweet agave, chocolate and toffee filled the senses along with some old standby’s of vanilla and caramel. All these notes translated to the pallet with the older ceramic bottle having a bit more pepper and spice in the finish. Some of us grabbed clove, some thought cinnamon. We loved both and for similar reasons to the blanco’s. The newer felt a little smoother and mellowed out while the older had that more rebellious feel. One of us was a diehard blanco fan that pretty much decided this was the new digs from here on out. The repo’s picked up a 5 outta 5 too. I told you this was good juice.

After our repo’s we ate a pot of my Chipotle Mussels cooked in Negra Modelo. I don’t need to ramble about how good these are I did that a few weeks ago and tonights batch were just as good. They had the perfect amount of heat, smokiness and caramelized onion not to mention the creamy creme friache to complement the silkiness of the repo’s. Some more french bread to dip into the broth with was just the icing on the cake…or was it? After the mussels we tasted some Amate Repo. This was another bottle received in trade that is from the same NOM 1137 as Casa Noble and aged in a similar manned but sold under a different label and bottle. It really built off the repo’s but with each of the dark chocolate and toffee notes really being blown out. Some could say its too aromatic like perfume or too sweet but there’s no doubt it’s more of a dessert tequila and would be perfect for first time tequila drinkers. Because we thought it to be a little too sweet we gave it a 4 outta 5

We took a short break to refill waters, polish off the rest of that guacamole and pico and prepare the next meal in order to move onto Casa Noble’s 2 year aged Anejo in its opulent translucent purple bottle. Great color choice CN! it oozes luxury, ohh and it smells luxurious too. I paired the anejo with the roquefort filet mignon hoping the meal would work together with the anejo since both have a series of complex flavors, textures and smell. I opened the bottle of CN Anejo while i was preparing the dish and we made our pours before we ate to allow ample time for them to breath as well as being able to smell from during eating. The steak was good enough to convince a “grill man” to saute filet’s in butter instead of charing them on the grill. We sipped and smelled the Anejo, comparing it to the Amate Repo with its sweet profile and heavy notes of freshly cracked dark chocolate, you know that chalkiness that the really dark chocolate has? Yeah this smells like that in a bottle but its not at all like drinking chocolate. Here the cloves and spice really stood out and showcasing the skill and craft of the distillers there is still that lovely sweet agave. All around the table we agreed the Repo’s were better balanced and at $10 bucks cheaper a bottle would be purchased before the anejo but thats definitely not an insult to its quality. This is superb juice and in a family of ivy leaguers, it’s tough to stand out. 4 outta 5

We had some tequila for dessert now it was time to break out the real dessert. I made 2 batches of truffles made with Anejo in both dark and milk chocolate. The dark had a slight bit of lime to it and the milk had some orange rind. They were dusted in cocoa which were then scarfed down before the hit the table. This is the crowd I run with. As I was preparing them I pulled out the ringer, a bottle of Casa Noble’s 7 year single barrel anejo. This is a special bottle exclusive to Park Avenue Liquors in NYC. It’s one of 300 bottles (we have bottle 195) that all come from barrel number 73. As if the juice wasn’t special enough, the bottle is exquisite black ceramic thats hand-painted with silver details and signed by the master distillers and numbered for barrel number, age and bottle number. These bottles are gone for good, Park Avenue sold their last bottles earlier this week.

We ate the truffles while letting that wonderfully dark copper juice breath. The color was out of this world, I cant say any of us have seen a liquor of this stature. Ohh those truffles that were about forgotten with the presence of this amazing juice. They were phenomenal. Everyone thought the dark truffle was where it was going to be at but the milk chocolate surprised everyone. Look for the recipes soon on these. The 7 year was incredible. It was similar to the 2 year but slightly more mellow and with a touch of wood. Its very soft on the pallet with a silky finish that has the slightest of heat to it. Its intricate enough that it lets you know your still drinking tequila without it being a over-oaked wood fest which really shows the quality of Casa Noble’s process and distillers. They could bottle this as perfume/cologne and members of the opposite sex wouldn’t be able to resist. 5 outta 5 on the 7 year.

So there you have it, easily the largest post ever done (took about 2 hours to write) and the most intense tasting/ food prep menu I’ve ever done but it was a great success. Our guests were floored, everything went off without a hitch, the food was great, and the juice was phenomenal. We will definitely be doing more of these as funds and time allow. There was talk of a Herradura night since my wife and one of our guests are certified Casa Herradura whores. We also talked of doing another tasting but going to a horizontal flight of one expression, say blanco’s from the highlands. I don’t know if we’ll match the detail of tonight but it surely will be remembered.

A special thanks to Dave Yan, Marketing Director for Casa Noble for helping with the menu and our guests for making the evening truly special. To Casa Noble for bottling crack and secretly selling it as Tequila and my wife for helping prep the house and meals. Because of the size of this post, look for the truffle, guacamole, salsa and other recipes in the next few days.


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