Steve Reynolds, partner, firstname.lastname@example.org and Joe Pat Clayton, National Sales Director, email@example.com
Blending the Art of Winemaking into a Prestige Tequila
The Beginning: From Grape to Agave
Penta Tequila captures the terroir-driven magic typically associated with wine, combines it with centuries of agave-based spirit history, and funnels it into a prestige tequila. A uniquely crafted, small batch tequila, Penta is inspired by blending the art of winemaking with the history of traditional tequila making methods. What started as a celebratory toast to kick off each wine dinner by Steve Reynolds, winemaker at Reynolds Family Winery in Napa, CA, grew into the passion that produced Penta Tequila. Executive Producer of Agave: Spirit of a Nation, Reynolds joined forces with four equally tequila-obsessed friends in Napa’s wine business to create this elegant range of three ultra-premium tequilas as a way to honor Mexico and its people.
Named for the Greek word for “five,” Penta is a 100% blue agave tequila encompassing the distinct characteristics of each of Mexico’s five legally protected designation of origin states for tequila production: Jalisco, Guanajuato, Michoacán, Nayarit, and Tamaulipas. The agave is primarily sourced from Jalisco’s highland, while flavors from the other four states are layered in to add spice and complexity. A sipping tequila representing agave sourced from the finest fields and blended for purity and balance, the portfolio includes Penta Diamanté Reposado Cristalino, Penta Reposado, and Penta Añejo. Roughly 2,000 six-bottle-cases of each expression were produced in the initial run, and the brand is currently available in 20 states including California, Nevada, Florida, New York, Arizona and Texas, with more markets soon to be announced.
Production and Blending
The Penta partners formed in 2015 motivated by their curiosity to apply blending and fermentation skills developed in the winemaking process to tequila production. They turned to the Aceves brothers of Casa Aceves, who are highly regarded in the tequila industry to consult on using these traditional winemaking techniques, not typically used in the tequila making process. With their guidance, the Penta team found and connected with Master Distiller Ana Maria Romero to help identify the best agave, oversee the first tequila runs and help guide them to their signature flavor profile.
“It is a common belief that the best impression left on a wine is footprints in the vineyard,” says Reynolds. “This was the same approach we took when harvesting agave plants for Penta.” The Penta team researched the impact of soil, areas, exposures, flavors, age, weight and harvest season to discover “the best” agave, which are never grown with pesticides or foreign fertilizers. After considering the flavors from the agave’s skin, meat and heart, the production team carefully harvests the agave by removing most of the green herbal elements such as the skin and core from the piña and keeping only the premium heart of the agave to capitalize on its natural, non-herbaceous characteristics.
The piña is then mechanically crushed and shredded instead of pressed, to avoid extra cellulous fibers that produce methanol, for a naturally smoother spirit. Next, it is cooked slowly (longer than typical in tequila production) and mixed with pure highland well water to release more phenols to infuse into the distillate. Produced with a combination of champagne and tequila yeasts in closed-top fermentation, Penta Tequila is double in stainless steel with copper cooling columns to produce a smoother, deeper finish in the initial stages of fermentation. “Fermentation was always an area of focus for the Penta partners when producing wine, which is the reason for diving deep into yeast experimentation,” says Reynolds. “This led to utilizing champagne yeast combined with tequila yeasts, resulting in a more complex flavor profile and texture in the finished spirit. Additionally, beyond fermentation and aging, we use aeration stabilization and cut the additives in nearly all aspects of our production.”
Finally, the spirit is aged in American, Hungarian and (mostly) French casks, with an emphasis on mixing new barrels with those aged up to 30 years to dial in complex and layered flavors in blending, similar to wine, and frame the pure agave flavors. Numerous barrel trials were conducted with producers in Napa, including Chardonnay and a variety of other wine barrels, before ultimately landing on custom building their own barrels. In addition, for our Cristalino program, nearly 300 charcoal varieties were tested before selecting 4 varieties to gravity-filter the spirit to remove impurities, color, tannin, and unwanted ethanol. This process utilizing loose charcoal over a multi-week period is similar to a French press coffee, where the charcoal is slowly lowered through the tequila, gently absorbing color, impurities, etc. By layering flavors from five different regions, two different yeasts, and wood from three countries, Penta can achieve its signature fresh agave, rich caramel, roasted brown sugar and tropical floral notes. It is this blending process that creates layers of flavor by mixing all of the different components in exactingly developed quantities.
