Can you drink pisco straight? Absolutely! In fact, we encourage you to drink pisco straight to appreciate it like a fine wine. To guide you, here are 4 questions you can ask yourself when tasting:
1) What descriptors and characteristics can I identify?
There are more than 300 descriptors for wine. When you distill wine to make pisco, you concentrate those flavors and aromas even more. See if you can pick out different nuances in the pisco. For example, our Quebranta tastes like toasted almonds, pecans and tart green apples. If you’re tasting an Acholado, distinguish the characteristics of each of the blended varieties.
2) How is the terroir of the vineyards expressed in the pisco?
We have discussed the terroir of our vineyards and how it differs from other regions and vineyards in Peru. For example, our pisco has been described as briny, which is due to salinity on the grapes from the Pacific Ocean. Our soils are sandy, which create very different conditions than vineyards in the Andes, where soils are predominantly limestone. Pisco is greatly influenced by terroir, so see if you can appreciate how the conditions of the vineyards influence the flavors and aromas of the brandy.
3) How does the pisco pair with food?
Like wine, the clear Peruvian brandy pairs beautifully with food. We have given you some pairing suggestions in this blog post: http://piscologia.com/pairing-your-favorite-peruvian-food-with-pisco/, but pisco pairings go way beyond Peruvian food. There are endless opportunities with any cuisine. For example, try an Italia pisco in a snifter with Thai curry. You can play around with different varieties and food flavors to see what you like best.
4) Are there certain aspects of this vintage that make it different than others?
Just like wine, the conditions of each harvest vary each year, making every vintage unique. For example, if a year is especially hot, the wine and pisco will have higher alcohol percentages because the grapes will have developed more sugar. Or, if rainy season arrives earlier than expected, the grapes must be harvested early to avoid diseases on the fruit such as botrytis. Sometimes this means that the grapes might not ripen enough, meaning they will have less aromas and flavors.