Pagapu, Dando Gracias a Pachamama

peruvian pisco, pisco, piscologia, pachamama

Cada año en el mes de agosto, en una noche de luna nueva, el mismo ritual se repite, Don Lucho, el chaman del pueblo es convocado un día martes o jueves para realizar el “pagapu” o pago a la tierra.

A la media noche, Don Lucho nos acompaña a recorrer el viñedo, rezando calladamente antiguas oraciones que aprendió de sus mayores. Él quema incienso y palo santo para purificar la viña, agradeciendo a Pachamama o madre tierra por su generosidad al permitir una abundante cosecha y pidiendo para el año siguiente que los frutos de la uva se conviertan en pisco para nuestro deleite.

Al terminar la ceremonia, don Lucho pide permiso a los apus o cerros tutelares para abrir el vientre de la tierra y entregar sus ofrendas. Así, con una pequeña lampa ceremonial, en el lugar más alto de la viña, cava un agujero en la tierra y entrega respetuosamente sus presentes: hojas de coca, una botella de pisco,  golosinas y tabaco para devolver a la tierra lo que ella nos entregó y que también se alimente.

Las ofrendas brindadas son cuidadosamente cubiertas con tierra y finalmente una pequeña cruz de madera adornada con flores es colocada sobre este entierro simbólico. Año tras año con amor, dedicación y respeto a la tierra, así se produce PiscoLogía.

Mai Nikkei Tai – El Mai Tai Peruano

mai tai, nikkei cocktail, pisco cocktail, piscologia

La gastronomía peruana se enriqueció inmensamente con la llegada de inmigrantes japoneses al Perú a fines del siglo 19. Se desarrolló la cultura Nikkei, que es la fusión de las culturas peruanas y japonesas, cuyo principal representante fue la comida Nikkei. Aparecieron nuevos ingredientes como el kion (jengibre), sillao, (salsa de soja), wasabi y pescados y mariscos crudos en la cocina peruana, creando platos exquisitos como el tiradito, pulpo al olivo y el sushi acevichado.

En su coctel Mai Nikkei Tai, Kami modificó la receta tradicional del Mai Tai para celebrar este movimiento culinario. Un toque de kion y sésamo representan lo Nikkei y el pisco quebranta reemplaza el ron, creando una mezcla perfecta de sabores japoneses y peruanos. El resultado es un coctel delicioso y sumamente peruano.

Mai Nikkei Tai 

  • 2 onzas PiscoLogía Pisco Quebranta 
  • .5 onza Jerez Fino
  • .25 onza jarabe de Orgeat de sésamo
  • .25 onza  jarabe de kion (muy concentrado)
  • .75 onza  zumo de limón

Agita y cuela sobre hielo. Adorna con menta, limón y fruta de temporada.

Fuente:

Walhout, Hannah. “How Japanese Immigrants Shaped Peruvian Food.” Food & Wine, 17 Apr. 2019, www.foodandwine.com/chefs/nikkei-peruvian-japanese-food.

Pachamama, Giving Thanks

In conjunction with careful viticulture, Nati uses a spiritual practice to ensure a plentiful harvest: giving thanks to Pachamama, the Mother Earth of the Incas. The indigenous people of Peru pray, give thanks and offer sacrifices to Pachamama in exchange for a successful harvest.  It is believed this powerful deity sustains life because She presides over planting and harvesting.

There are many ways to honor Pachamama. Our first blog post described Pagapu, when Azpitia’s shaman, Don Lucho, gives thanks to Pachamama in PiscoLogía’s vineyards. Many people across Peru complete this ritual every August when there is a new moon. This takes place before sowing season and during the coldest month, when crops are most vulnerable to nature’s volatility.

People also give thanks to Pachamama on a daily basis. This display of gratitude can be manifested through introspective prayer or in social settings. In the Andes it is a common practice to appease Pachamama before drinking chicha, a fermented corn beverage. The Peruvian Mother Earth receives the first sip when chicha is poured on the ground. After the chicha soaks into the earth, the offering is complete.  

Through her ritual of giving thanks to Pachamama, Nati reinforces the importance of being grateful, not only for a successful PiscoLogía harvest, but for every aspect of our business. Now we frequently stop and give thanks, conjuring the spiritual guidance of Pachamama to help forge our path to the future.

