The Avión tequila that Turtle peddles on this season of Entourage is not only real, it's coming to Houston.
The high-end brand launched in July on both coasts, but had no plans to expand outside of New York and California until 2011. Entourage changed all that after the show's creator, Doug Elin, a childhood friend of Avión founder Kenny Dichter, wove the brand into Salvatore "Turtle" Assante's storyline. The tequila was quickly available in New Jersey and Florida and will hit Texas distributors this Friday, with six more states to follow.
I stopped by for a lunchtime tasting on the pool deck of the Magnolia Hotel and chatted with Tequila Avión president Jenna Fagnan over three varietals. I'm a regular tequila drinker, but I'm not always privy to the best stuff. I knew it was a good product when I loved it lukewarm — and lime-less.
It's distilled in one of the highest points in Jalisco by a master distiller using a slow-drip filtration technique (about 10 times slower than traditional filtration) that takes out the burn but leaves the Agave flavor. The Blue Weber Agaves used are also slow-roasted in brick ovens under low temps, rather than en masse.
Avión offers a Silver, a six-month aged Reposado and a two-year aged Añejo which retail for around $45, $50 and $55, respectively. Surprisingly, it's the bolder Reposado and Añejo which sold out — a testament to a quality that converts non-aficianados.
But it was the bottle design that won me over. With bartenders in mind, the heavy glass has indented grips on either side and a longer neck than other tequila bottles for easy grabbing. Each bottle is hand-labeled, signed and numbered by the distiller.
"The Truck," as Fagnan refers to the shipment destined just for Texas, will hit local distributors Friday. Check back with CultureMap for a list of Houston restaurants and bars where you can try Avión — and bring an entourage.