Piscologia | types of pisco
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Singani and Pisco- Distillation Methods of New World Grapes

Peruvian pisco grapes, muscat, Italia grapes

 

The indigenous people of the Americas had a tradition of making alcoholic beverages long before the Spaniards brought the first grape plant across the Atlantic. They often fermented corn, strawberries or potatoes, a custom still practiced in many countries. For example, “chicha”, made from fermented corn or fruit, is highly consumed throughout the Andes in Peru today.

 

Although the first grapevines in the Americas were planted at the end of the 15th century, distillation of wine seemed to have begun about 100 years later. Since then, certain grape varieties have thrived in different locations and production methods of distilled wine have diversified.

 

We would like to highlight the characteristics of 3 spirits distilled from grapes in South America: Peruvian pisco, Chilean pisco, and Bolivian Singani. The chart below makes a brief comparison of 3 of the 8 Peruvian pisco grapes (Quebranta, Torontel and Uvina) and their Bolivian and Chilean counterpart, Muscat of Alexandria.

 

Grape Type Distilled Spirit Grape Characteristics Typical Characteristics When Distilled
Quebranta Peruvian Pisco Non-aromatic: Red/Purple color Herbal, nutty, banana, apple and mango.

 

Torontel Peruvian Pisco Aromatic: Golden yellow color Floral aromas such as lavender, tropical fruit, cinnamon, citrus.

 

Uvina Peruvian Pisco Non-aromatic: Blue/black color Olives, fresh herbs, apple, banana.

 

Muscat of Alexandria Bolivian Singani Aromatic: White/yellow/pink Pink peppercorns, citrus and white flowers.

 

Muscat of Alexandria Chilean Pisco Aromatic: White/yellow/pink Floral, with hints of jasmine and green pears.

 

 

The common ground between Peruvian pisco, Chilean pisco and Bolivian Singani is that they are all made from New World grapes, using distillation methods that were introduced at the end of the 16th century in Latin America (and as we mentioned in an earlier post, they are all are types of brandy). They all have unique qualities, depending on the terroir and the distiller who crafts them. Regardless of your preference, it is indisputable that the introduction of the grape into Latin America was a momentous game-changer. Thanks to those viticulturists in the 15th century, we now enjoy Peruvian pisco, Chilean pisco and Bolivian Singani today!

 

Peruvian Pisco Grapes: Acholado vs. Quebranta

quebranta grapes, acholado grapes, pisco peruano, peruvian pisco, how to make pisco, piscologia, types of pisco

 

Since PiscoLogía Pisco Quebranta hit the shelves in the USA last October, many people have asked us to explain the differences between Acholado and Quebranta. Let’s talk about what “Quebranta” means and how it compares to PiscoLogía Pisco Acholado.

 

Quebranta is a variety of grape used to make Peruvian pisco, just like Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay are types of wine grapes. In Peru, there are 8 grapes used in pisco production: Quebranta, Negra Criolla, Mollar, Uvina (non-aromatic) and Italia, Torontel, Moscatel, and Albilla (aromatic).

 

Acholado pisco is made from a blend of grapes or a blend of piscos. Nati, our master distiller, makes a perfect concoction of Quebranta and Italia grapes to create an Acholado that can be both mixable in cocktails or enjoyed neat.

 

Here is a chart to compare the two:

 

PiscoLogía Acholado PiscoLogía Quebranta
Aromas Pecan and orange blossom Grassy, herbal, sweet caramelized banana
Flavors Balanced, matured dried currant and bananas Toasted almonds, pecans and tart green apples
Pairing Recommendation: Semi-sweet chocolate Camembert and apples
Mix it in this cocktail: “Eggs Benedictine”

2 oz PiscoLogía Acholado

1 oz Pineapple Syrup

1 oz Lime

1/2 oz Benedictine

Egg white

Fresh grated nutmeg (garnish)

Serve on the rocks


“Grape on Grape on Grape”

2 oz PiscoLogía Quebranta

.5 oz Manzanilla Sherry

.5 oz Punte E Mes Sweet Vermouth

Serve neat