Is Pisco Peruvian or Chilean?

pisco peruano, piscologia, Peruvian pisco, what is pisco, is pisco peruvian or chilean, craft pisco, how to make pisco

 

Is Pisco Peruvian or Chilean? This question is the subject of an ongoing debate between Peru and Chile. Based on historical and etymological evidence that the first pisco was produced in Peru and because of Peru’s rich history of pisco production, we believe pisco is essentially Peruvian.

However, the objective answer to the question is: legally, pisco is both Peruvian and Chilean; both countries call their grape brandy “pisco” and both have a protected Denomination of Origin for pisco. But despite the shared name, they are very different products. Here’s a quick refresher:

  • Peruvian pisco is single-distilled to proof and nothing is added, not even water. Chilean pisco is distilled more than once and then watered down to a desired proof.
  • Peruvian pisco is aged in neutral casks and is therefore clear, while Chilean pisco is caramel colored because it’s aged in barrels.
  • Peruvian pisco is made from one or a blend of the 8 pisco-grapes grown on the coast of Peru in any of 5 the pisco-producing departments of the country. Chilean pisco is typically made from the Muscat grape (but sometimes Torontel or Pedro Jimenez grapes) in either of the country’s two pisco-producing regions, Atacama and Coquimbo.
  • Because of the differences in their distillation methods, their aging processes, and the grapes used, the final products have aromas and flavors that are very distinctive.

 

Peru and Chile have been vying for the exclusive rights to the D.O. for pisco for years. So, what’s the status of the heated conflict now? Last month the Chilean Minister of Agriculture, Antonio Walker, met with Rogers Valencia, the Minister of Culture of Peru. Mr. Walker requested that Peru recognize Chile’s D.O. to avoid clashes between Peruvian and Chilean pisco in international markets. The Peruvian minister declined. He explained that a denomination of origin cannot be shared outside its designated region because that defeats the purpose of protecting a product within a geographical area. According to the D.O. in Peru, pisco must be produced on the coast of Lima, Ica, Arequipa, Moquegua and Tacna (only in the valleys of Locumba Locumba, Sama and Caplina). Anything produced outside of those areas (for example, in Chile) cannot be considered pisco.

Peru has made great strides in protecting its D.O. for pisco. It has exclusive rights to the use the word “pisco” in 30 countries, while it shares rights with Chile in 41 countries. Chilean pisco has exclusive rights to pisco in 4 countries, but that is expected to change, as Peru is in the process of negotiating trade deals in those areas (Melgarejo).

In summary, the ongoing conflict over the Denomination of Origin for pisco will most likely continue. At PiscoLogía we are dedicated to educating the consumer about the benefits of Peruvian pisco and following the rules of the D.O. to produce a craft product of unrivaled quality. The responsibility of the D.O. regulators in Peru is to impose the strictest standards from every producer in the country. In the end, the consumers’ demand for high-quality pisco will drive the market, allowing everyone around the world to appreciate the full potential of Peruvian pisco.

 

Source:

 

Melgarejo, Víctor. “Pisco: Perú Alista Otro Triunfo Sobre Chile En La Unión Europea.” Gestion, Gestion, 12 Mar. 2019, gestion.pe/economia/pisco-peru-alista-triunfo-chile-union-europea-261079.

 

 

Salty wine, briny pisco

pisco, peruvian pisco, salinity wine, piscologia, quebranta, acholado, azpitia, pisco descriptors, pisco peruano, vineyard peru

 

 

PiscoLogía was recently described as deliciously briny by a discerning piscophile. We thought that this concept of brininess was interesting, so we set out to find out the origin of these salty undertones. In the end, we discovered more about how the Pacific Ocean breeze affects the flavor of our grapes and the terroir of our vineyards.

 

Many people believe that the salty sea air influences the flavor of grapes (Griffin). The reason for this comes down to simple geography. Vineyards near the coast are exposed to the tiny particles leftover from evaporated ocean spray droplets. Air currents then carry the particles from the sea, dispersing them far and wide. In the case of a vineyard, these salty remnants would fall on grape skins and in the soil (Clarke). Salt on the skins and in the environment in Azpitia would blend into the batch during production, possibly altering the flavor of the wine.

