Myth #9- A wine-making ban led to pisco production in Peru

We are back to our series of mythbusters to clarify misconceptions about Peruvian pisco!

history wine peru, history pisco peru, pisco, peruvian pisco

 

Vintners in Peru started making pisco when Spain tried to hinder wine-making.  However, the story is more complicated than a simple restriction.

 

According to historian Guillermo Toro-Lira, the first vineyard in South America was planted in Lima between 1539 and 1541 by Hernando de Montenegro, a Spanish captain (Lima). The first wine was made in 1551, marking the beginning of a new era of wine-making in the New World. By the end of the 16th century, delicious Peruvian wine was demanded around the world, creating formidable competition for Spain’s winemakers.

To hinder wine production in Peru, Spanish royalty imposed high taxes, banned Peruvian wine in Spanish colonies and prohibited the planting of new vines in Peru. However, their attempts were unsuccessful until 1641, when King Philip IV prohibited the importation of Peruvian wine to Spain. Peru was then cut off from one of its last remaining markets. Here is a summary of the timeline:

  • 1539 -1541– First vine (Listán Prieto) planted in Lima by Hernando de Montenegro
  • 1551– First wine made in Lima, making Peru the first winemaking region in South America
  • 1595– Felipe II prohibited planting vines in the colonies. However, people continued planting and making wine.
  • 1595– Felipe II- started taxing vineyard owners, which diminished the amount of vines in Peru.
  • 1614– Peruvian wine was competing so much with Spanish wine that King Philip III prohibited the importation of Peruvian wine to Panama.
  • 1615– The sale of Peruvian wine was banned in Guatemala.
  • 1641– King Philip IV prohibited the importation of Peruvian wine to Spain. Since the market for wine was cut off, vintners in Peru began to use their grapes to make pisco.

 

Instead of abandoning their vines, locals began to use the grapes to make brandy in lieu of wine. Over time, the viticultural knowledge of the Spanish blended with agricultural traditions passed down from the Incas. Years of trial and error led to diversification and selection of the best varieties, identification of optimal regions for grape growing and improved production practices. These factors, along with a climate favorable to grape growing, have allowed Peruvians to proudly craft their national beverage for hundreds of years.

So now you know, a series of restrictions that spanned over the course of 100 years led Peruvians to start making clear brandy. While the decision was detrimental to the wine industry in Peru, thankfully Peruvians were able to use their grapes, knowledge and manpower to make pisco.

 

Sources:  

Huertas Vallejos, Lorenzo. “Historia De La Producción De Vinos y Piscos En El Perú.” Revista Universum, vol. 2, no. 19, 2004, pp. 44–61.

“Lima, Cuna Del Primer Viñedo y Del Primer Vino De Suramérica.” www.efe.com, 28 Sept. 2018, www.efe.com/efe/america/gente/lima-cuna-del-primer-vinedo-y-vino-de-suramerica/20000014-3763502.

 

Peruvian Pisco vs. Chilean 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 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.

You may think Peruvian pisco and Chilean are similar. After all, they are both brandies, made from grapes, in two countries with geographic, linguistic and cultural similarities. However, when you take a closer look and examine their distillation methods, geographical zones of production, resting techniques and other details, you will find that they are very different spirits.

Here is a chart to compare the two:

peruvian pisco, chilean pisco

PiscoLogía Quebranta Wins Gold Medal at the Women’s Wine and Spirits Awards in London

womens wine spirits award, spirits award, gold medal pisco, gold medal

 

LIMA, PeruNov. 16, 2019 — PiscoLogía Quebranta, a single-variety Peruvian pisco made from Quebranta grapes, won a gold medal at the most important wine and spirits competition in the world judged by women buyers – the Women’s Wine and Spirits Awards. Held in London at the Royal Yacht Club, 100 of the world’s most influential female buyers assembled for the historic occasion. Top retailers, importers, and hospitality entities were present for the blind tastings, including Waitrose & Partners, Bibendum, Enotria & Co, 67 Pall Mall, and The Arts Club.

The award reflects the quality and craftsmanship of the pisco, which is made in Azpitia, in the Denomination of Origin of Lima. “We are honored to receive this gold medal and celebrate the work completed with my partners Nati Gordillo and Kami Kenna. It is a culmination of years of dedication to the art of pisco making” said Meg McFarland, founder of PiscoLogía.

PiscoLogía is available in the USA through Craft Distillers, in Canada through the Unknown Agency and in Japan through The Blue Habu Trade Group.

 

 

About Piscología Pisco Puro Quebranta

Made from 100% estate-grown grapes, PiscoLogía Quebranta is the quintessential craft pisco. Its aromas are grassy, herbal, and reminiscent of sweet caramelized banana.  It tastes of toasted almonds, pecans and tart green apples.

 

About Topa Spirits, LLC

Topa Spirits, LLC is a 100% women-owned producer, importer and wholesaler of Piscología Pisco Quebranta and PiscoLogía Pisco Acholado.