Sources:

“Pachamama.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 14 June 2019, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pachamama.

“Pagapu • Piscologia.” Piscologia, 3 Nov. 2017, piscologia.com/pagapu-thanks-to-pachamama/.

El Capitán, El Manhattan Peruano

capitan cocktail, manhattan peruano, capitan pisco, piscologia

Hoy presentamos otro coctel clásico peruano, el Capitán. También conocido como el “Manhattan Peruano”, esta mezcla de vermut y pisco representa la fusión de las culturas italianas y peruanas en Perú.

Según John Santa Cruz en ¡Que Pase El Capitán!, el vermut italiano se importó por primera vez al Perú en el año 1859. Sin embargo, no llegó a su cima de popularidad hasta después de la Primera Guerra Mundial, cuando los inmigrantes italianos en Perú empezaron a tomar el vino fortificado con pisco peruano. El trago económico fue nombrado por su precio, 20 Centavos.

Cuando el coctel 20 Centavos se puso popular fuera de los círculos de inmigrantes italianos, su nombre cambió a “Capitán”. En las alturas de los Andes en la ciudad de Puno, los capitanes militares paraban en bares durante sus patrullas en caballo cada noche y pedían el coctel 20 Centavos. Los bármanes les pasaban los tragos a sus clientes uniformados, diciendo: “Para usted, mi Capitán”. El  nombre “Capitán” pronto empezó a usarse, reemplazando el nombre 20 Centavos. Desde entonces, ha sido parte de la cultura coctelera en Perú´.

Nuestra socia Kami creó su versión del Capitán con PiscoLogía Pisco Acholado, vermut seco y vermut dulce:

Capitán Perfecto 

  • 2 onzas PiscoLogía Acholado 
  • 1/2 onza vermut seco
  • 1/2 onza vermut dulce
  • Aceituna negra envuelta en nori

Mezclar todo. Servir con la guarnición de aceituna con nori.

Fuente:

Santa Cruz, John. “¡Qué Pase El Capitán! Crónicas Desde Perú .” Gastronomía Alternativa, www.gastronomiaalternativa.com/ga-23_19-que-pase-el-capitan.html.

Mai Nikkei Tai, Peruvian Mai Tai

mai tai, nikkei,

The influx of Japanese immigrants to Peru at the end of the 19th century greatly enhanced Peruvian cuisine through the development of Nikkei, the fusion of Peruvian and Japanese food. New ingredients such as ginger, soy, wasabi and raw fish and seafood slowly assimilated into Peruvian cuisine, eventually creating delectable dishes such as tiradito, pulpo al olivo and acevichado sushi.

In her Mai Nikkei Tai, Kami twisted the traditional Mai Tai recipe to nod to this culinary movement. A touch of ginger and sesame represent the Nikkei and Quebranta pisco replaces rum, embodying a delicious blend of Japanese and Peruvian flavors. The result is a truly Peruvian cocktail.

Mai Nikkei Tai 

  • 2 oz PiscoLogía Pisco Quebranta 
  • .5 oz Fino sherry 
  • .25 oz Sesame Orgeat 
  • .25 oz (strong brewed) ginger syrup
  • .75 oz fresh lime juice 

Shake & strain over ice

Garnish with mint bouquet, lime & seasonal fruit 

Source:

Walhout, Hannah. “How Japanese Immigrants Shaped Peruvian Food.” Food & Wine, 17 Apr. 2019, www.foodandwine.com/chefs/nikkei-peruvian-japanese-food.

Following the etymological trail of pisco

meaning of the word pisco

The word “pisco” and its many variations (pisku, pisccu, phishgo, pichiu etc.) have been documented in Peru for almost 5 centuries. We have summarized the research of historian Gonzalo Gutiérrez in this blog post, following the evolution of the word since its first inscription to its current connotation: the clear brandy we drink today.

Quechua Word For Bird

The Incas had no formal written language; instead they used knotted strings known as khipu. Consequently, the Quechua word “pisco” (bird) wasn’t recorded in Peru until the arrival of the Spaniards. Here are two of the first references to winged creatures:

«Piscos […] that is the name of birds […]». Pedro Cieza de León, Crónica General del Perú.