 

We have explained that to make Peruvian pisco, you first start with wine. Since our pisco is distilled only once, many characteristics of the wine are preserved in the final product. A briny, minerally wine will create a pisco with similar descriptors.

 

Our vineyards are only 4 miles from the Pacific Ocean. The ocean breeze that comes off of the coast in the early evening cools our vines while leaving a brackish trail in its path. This salty mist is just like the natural yeasts in our vineyards in Azpitia; they are floating in the air, forming the uniqueness that is our terroir.

 

Sources:

 

Clarke, Shana. “Forget the Fruit, Savor These Salty Wines.” Pastemagazine.com, 26 June 2017, 1:16pm, www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2017/06/forget-the-fruit-savor-these-salty-wines.html.

 

Griffin, Annaliese. “What Do We Mean When We Say a Wine Is Salty?” Quartzy, Quartz, 24 June 2018, qz.com/quartzy/1313189/what-do-we-mean-when-we-say-a-wine-is-salty/.

Aging Peruvian Pisco

In past posts we have discussed various steps of PiscoLogía’s production process, including harvest, fermentation and distillation. So, what else must happen before our pisco is bottled and exported? Like most spirits, pisco must rest before bottling. In fact, the regulations of the Denomination of Origin require that Peruvian pisco sit for at least 3 months in neutral casks so as to not alter its physical, chemical or organoleptic characteristics. This allows the flavors and aromas of pisco to evolve, improving the overall quality of the final product (Consejo).

 

At PiscoLogía, we prefer a maturation period of at least 6 months. If we are lucky, our pisco will sit for a couple of years before we bottle. We believe the longer it sits, the more time the flavors and aromas have to meld. Our master distiller and partner Nati explains the reasoning behind this long maturation period: “pisco aromas are extremely volatile. During the sitting stage, these aromas stabilize and blend with the liquid. The Peruvian Pisco Standard requires a resting period of at least three months, but we have our pisco sit at least 6 months to ensure the best quality product”.

 

When discussing volatility in the context of pisco production, it means that the desired aromas easily evaporate at normal temperatures. That means if a pisco isn’t properly cared for, it will lose all its aromatic qualities. A recently distilled Peruvian pisco should rest in sealed neutral casks in order to prevent evaporation and to allow the aromas to blend with the liquid.

 

In addition to melding aromas, the resting period enhances the flavor of pisco while fading out unwanted nuances caused by impurities. Because of its effect on the flavor and aroma, the resting phase of the production process is crucial in creating a balanced, high-quality craft pisco.

 

Sources:

 

Consejo Regulador de la Denominación de Origen Pisco. “Reglamento De La Denominación De Origen Pisco.” www.indecopi.gob.pe/documents/20195/200722/6+Reglamento_DO-PISCO.pdf/a2259836-69e6-4c8c-b403-f8c3c38f7039.

Pairing your favorite Peruvian food with PiscoLogía

Peruvian pisco is an unaged wine that is distilled one time. We believe single distillation brings out the characteristics of each grape varietal, whereas a double or triple distillation might mask important flavors and aromas.

Because Peruvian pisco is made from wine and it is so aromatic and flavorful, it pairs especially well with food. In this post, we have chosen some of our favorite Peruvian dishes and combined them with signature PiscoLogía cocktails to create a perfect harmony of food and drink. The next time you eat Peruvian cuisine, use this as a guide to enhance your culinary experience. For details about each cocktail recipe, please visit: http://piscologia.com/drink-recipes/.

 

Picarones Doughnuts made from squash and sweet potato. Served with chancaca (molasses) syrup.

Pair with: PiscoLogía Quebranta in a snifter

Paring notes: In this combination, the aromas of caramelized banana of our Quebranta pisco accentuate the sweetness of the molasses syrup.

 

Turrón Doña Pepa This dessert consists of chancaca syrup slathered between buttery layers of anise cookies. It is topped with generous amounts of sprinkles.

