Diamante Cristalino. Photo courtesy of Penta Tequila
Have time on your hands? As we continue our prolonged home stays, most of us do. Why not use this interruption of our regular daily lives to learn a new skill or become a self-taught expert on a favored topic? If one of your favored topics is tequila, keep reading. The founders of Napa Valley’s Penta Tequila offer some advice on how to increase your tequila knowledge.
Created by five longtime Napa Valley winemakers (Steve Reynolds, Mark Davidowski, Shawn Guttersen, Ron Davidowski, and Sean Thomas) who share a passion for tequila, Penta offers a line of three ultra-premium, 100% blue agave tequilas blended from all five of Mexico’s designation of origin (DOT) states. Marrying traditional winemaking techniques (such as taking a terroir-driven approach to sourcing the best quality agave and using champagne yeasts for fermentation) with time honored tequila making practices, Penta Añejo ($150), Reposado ($125), and Diamante Cristalino ($100) offer the best of both the winemaking and the spirits world. Each features flavors and aromas of fragrant vanilla, rich caramel, and roasted brown sugar, interwoven with cooked agave, intoxicating floral notes, a spritz of fresh citrus, and the subtle scent of spicey soil – the incredible result of master distillers combining five layers of flavor never before blended together.
Photo courtesy of Penta Tequila
According to Penta founding member Steve Reynolds, the following can help every aspiring tequila aficionado in learning more about this alluring spirit:
1. Open up a map and brush up on your geography skills: “Any aspiring tequila enthusiast should look at a map of Mexico. Try to understand the different regions, which will in turn help you understand where the specific flavors come from. With some of these learnings under your belt, you may find that you have a newfound appreciation for all things agave.”
2. Read up on all things agave: “There are some excellent books out there for those looking to learn more about tequila and its history. I recommend ‘How the Gringos Stole Tequila’ by Chantal Martineau, and if you prefer something more visual, ‘The Spirit of Tequila’ is full of beautiful photos by Joel Salcido.”
Agave fields. Photo courtesy of Penta Tequila
3. Invest in quality glassware: “For me, the standard glass doesn’t do enough to concentrate the aromas and flavors of tequila. I prefer it straight from the fridge into a flute, Stolzle Saki glass, or a small wine glass.”
4. Stream a documentary while you sip: “A film that will help you understand the magic and history behind the spirit is Agave: The Spirit of Nation, which I had the honor to co-produce with Digital Cave Media. The documentary explores how the agave plant has long carried the weight of a culture and highlights those trying to protect it.”
5. Last but certainly not least, invest in a great bottle of tequila: “Penta Diamante Cristalino is the perfect expression for a burgeoning tequila enthusiast. This style of tequila is made using the same process as an Añejo or Reposado, then charcoal-filtered to remove the color and wood notes while leaving behind rich, complex flavors and texture. I’m also a fan of Don Julio 70 and Herradura products–specifically the Reposado and Ultra, which offer great quality for the price point.”
Penta Añejo. Photo courtesy of Penta Tequila