Best of the Best 2011: Spirits: Charbay Brandy No. 83

By law, cognac must be made in the Cognac region of France, but brandy can be produced anywhere—even in Ukiah, Calif., where 12th-generation distiller Miles Kara­kasevic makes an unusually complex version of this grape-based spirit. After graduating from the University of Belgrade in Serbia, where he studied enology and viticulture, and working at numerous California wineries, the Yugoslavian-born entrepreneur acquired an alambic charentais pot still and established Charbay distillery in 1983. Brandy is typically single distilled, but Karakasevic’s first effort in California was double distilled from Folle Blanche wine. He aged the eau-de-vie in French oak barrels for the next 27 years. On November 8, 2010, the distiller finally bottled Charbay Brandy No. 83 (www.charbay.com, $350 per 750 ml; $185 per 375 ml)—named for the year it was distilled—at a gentle 80 proof. Extremely limited in quantity, his artisan brandy is a velvet tapestry of cherry, chocolate, citrus, and marzipan, with a hint of walnut on the finish.

Read Next Article >>
The lots from the private auction become available through the retailers and restaurateurs bidding…
More than 60 exclusive treasures and experiences will cross the block…
Photo by Paul Dimalanta
At the Judgment of Paris in 1976, a bottle of Chardonnay from the Napa Valley’s Chateau Montelena...
As prices for rare Cubans rise, it is getting harder to put a match to the most collectible cigars...
Packshot Factory
Back by popular demand, Supernova is one of the most robust single malts ever produced...
After 22 years of aging, the second installment of the 1992 vintage has reached full maturity…
Now in its 15th year, the wine- and food-filled festival has raised more than $123 million for...
Photo by Cordero Studios
The Arturo Fuente 100th Anniversary Destino Siglo ($416–$520; www.cigar​family.com) is aptly...
Earthy mushrooms, both pungent and delicate, will enhance every sip of these Cabernet Sauvignons,...
HIGHLAND PARK DISTILLERY Highland Park is made today with the same enduring belief and integrity,...