Pair with: Clover Club Peruano

Pairing notes: The raspberry undertones of this cocktail complement the fruity chancaca syrup and the sweet, crumbly cookies.

 

Choros a la chalaca Mussels stuffed with spicy peppers, onions, corn and tomato.

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Pair with: Piña Asada Fix

Pairing notes: The combination of sweet and tart in this cocktail cut through the intense flavors of the onion and spicy pepper chalaca salsa.

 

Rocoto relleno- Spicy pepper (rocoto) stuffed with meat, potatoes and vegetables. It is topped with cheese and baked. Usually served with scalloped potatoes.

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Pair with: Pisco Punch

Pairing notes: This limey/pineapple punch is refreshing but hardy, matching the robust flavors of the meat and cheese in this dish.

 

Ceviche- A seafood dish typically made from fresh raw fish cured in lime juice and spiced with chili peppers, chopped onions, salt, and cilantro.

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Pair with: Chilcano

Pairing notes: We think Peru’s most iconic dish should accompany Peru’s most iconic cocktail. The gingery acidic flavor of this cocktail pair beautifully with this spicy citrus dish.

 

Lomo saltado- A fusion of Peruvian/Chinese food. This stir fry dish combines sirloin, spicy peppers, onions, tomatoes and soy sauce.

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Pair with: No Tea, No Shade

Pairing notes: The tannins from the tea and bitterness of the Aperol pair well with the sweet, spicy, savory flavors of this meaty dish.

 

Ají de gallina– A creamy, spicy chicken dish. Ají de gallina is similar to Thai curry, but the Peruvian version uses evaporated milk instead of coconut milk and ají amarillo peppers instead of curry paste.

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Pair with: Pisco sour

Pairing notes: Another quintessential Peruvian dish that is best paired with a truly “Peruvian” cocktail. This creamy dish needs some acidity from the lime juice to create balance, while the foamy egg-white layer matches the velvety texture of the pepper sauce.

 

 

PiscoLogía: The Craft of Batch Distillation

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Our 300L Copper Pot still

 

Fermentation is now complete, which means native yeasts have converted our sugary Quebranta and Italia grape juice to alcohol, leaving us with tanks of unaged wine. Soon Nati will start distilling this wine in our 300L copper pot still. PiscoLogía is made using batch distillation, which allows for greater flexibility and promotes Nati’s artistic expression through pisco-making.

 

There are generally two types of distillation used to create alcoholic beverages: batch and continuous. Continuous distillation is an efficient method of making large quantities of liquor with uniform flavor. On the contrary, batch distillation is more versatile. We believe it allows the consumer to appreciate the true skill of the distiller.

 

In addition, distilling in small quantities allows us to adhere to traditions that have existed for thousands of years. Archaeologists have uncovered the first artifacts associated with batch distillation believed to be dated over a span of 3,000 years from “the end of the fifth millennium BC to the end of the second millennium BC”. (Belgiorno 21). Using a method that has been perfected over the course of several millennia provides us great satisfaction. It also gives us more flexibility to create an artisan product. Every single batch of pisco that we make is unique. Continuous distillation gives you a consistent product, but consistency isn’t something we strive for when crafting our pisco. We want each and every batch to show Nati’s distilling skills, to reflect the terroir of our vineyards and the characteristics of harvest that year.

 

So, how does batch distillation work? Remember, Peruvian pisco is distilled only one time, which means Nati has only one chance to create an exceptional pisco at the desired proof . She first loads our copper pot still with wine made from our estate-grown grapes. The still is then heated until the wine boils at a temperature of 78.4 °C/173.12 °F (This is a lower boiling point than water, so the alcohol evaporates faster than water). The vapors travel up the neck at the top of our still, down the lyne arm and into the condenser, where they cool. As all experienced distillers do, Nati separates methanol and other impurities during this process by removing the initial and final condensed liquid (heads and tails). The final result is a pure, delicious Peruvian pisco.

 

 

 

Sources:

Belgiorno, Maria. “Experimental Archaeology.” BEHIND DISTILLATION EXPERIMENTAL ARCHAEOLOGY , edited by Antonio De Strobel, De Strobel Publisher, 2018.