Penta Tequila’s Partners
Penta Tequila’s partners met about 20 years ago in Napa Valley. The team includes Steve Reynolds, a Napa winemaker for Reynolds Family Winery; Shawn Guttersen, founder of Freedom Estate Wine; Ron Davidowski, founder of Vangone Vineyards, a Napa vineyard growing Bordeaux varietal grapes and previous owner of Meritage Wine Market; Mark Davidowski, owner of Vangone Estate and founder of Meritage Wine Market; and Sean Thomas, founder of Thomas Knoll Winery, a Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon producer. Inspired by the five noble grapes, the five vintners each bring a different perspective to the evolution of Penta and have taken a leading role in various parts of its creation. Thus, achieving their dream of a tequila that honored the history and tradition of agave spirits while elevating its complexity and elegance.
Penta Tequila Facts
- Penta Tequila is first and only Tequila to utilize mature agave from all 5 states of Tequila production. Produced at NOM 1499 at Casa Tequileria de Arandas.
- Penta is the first to utilize champagne yeast in Tequila fermentation.
- Penta utilizes an average of over 40 types of barrels for it’s aging program, showcasing French, American and Hungarian Oak barrels all coopered in Napa. All previously used barrels come from our partner’s wine programs. We know where and how our barrels have been used since they were produced. Definitely one of the most complex barrel regimens in Tequila production.
- Penta Tequila is a true small batch production with approximately 2,000 6pk cases produced per expression batch. Each expression is produced independently per our recipes.
- Agaves are trimmed and the cores removed, leaving the true sweet parts of the piñas to naturally reduce methanol. Slow cooking methods such as traditional brick ovens and autoclave at low pressure, low temperature and longer times to draw out more subtle notes and maximize complexity.
Penta Diamanté Reposado Cristalino (ABV: 40%, .750ml, SRP: $100)
Penta Diamanté Reposado Cristalino is aged for 7 months in oak barrels and filtered with charcoal to remove the barrel-aged color, producing a tequila that boasts the personality of a reposado with a unique brightness and character. The nose presents fragrant hibiscus and vanilla with fresh agave and subtle jicama. The palate is rich and creamy with a smooth marzapan essence and a long, persistent finish with fresh and cooked agave, guava and coconut.
(ABV: 40%, .750ml, SRP: $135)
Penta Reposado is aged for 9 months in a combination of barrels to develop a richer sipping style and to extract the characteristics and flavors of the agave, rounding it out through the barrel aging process. Presenting a soft, golden amber color and on the nose, floral notes and bright citrus layered over vanilla, caramel and roasted brown sugar. On the palate, the tequila is mellow and velvety with a smooth texture with a long and rich finish.
(ABV: 40%, .750ml, SRP: $175)
Aged for an average of 14 months in a combination of new and seasoned Hungarian, French and American oak barrels, Penta Añejo morphs into a darker and balanced spirit that epitomizes harmony and refinement. The deep golden-brown amber tequila offers Mexican vanilla, molasses, roasted brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg on the nose. The palate is rich, creamy and extra smooth with a long finish that coats the mouth.
Penta will be releasing two new expressions in 2023: Blanco and 6 yr Extra Añejo. These exciting new offerings will offer an unparalleled experience in their categories, The Blanco will offer a true agave enthusiast’s desire for fresh agave with a complex and elegant mouthfeel and finish. Excellent to blend in cocktails or as a stand alone sipping experience. Our highly anticipated 6 yr Extra Añejo is a true connoisseur’s dream XA, offering an abundant of rich caramelized agave notes with distinguished and balanced barrel flavors. With an incredible, modern packaging design and a beautiful aged Tequila with depths of flavor and mouthfeel, this very limited bottling will be highly sought after in the world of Tequila.
The Penta packaging was created by Temple of Brands in Guadalajara, Mexico with the vision to express the connection and reverence to the traditions of Tequilian Mexico. The five bars at the bottom of the logo represent the five legally protected designation of origin states for tequila production, supporting five circles that represent barrels and the five Penta Tequila partners. The cross at the top represents the “Holy Grail” and the paths of the partners crossing to reach the pinnacle of tequila creation.
For more information about Penta Tequila, please visit www.pentatequila.com and follow @Penta_Tequila on Instagram and Facebook.