Local distiller Frank Léal earns Gold at 2007 Spirits of Mexico Tequila Competition in San Diego, California
Hollister, CA - Tequila 5150, a last minute entry to the 5th annual Spirits of Mexico Tequila Competition, walked away with three awards from the event. Sixty-one Tequila and Mezcal entries were judged by industry professionals like Wilfred Wong of Beverages & More. Tequila 5150 Blanco and Añejo both received Gold medals, and the Reposado earned Silver.
The competition was sponsored by the Polished Palate, an event company who is the first and only company to be endorsed and sanctioned by the esteemed Academia Mexicana del Tequila. The Spirits of Mexico Competition was held September 13th at the Hacienda Hotel in old town San Diego.
Tequila 5150 is the creation of Frank Léal, owner and winemaker of Léal Vineyards, a winery he built from scratch a the young age of 28 after selling his construction business. Conquering the challenges of the ever traditional and sometimes finicky wine business empowered Léal for yet a new endeavor.
As with wine, léal had a fondness for great tequilas. He wondered if he could take his experience as a winemaker, use some of the same non-traditional techniques, and produce tequila. And so the journey started. Thanks to some friends in Jalisco, Mexico, Léal made the right connections and began making his own Tequila-his way.
Léal approached this new adventure with an open mind and decided to make the Tequila using what seemed like a logical method, not just adhering to the way it’s always been done. Starting with the harvest, mashing the pinas with one molino instead of the traditional practice of 3 or 4 molinos at a time, helped reduce the astringent flavors. Then, he insisted on a slow and steady fermentation before distillation. He threw away most of the heads and tails of the distillation, keeping the desirable center cuts. Using the center cut diminishes the amount of impurities which, for the consumer, means almost no hangovers! The result, a clean-cooked and clean-tasting tequila.
Lastly, Léal shipped over hundreds of re-toasted oak wine barrels for aging. The toasted oak makes a huge difference, imparting smooth, toasty, vanilla flavors on the Tequila. Léal says, "my goal is to appeal to both Tequila connoisseurs and the american palate in general, by offering a style of spirit (and wine) that has a great nose, a sexy and soft mouthfeel, followed by a rounded finish. I rest easily knowing I have accomplished that goal with this release of my first Tequila, Tequila 5150."