 

“Pot Still.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 25 Feb. 2019, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pot_still.

PiscoLogia from Harvest to fermentation- A photo journey

 

         Peruvian pisco, quebranta, acholado, how to make pisco, what is pisco, craft pisco, azpitia, types of pisco, harvest        Peruvian pisco, quebranta, acholado, how to make pisco, what is pisco, craft pisco, azpitia, types of pisco, harvest

Brix levels have reached 23° and our grapes have ripened to perfection, thanks to the balmy Peruvian sun. The fruit has an acidity of 3.4PH because of the cooling effect of the evening Pacific Ocean breeze. It’s time for harvest.

 

 

 

Peruvian pisco, quebranta, acholado, how to make pisco, what is pisco, craft pisco, azpitia, types of pisco, harvest

Flor and Samuel, who help care for our grapes, gather their family members in preparation for harvest. With an expected high of 28°C/82° F and humidity of 69% in Azpitia today, it will be sultry. To avoid the heat, we start picking grapes at 5:00AM, when the average temperature is 20°C/68° F.

 

 

 

 

        Peruvian pisco, quebranta, acholado, how to make pisco, what is pisco, craft pisco, azpitia, types of pisco, harvest, piscologia        Peruvian pisco, quebranta, acholado, how to make pisco, what is pisco, craft pisco, azpitia, types of pisco, harvest, piscologia

To maintain tradition, we harvest by hand. That allows us to hand-select each and every grape that goes into our pisco.

 

 

 

Peruvian pisco, quebranta, acholado, how to make pisco, what is pisco, craft pisco, azpitia, types of pisco, harvest, piscologia        Peruvian pisco, quebranta, acholado, how to make pisco, what is pisco, craft pisco, azpitia, types of pisco, harvest, piscologia

The grapes are then destemmed

 

 

 

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and then crushed by foot, in order to extract the juice, but not crush the seeds that could add bitterness to the juice.

 

 

 

Peruvian pisco, quebranta, acholado, how to make pisco, what is pisco, craft pisco, azpitia, types of pisco, harvest, piscologia

A secondary crush then extracts the juice that remains between the flesh and the skin of the grapes.

 

 

 

Peruvian pisco, quebranta, acholado, how to make pisco, what is pisco, craft pisco, azpitia, types of pisco, harvest, piscologia, fermentation

Nati throws some skins back into the juice, just to ensure Azpitia’s natural yeasts are present.

 

 

 

Peruvian pisco, quebranta, acholado, how to make pisco, what is pisco, craft pisco, azpitia, types of pisco, harvest, piscologia, fermentation

In 7 to 10 days, the yeasts work their magic, the juice ferments and the wine is ready for distillation.

What it means to be 100% women-owned

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Forbes Magazine recently highlighted the role of women in the liquor industry in its “Women Running The Liquor World” series. After reading about these inspirational figures and as Women’s History Month approaches, we wanted to reflect on why it matters to be a 100% female-owned company.

Economic Benefits

We have experienced economic benefits that could be attributed to qualities of female business leaders. Studies show that companies owned by women could have 13% higher revenues because they set achievable goals, collaborate better, believe in slower, steadier growth and have excellent time management skills (Parets).

Our growth has increased by 194% in the past year. Although we can’t prove that upward trend was due to our female partnership, we can attest to the fact that Nati, Kami and Meg demonstrate the qualities listed above. As a team, we have set the very ambitious goal of being the most widely distributed craft Peruvian pisco in the USA and beyond. We plan to achieve this together through a series of practical, methodical steps over the next few years.

Expression of Ideas

It has also been shown that women don’t express themselves as freely in the presence of men. In her paper, “Overcoming the Gender Gap: Women Entrepreneurs as Economic Drivers” Lesa Mitchell states: “Men, consciously or not, may act in ways that discourage women from getting involved in high-growth startups or even articulating their ideas as fully as they could” (14). We PiscoLogía partners express our ideas with each other without reproach. This unhindered exchange of ideas was especially important when we formed our new partnership and had to define who we were as a company and what our brand represented. In retrospect, we can now see that our high-quality craft pisco perfectly encapsulates the values of our 3 partners. Not only do we focus on creating the best product possible, but we also treat our workers, clients, and communities with respect and understanding.

