LIMA, Peru – Nov. 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.
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.
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Ansley Coale from Craft Distillers discusses PiscoLogía Quebranta and Acholado’s unique qualities in the following video:
According to Ansley, PiscoLogía pisco is “incredibly clean and has nicely intense flavor, but high acid” due to the desert climate of our vineyards. In addition, he found the Quebranta to be “intense, incredibly elegant and structured with a beautiful mouth and a very nice, long, clean and balanced finish”. The Acholado is “fruit forward, with soft aromatics. It’s Quebranta married with the roundness and fruitiness of the Italia”.
Do you want to buy PiscoLogía Peruvian pisco to find out for yourself? Check out Craft Distillers’ Distribution Page for a distributor near you or visit Caddell Williams‘ website to purchase online. Flaviar will also ship PiscoLogía to your home.
If you love Kami’s pisco cocktails, now you can download our recipe postcards! Click on the links below to learn more about the diverse ways to mix PiscoLogía. In addition to classic pisco cocktails such as the Capitán and Chilcano, you will also find new renditions of traditionally rum-based cocktails such as the Mai Tai and Piña Colada. Finally, if you are looking for something new, we know you won’t be disappointed by the spicy Bees Knees Stings or the Flor Canela.
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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.
Pisco tastes like grapes because it’s a grape brandy (grape juice ferments to make wine, then the wine is distilled to make pisco). There are more than 15 pounds of grapes in every bottle of regular pisco and 33 pounds in a bottle of mosto verde. Naturally, the dominant flavor will be that of the vitis vinifera used to make the pisco. Also, because it rests in neutral vessels after distillation, nothing alters the original flavor of Peruvian pisco, so you can appreciate the concentrated flavors of the fruit in the bottle.
How do the 8 grape varieties of pisco differ in terms of flavor?
Besides flavors and aromas of grapes, you should also note other nuances that are typical to each variety. For example, a Quebranta may taste like pecans, peach or apple (see the example flavor chart above), Albilla might taste like pineapple and Negra Criolla could have notes of raisins and caramel. For more detailed information about the unique flavors and aromas of each variety, check out this blog post: http://piscologia.com/all-the-peruvian-pisco-grapes/
What’s an example pairing with pisco?
Try a Quebranta pisco with suspiro a la limeña, a famous Peruvian dessert. In this combination, the sweetness and creaminess of the suspiro are balanced out with the alcohol from the pisco. It’s a perfect fusion between the sugar in the dessert and the fruitiness of the pisco. If you can’t get your hands on suspiro a la limeña, try a Quebranta with key lime pie. You won’t be disappointed!
This is the 4th post of a series of mythbusters to clarify misconceptions about Peruvian pisco.
We think Acholado is the best pisco for a pisco sour.
Contrary to the belief in Peru that pisco sours should be made with Quebranta pisco, we prefer a sour made with pisco Acholado. It’s even better when the Acholado is blended with an aromatic grape like Italia. The floral, fruity notes of the aromatic variety pair well with the citrus in the cocktail.
In a recent blog post we discussed the benefits of highlighting the characteristics of each pisco type when mixing cocktails. To do this, Kami envisions the 8 pisco varieties on a spectrum, drawing a parallel between their flavors and their sense of warmth. To her, the more aromatic the pisco, the cooler it is: “I love an Acholado or one of the aromatics for a pisco sour. I tend to think of Quebranta as warm, while Italia and Torontel are cool. I like my cool/floral/bright piscos with citrus and the “warm” Quebranta on its own or mixed into a Capitán or another booze-forward classic like a Negroni”.
With this advice from Kami, we encourage you to experiment by making pisco sours with different types of pisco. We are confident that you will agree- the floral, fruity notes of an Acholado work best with the sweetness and acidity of Peru’s most iconic cocktail.
This is the 3rd post of a series of mythbusters to clarify misconceptions about Peruvian pisco.
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:
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!
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.
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)
In Peru, the eight grapes used in pisco production are separated into 2 categories: aromatic and non-aromatic. While the latter categorization might imply that some piscos lack aromas, we would like to clarify that all varieties of Peruvian pisco are highly aromatic. This is due to the production methods required by the Denomination of Origin in Peru. First, Peruvian pisco is distilled one time, which helps bring out the unique aromatic profile of each grape variety. Then it is aged in neutral casks, which enhances the aromas while preserving the original identity of the clear spirit.
In this post, we will list the flavors and aromas of each grape variety used in the production of Peruvian pisco: Quebranta, Negra Criolla, Uvina & Mollar (non-aromatic) and Italia, Torontel, Moscatel, and Albilla (aromatic).
Note: These are general tasting notes, as every pisco is different, depending on the region, the terroir of the vineyards and the methods of the distiller.
Origin: The Quebranta grape is a cross between Negra Criolla and Mollar grapes. It is the most common grape used in pisco production in Peru.
Pisco flavors: Lime, mandarin, flowers, orange blossom & tropical fruit
Origin: Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains. AKA Torrontés.
Pisco aromas: Flowers such as geranium, jasmine and magnolia, citrus, orange blossom & tropical fruit
Pisco flavors: Citrus, honey, tropical fruit & toffee
Origin: There is dispute about the origins of Peruvian Moscatel grapes. One theory is that it comes from the Muscat Rose à Petits Grains grape (Jiménez). This muscat grape is not to be confused with Italia, even though they are from the same family.