Connect with PiscoLogía on Facebook, Twitter and www.piscologia.com for cocktail ideas, contests and breaking product news.

 

NOTES FOR NEWS EDITOR:

For further images, see link here: http://wineawards.org/medal-and-press-images/

Full results on https://wineawards.org/wwsa-2020-results/

Pisco in Canada: PiscoLogía listed with the LCBO

pisco canada, pisco LCBO, peruvian pisco LCBO, pisco online

 

We are happy to announce that PiscoLogía Acholado and PiscoLogía Quebranta are now available for purchase through the LCBO in Canada! This was made possible thanks to a collaboration with the Unknown Agency, experts in growing new breakthrough beverage brands. Based in Toronto, the partners at the Unknown Agency establish routes to market, build volume and grow brand equity through sales, distribution, marketing and PR solutions.

 

Find PiscoLogía on the Liquor Control Board of Ontario’s website.

 

Have you already purchased a bottle of PiscoLogía in Canada? Learn how to mix our Acholado or Quebranta in these cocktail recipes. For more information about availability in Canada, please contact the Unknown Agency:

https://www.theunknown.agency/contact.html

 

Las Diferencias Entre el Singani y el Pisco

Ambos singani y pisco son aguardientes transparentes hechos por un proceso de destilación de uvas. Por sus características físicas, parecen semejantes. Sin embargo, cuando examinas sus métodos de destilación, sus zonas de producción, sus procesos de reposo, clasificaciones de calidad u otros detalles, encontrarás que son licores muy distintos. Aquí hay las diferencias entre el Singani boliviano y el pisco peruano:

 

Pisco Peruano
Singani

Un aguardiente hecho de 1 o una mezcla de las 8 variedades de uva permitidas por la Denominación de Origen en Perú.

Un aguardiente hecho de la uva moscatel de Alejandría en Bolivia.

Reposa un mínimo de 3 meses en recipientes que no alteran el producto.

Reposa un mínimo de 6 meses en recipientes que no alteran el producto.

Se tiene que producir en una de las zonas geográficas designadas por la Denominación de Origen en Perú.

Se tiene que producir en una de las zonas geográficas designadas por la Denominación de Origen en Bolivia.

Se produce a menos de 2,000m (6,562 pies) de uvas cultivadas a esas alturas.

Se produce a más de 1,600m (5,250 pies) de uvas cultivadas a esas alturas.

Hay piscos de una variedad de uva (puros) y una mezcla de uvas (acholados).

Sólo hay Singani de una variedad de uva: moscatel de Alejandría. No se puede mezclar la moscatel de Alejandría con otras variedades.

Hay evidencia que la palabra “pisco” viene de “pishqu”, la palabra quechua para pájaro.

Hay evidencia que la palabra “singani” viene de “siwingani”, la palabra aymara para juncia.

Sólo se destila una vez.

En general se destila más de una vez y se le pone agua.

No tiene clasificación de calidad

Tiene clasificación de calidad

Singani de Altura

Singani

Singani de Primera

Singani de Segunda

El orujo nunca se destila en la producción de pisco.

El Singani de Primera and Singani de Segunda pueden ser producidos por la destilación de orujo, parecido a la producción de grappa.

*Chilcano*

  • Ginger ale o cerveza de jengibre
  • Limón
  • Pisco

*Chufly*

  • Ginger ale o cerveza de jengibre
  • Limón
  • Singani

 

 

Fuentes:

Armstrong, Darren. “Singani.” StrongSomm, www.strongsomm.com/singani.

“Singani.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 10 July 2019, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Singani.

Singani vs. Pisco

Singani and pisco are both clear grape brandies that share similar physical attributes. However, when you examine their distillation methods, geographical zones of production, resting techniques, quality classifications and other details, you will find that they are very different spirits. We have listed the differences between Bolivian Singani and Peruvian pisco in the chart below:

 

Peruvian Pisco
Singani

A brandy made from 1 or a blend of the 8 pisco grapes permitted by the D.O. in Peru.

A brandy made only from Muscat of Alexandria grapes in Bolivia.

Rests in neutral casks a minimum of 3 months.

Rests in neutral casks for a minimum of 6 months.

Must be made in one of the Pisco-producing regions as defined by the D.O. in Peru.

Must be made in one of the Singani-producing regions as defined by the D.O. in Bolivia.

Produced at 2,000m (6,562 feet) or lower from grapes grown at those elevations.

Produced at 1,600m (5,250 feet) or higher from grapes grown at those elevations.

Has both single-variety Piscos (puros) and blends (acholados).

Only single-variety Singanis are produced exclusively from the Muscat of Alexandria grape. No blending with other varieties is permitted.

Linguistic evidence suggests the word “pisco” comes from the native Quechua word “pishqu” (meaning bird).

Linguistic evidence suggests that the word “singani” comes from the native Aymara word “siwingani” (meaning sedge).

Only single distillation permitted.

Usually double distilled and watered down to proof.