Empathy

On the same note, our partners are empathetic to each other. That empathy allows us to value each other’s opinions and needs. Meg McFarland observed: “Nati, Kami and I work well together because we are equally intuitive, nurturing and respectful. I am a mother, Nati is a mother and grandmother and Kami is a very special aunt. The caring relationships we have in our personal lives translate into our business. I believe this understanding has been the key to our success so far”.

Giving Back-PiscoLogía’s FAME Mentoring Program

Finally, in the spirit of collaboration, we plan to use our empathy and intuition to help other female entrepreneurs in the future. Lesa Mitchell also demonstrates that only 29 percent of privately held firms in the US are women-owned” (9) and that women owned firms tend not to grow or prosper nearly as much” (3). For that reason, we have created a program to mentor other women-owned businesses and aspiring female entrepreneurs. As Kami Kenna states: “it’s important for women to run businesses so we can create a more equitable society. We hope to hone the skills of female entrepreneurs (organization, intuitiveness, personal drive, diligence, dedication, innovation, to name a few) so they can achieve the same success”.

The foundation of our company was built by our innately “female” traits, our open communication, empathy and skills. As we continue to learn and grow our company together, we also hope to support women entrepreneurs to create more opportunities for aspiring females around the world, closing the prevalent gender gap and making change for future generations.

 

 

 

Sources:

Mitchell, Lisa. “Overcoming the Gender Gap: Women Entrepreneurs as Economic Drivers.” Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, September 2011, https://www.kauffman.org/~/media/kauffman_org/research%20reports%20and%20covers/2011/09/growing_the_economy_women_entrepreneurs.pdf

 

Parets, Robyn. “4 reasons why Women-Owned Businesses Succeed”, Money Under 30, 31 March 2018, https://www.moneyunder30.com/why-women-owned-businesses-succeed

Peruvian Pisco in Spokane

Peruvian pisco, Meg McFarland, Kami Kenna, Peruvian pisco, boutique distillery peru, Piscologia

 

We would like to thank all the pisco enthusiasts in Spokane who have supported us after reading the recent article about our partners in the Spokesman Review. In her article “Spokane pair are partners in women-run, boutique Peruvian distillery PiscoLogia”,  Adriana Janovich tells the story of how Meg McFarland, Kami Kenna, and Nati Gordillo formed the partnership that now successfully operates our company, Topa Spirits, LLC. Many from the Spokane and Northern Idaho region have contacted us to find out where PiscoLogía is available. To read the article, please visit: http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2019/jan/22/spokane-pair-are-partners-in-women-run-boutique-pe/?fbclid=IwAR3EAmbT6IPqVbX8TaF1ZcXnEosXTfOpEKjg4NPH-f89e2UxHWYhyJAICD8

 

Here are some options to buy our Peruvian pisco in the Inland Northwest:

 

Spokane area:

 

My Fresh Basket

Kendall Yards

1030 W Summit Pkwy

Spokane, WA 99201

Ph: 509-558-2100

 

Millwood Grocery and Spirits

3409 N Argonne Rd

Millwood, WA 99212

Ph: 509-926-0380

 

Bulldog Liquor & Wine

1101 N Division St

Spokane, WA 99202

Ph: 509-315-9098

 

 

Other areas in Washington State:

PiscoLogía is distributed by American Northwest Import and Distribution in Washington State. To see where to purchase our Peruvian pisco in Washington, please contact them directly: http://www.anwdistributors.com/

 

Idaho:

Liquor distribution is controlled by the State of Idaho. Please check your local liquor store to see if PiscoLogía is available. If you can’t find it on the shelves, you can request that it be special ordered. For more information, please visit:

 

Idaho State Liquor Division

 

The DNA of Peruvian Pisco grapes

It is widely know that the Spaniards brought the first grape to Peru on one of their voyages across the Atlantic. In this post, we would like to dig deeper into this subject, citing the research of some of the most involved pisco specialists. What exactly was the first grape varietal to be planted in Peru? What are the current variations of this original vine? According to Jorge Jiménez, in his article “Uvas Moscateles en el Pisco” on Andrea Bruno’s “Excella” website, Peru’s first grape was the Negra Criolla varietal. Negra Criolla is the Peruvian name for Listan Prieto, which has origins in Spain’s Canary Islands.