«There are some small birds […] they call them Pichiu […]»  Garcilaso de la Vega, Comentarios Reales.

Quechua speakers in the Andes still describe birds using different forms of the word “pisco”. “Pichinko” (sparrow) and “piscala” (bird) are two examples. In addition to associations with avifauna, the word has acquired many other meanings over the years.

Geographical Region

Because of the sheer quantity of birds that populated the coastal waters near Ica, people began to call the entire area “Pisco”. The earliest evidence of this is a map of Peru drafted in 1574 by geographer Diego Méndez, where the port of Pisco is clearly delineated. However, it would take more than 300 years for the province and capitol of Pisco to be officially created in 1900.

Pisko People and Clay Vessels

The people who lived in the geographical area of Pisco were also called “piskos”. They transported chicha and other alcoholic beverages in clay pots (seen below). Over time, the vessels also took the name “piscos”. To this day, some producers use these pots to age their pisco.

clay pots, piscos, tinajas, traditional pisco method

The Spaniards started distilling wine in Peru at the end of the 16th century/early 17th century, but the clear brandy wasn’t called “pisco” for quite some time. According to Mr. Gutiérrez, the oldest documentation of brandy production seems to be from 1613, in a will of a man named Pedro Manuel. Among the deceased’s possessions were several containers of aguardiente (brandy). This proves that brandy production had started in Peru. However, the first reference to “pisco” as a brandy didn’t appear until 137 years later.

Pisco As Brandy

In “El pisco, la primera referencia a su nombre”, Gonzalo Gutiérrez presents what is believed to be the first association of pisco as a clear brandy. In a legal document from Lima dated in 1729, containers of “aguardiente de pisco” were the source of a dispute between two parties. This legal document would mark the new nomenclature for the clear brandy we use today.

pisco peruano, peruvian pisco

Credit: Gonzalo Gutiérrez

 

Since 1750, there have been thousands of documentations of the word “pisco”. Here are two examples:

Pisco […]  is so good and much stronger than Cognac” Jullien Mellet, Voyages dans l ‘interieur de la Amérique Meridianale, 1808- 1820.

Pisco Punch is “compounded of the shavings of cherub’s wings, the glory of a tropical dawn, the red clouds of sunset and the fragments of lost epics by dead masters.” Rudyard Kipling, From Sea to Sea.

The name “pisco” has had many connotations over the course of 5 centuries. Chronicling the etymological trail of the word leads us through an interesting historical journey in Peru, starting with Pre-Colombian tribes and ending in present day with our favorite clear brandy.

 

Sources:

Cieza de León, Pedro. Crónica General del Perú, 1550.

Garcilaso de la Vega, Comentarios Reales, chapter XX, 1609.

Gutiérrez, Gonzalo. El Pisco, denominación de origen peruana. 19th ed., vol. 10, Agenda Internacional, 2003, pp. 245–298.

Gutiérrez Gonzalo. El Pisco, La Primera Referencia a Su Nombre. 2020.

Kipling, Rudyard. From Sea to Sea: In Two Volumes. Tauchnitz, 1900.

Mellet, Jullien. Voyages dans l ‘interieur de la Amérique Meridianale, 1808- 1820, 1824.

“Quechua.” MustGo.com, www.mustgo.com/worldlanguages/quechua/.

 

PiscoLogía Pisco Quebranta Tech Sheet

A RICH PERUVIAN TRADITION

Artisanal production. Estate grown in Azpitia. Terroir driven.

Our vineyards are located on the northern precipice of the lush Mala River Valley, a short distance from where the Mala River meets the Pacific Ocean. This proximity to the sea means the grapes are nourished year-round by a certain level of salinity, adding to their complexity. Our Pisco Quebranta has aromas of grass, herbs, and sweet caramelized banana with hints of toasted almonds, pecans and tart green apples.

GRAPE USED: 100% estate-grown Quebranta

PROCESSING: Grapes are harvested from estate vineyards, first pressed traditionally by foot, then with an automated press without the seeds.