No quality classification

Has quality classifications:

Singani de Altura

Singani

Singani de Primera

Singani de Segunda

Pomace may never be distilled in Pisco production.

Singani de Primera and Singani de Segunda may be made from the pomace leftovers from winemaking (similar to grappa)

*Chilcano Cocktail*

  • Ginger ale or ginger beer
  • Lime
  • Pisco

*Shoofly Cocktail*

  • Ginger ale or ginger beer
  • Lime
  • Singani

 

Download our Signani vs. Pisco chart here: Singani vs. Pisco

 

Sources:

Armstrong, Darren. “Singani.” StrongSomm, www.strongsomm.com/singani.

“Singani.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 10 July 2019, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Singani.

¿Qué tiene el pisco?

¿Qué tiene el pisco? La respuesta es: uvas. El pisco peruano es un destilado de uvas pisqueras, que son 8 vitis viníferas permitidas por la Denominación de Origen en Perú para la producción del aguardiente. Esas uvas son:

uvas pisco, uvas pisqueras, pisco peruano, piscologia

Para hacer un pisco peruano, el jugo de las uvas se fermenta para hacer un vino. Luego ese vino se destila una vez, por lo general en un alambique de cobre, en el proceso que se explica aquí. La destilación nos da un licor transparente y concentrado, con un porcentaje de alcohol entre 38%-48%.

No se le añade nada al pisco peruano, ni siquiera agua. Eso lo hace muy diferente a otros licores como el pisco chileno o el whiskey, que se destilan más de una vez y luego se les pone agua para bajar el alcohol al porcentaje deseado y los añejan en barrica.

 

Myth #7- Italia pisco is too aromatic to mix in cocktails

This is the 7th post of a series of mythbusters to clarify misconceptions about Peruvian pisco.

monoterpenes, aromatic wine, aromatic pisco

 

 

We couldn’t disagree more that Italia is too aromatic for cocktails. In fact, we think it is one of the more exciting grapes to use.  While Italia can be quite floral, it can brighten up an Acholado by creating an interesting blend with the two (or more) grape varieties.

 

Let’s first talk about what aromatic means. If a wine or pisco is aromatic, it means it has higher levels of terpenes, which are the same scents found in flowers (Puckette). More specifically, if you can sense aromas of rose, lilac, lavender, orange blossom or geranium in a wine or pisco, it means it has monoterpenes, which are compounds found in the essential oils extracted from many plants, including fruits, vegetables, spices and herbs (Loza-Tavera). The Italia variety is classified in the aromatic category, along with Riesling, Albariño, Pinot Gris, the 3 other aromatic Peruvian pisco grapes and many others.  

 

Monoterpenes create special aromas, so how should you use Italia pisco in a cocktail? One suggestion would be to try it in a pisco colada because the Italia variety pairs well with the sweet flavors of coconut. Or, you can highlight the orange blossom notes in a citrus-based cocktail. If you’re drinking it on its own, an Italia pisco will enhance the flavors of a Thai curry or Tandoori Chicken.  

 

Whether or not you like Italia pisco in cocktails will come down to your personal preferences. However, you  shouldn’t take someone else’s word for it that it is too fruity or floral. We encourage you to try it with different ingredients to see which combination is best for you.   

 

 

Sources:  

 

Loza-Tavera, H. “Monoterpenes in Essential Oils. Biosynthesis and Properties.” Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 1999, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10335385.  

 

Puckette, Madeline. “What Are Aromatic White Wines?” Wine Folly, 27 Mar. 2019, winefolly.com/review/what-are-aromatic-white-wines/.

Myth#3: Pisco grapes are considered aromatic because they have muscat DNA

This is the 3rd post of a series of mythbusters to clarify misconceptions about Peruvian pisco.

peruvian pisco, pisco, pisco types

 

There are also Muscat-derived grapes in the non-aromatic category.

 

Before discussing this subject, let’s do a quick refresher on Peruvian pisco grapes. There are 8 grapes used for pisco production in Peru and they are divided into 2 categories: aromatic and non-aromatic. You can see the 4 grape varieties that fall into each category in the chart above.

There is a misconception circulating in the industry that the term “aromatic” applies exclusively to grapes with DNA from the Muscat family. While the four aromatics, Moscatel, Albilla, Italia and Torontel, are indeed derived from the Muscat grape, there are also two non-aromatic grapes with Muscat DNA: Negra criolla and Quebranta. Both of these red grape varieties come from Muscat of Alexandria (Moscatel de Alejandria in Spanish).  

The DNA of all the Peruvian pisco grape varieties is best explained in the chart created by Nico from Pisco Trail:  

 

pisco types, DNA pisco grapes, piscologia, peruvian pisco, pisco grapes 

Now if you hear the rumor that aromatic pisco grapes are the only grapes with DNA from the Muscat family, you can disprove it. Muscat of Alexandria gave life to the aromatic Italia variety, but it also deserves credit for giving us lovely non-aromatic Quebranta and Negra Criolla!

 

 

Source:

 

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

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.