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