Jiménez further explains that the famous Peruvian Quebranta grape is a cross between this Negra Criolla and Mollar, an Andalusian grape, and that most Peruvian pisco grapes belong to the Muscat family:

  • Torontel (Moscatel de Grano Menudo/Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains)
  • Italia (cross between Bicane with Moscatel de Hamburgo)
  • Negra Criolla o Rosa del Perú (cross between Moscatel de Alejandría and a vitis vinífera)
  • Quebranta (cross between Negra Criolla and Mollar)

 

To clarify the genealogy of pisco grape varietals even more, we would like to share this diagram made by our good friend Nico Vera. Nico Vera is founder of the “Pisco Trail” blog and Pisco Society.

 

 

pisco grape varietals, negra criolla, moscatel, peruvian pisco, craft pisco, piscologia, types of pisco grapes, quebranta, acholado

 

The next time you drink Peruvian pisco, you will know the history of Uvina, Quebranta, Italia, Torontel, Albilla, Mollar, Negra Criolla and Moscatel grapes! Salud!

 

Sources:

 

Jiménez, Jorge. “Uvas Moscateles En El Pisco .” Excella by Andrea Bruno, https://www.excella-andreabruno.com/articulo.php?articulo=43.

 

Vera, Nico. “Genealogy of Pisco Grape Varietals.” Pisco Trail, 2018, www.piscotrail.com/.

 

Put some piscologia in your holiday cocktail!

Wondering what cocktails to make for the holidays? Kami came up with a couple wintery recipes that will keep you cozy when it’s cold outside. Stone Pine Liqueur complements PiscoLogia pisco and lemon juice in these tasty cocktails, which are topped with sparkling wine or Amontillado Sherry.

Here are Kami’s creation notes: “For these dreamy holiday drams I use a Pine Liqueur as inspiration.  The Crusta is a classic New Orleans Brandy-based drink. Substitute pisco and you have an instant Peruvian cocktail. Since Pisco is unaged, it is without wood characteristics, creating its delicate, practically ethereal flavors. With that in mind, I added Amontillado Sherry to balance out the pine, the citrus and bitters to concoct this swanky seasonal sipper.

For the Peruvian Christmas Crusta, our Acholado lends itself as a creative replacement in gin-based cocktails. The intensity of the aromatics from the Italia grape blend with our Quebranta. The French 75, with its sparkling wine component, just calls out ‘holidays’ so I swapped the gin for our Acholado, added the Zirbenz Pine Liqueur and Yellow Chartreuse for a serious Christmas tree pop. With the honey simple syrup, bright citrus and sparkles, the PiscoLogia surprisingly prevails. This cocktail is bright, fresh and festive, like a Christmas carol in your mouth!”

 

peruvian pisco, crusta, pisco cocktails, holiday cocktail recipes, garnishes for cocktails, acholado, quebranta, gin cocktails

 

A Christmas Carol

1 oz PiscoLogia Acholado
2 bar spoons Yellow Chartreuse
2 bar spoons Zirbenz Pine Liqueur
1/2 oz lemon juice
1/2 oz honey simple syrup
Shake all ingredients and strain into a champagne flute. Top with sparkling wine

 

peruvian pisco, crusta, pisco cocktails, holiday cocktail recipes, garnishes for cocktails, acholado, quebranta, gin cocktails

 

Peruvian Christmas Crusta

2 oz PiscoLogia Quebranta
1/2 oz Zirbenz Pine Liqueur
1/2 oz Amontillado Sherry
1/2 oz Lemon
2 dash Angostura Bitters
Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a generously sugar rimmed flute glass!
Garnish: sugared rim and an extravagantly long lemon twist