FERMENTATION: The freshly pressed grape juice drops directly into a cement well where the wild fermentation begins. Contact with the grape skins (approximately 24 hours) and vintage yeast strains jump-start fermentation. Once active, fermentation completes its cycle in neutral vats.

STILL TYPE: Copper Pot Still

STILL SIZE: 300 Liters; direct flame heated

DISTILLER: Nati Gordillo

DISTILLATION: Single (Peruvian Pisco must be distilled to proof)

ALCOHOL: 42.0 %

FORMAT: 750 ml

COUNTRY: Peru

REGION: Lima

SUB-REGION: Azpitia, “Mala” River Valley

Capitán Cocktail, the Peruvian Manhattan

capitan cocktail, pisco, pisco cocktail, peruvian manhattan

Today we present to you another classic Peruvian cocktail, the Capitán. Also known as the “Manhattan Peruano”, this mix of vermouth and pisco represents the fusion of Peruvian and Italian cultures in Peru.

According to “¡Que pase el Capitán!”, vermouth was first imported to Peru from Italy in the year 1859. However, its popularity peaked after WW1 when Italian immigrants in Lima started consuming the botanical fortified wine with Peruvian pisco. The economical cocktail was named after its price, “20 centavos” (20 cents).  

When the 20 centavos’ popularity spread beyond the circles of Italian immigrants, its name evolved to Capitán. High in the Andes of Peru in the city of Puno, military captains used to stop in bars during their nightly patrols on horseback and order the 20 centavos cocktail. The bartenders would pass the drink to their uniformed customers saying, “For you, my Captain” (“Capitán” in Spanish). The name “Capitán” soon caught on and has been a part of Peruvian cocktail culture ever since.

Now you can now ponder that bit of history while savoring Kami’s version of the Capitán with PiscoLogía Pisco Acholado and sweet & dry vermouth.

 

Capitán Perfecto 

  • 2 oz Pisco Acholado 
  • 1/2 oz. Dry Vermouth 
  • 1/2 oz. Sweet Vermouth 
  • Nori Wrapped Kalamata Olive 

Stirred, served up 

Source:

Santa Cruz, John. “¡Qué Pase El Capitán! Crónicas Desde Perú .” Gastronomía Alternativa, www.gastronomiaalternativa.com/ga-23_19-que-pase-el-capitan.html.

A sommelier talks Peruvian Pisco: Part 3

pisco, piscologia, pisco grapes

This is part 3 of a series of interviews with Fernando Gonzales-Lattini, a sommelier specialized in pisco, vigneron and producer of premium wine in the Peruvian Andes.

You are interested in terroir and how it affects a wine. What can you say about the terroir at Azpitia?  

“Azpitia is interesting because it has sandy soils that can be extremely challenging for viticulture. Nati does an excellent job of working with the conditions there to grow high quality grapes. PiscoLogía’s vineyards in the Mala Valley are at a higher altitude and they are strategically located to allow them to be cooled by the Pacific Ocean breeze. This effect gives the grapes more concentrated flavors and better acidity. Higher quality grapes make a better quality wine, which in turn, makes a better pisco.

I also appreciate Azpitia because it is a very small production region. There are maybe 100 hectares maximum of small farms. That small size, in addition to its unique terroir, makes the pisco crafted there even more rare and special.”

 

You have observed Nati during production and you have tasted her pisco. What can you say about Nati as a professional?  

“I admire Nati for many reasons. First, she is so meticulous in her viticulture practices. In the winemaking world, everyone knows that to make a good wine, you must start in the vineyards. Only high-quality grapes can make a good wine. In the case of pisco, distillation is just one step further in the process. That means the way you care for your grapes translates directly into your pisco. Many pisco producers in Peru buy grapes, but PiscoLogía is made from 100% estate-grown grapes. That allows for Nati to have strict quality control throughout the entire process.

I also like how Nati adheres to tradition and she strictly follows the Denomination of Origin. By demanding a high quality product and never compromising her standards, she is setting the bar for other producers in all of Peru. 

Finally, Nati and her team hand select every grape that goes into every bottle of pisco. They also use selective pressing techniques to maximize each grape, but without adding bitterness from the seeds. Nothing is arbitrary in her process. The methodical steps she takes really shine through in the final result- a pisco of Premier Grand Cru quality.”