Understanding the Essential Elements of a Pisco Label

Pisco has long been celebrated for its rich flavors and cultural significance. But beyond the delightful taste, the labels on pisco bottles carry essential information that reflects the spirit’s origin and quality. In this short lesson, we demystify the labeling requirements in Peru, shedding light on the key elements you need to know when selecting high-quality pisco.

Unveiling the Four Essential Elements:
In Peru, the Denomination of Origin (D.O.) regulations dictates that pisco labels must prominently display four crucial elements:

Grape Variety: The label should clearly specify the grape variety used in the pisco. For instance, when you spot ‘Mollar’ on a label, you know that those grapes played a starring role in crafting that particular pisco.

Valley Location: Pisco production is intricately linked to the geography of the valleys where the grapes are grown and the production facility is situated. The label will indicate the valley’s name, providing valuable insight into the pisco’s terroir. For example, “Mala Valley within the D.O. of Lima” signifies the grapes’ place of origin and the unique character it imparts.

Denominación de Origen Pisco: Look for this statement on the label; it confirms that the pisco adheres to the stringent quality standards set by the Denomination of Origin. This mark signifies that the pisco is an authentic product that meets the highest standards.

Production Facility Registration: Each pisco label also displays the production facility’s registration number with the D.O. This number is a testament to the adherence to quality standards and allows for traceability.

Additional Specifics on Type:
Some pisco producers go the extra mile by specifying the type of pisco they offer. For instance, you might encounter terms like ‘pisco puro,’ ‘acholado,’ or ‘mosto verde.’ These labels provide insights into the unique characteristics and production methods employed, enabling you to choose a pisco that suits your preferences.

Demystifying the Label – A Visual Guide:
To illustrate these elements, take a glance at our Mollar label below:

mollar pisco, pisco logia

Grape Variety (Number 1): Here, you’ll spot the ‘Mollar’ grape variety, revealing the core ingredient of this pisco.

Valley Location (Number 2): The label clearly identifies the location as the ‘Mala Valley within the D.O. of Lima.’ This tells the story of the pisco’s origin, capturing the essence of the region.

Denominación de Origen (Number 3): On the back of the label, the statement ‘Denominación de Origen Pisco’ confirms the pisco’s adherence to D.O. regulations.

Production Facility Registration (Number 4): Also on the back, the production facility’s registration number with the D.O. ensures accountability and quality.

Understanding these labeling requirements equips you with the knowledge needed to make informed and intelligent choices when you’re on the hunt for high-quality pisco. It’s a delightful journey to explore the world of pisco labels, revealing the stories and traditions that each bottle holds. So, next time you savor a glass of pisco, you’ll do so with a deeper appreciation for the craftsmanship and heritage behind it.

Deciphering the DNA of Pisco Grapes

Pisco has captivated connoisseurs around the world with its rich history and diverse flavors. At the heart of this beloved spirit lies the DNA of pisco grapes, a topic that has fascinated specialists and enthusiasts alike. In this blog post, we embark on a journey to explore the genetic makeup of pisco grapes and the intriguing complexities that surround them.

The Ever-Evolving World of Pisco Grape DNA: In our first version of the Pisco Certificate course back in 2020, we delved into the intricate genealogy of pisco grapes, referencing the work of Jorge Jiménez, who drew from research conducted by Jorge Llanos and Jancis Robinson, among others. We even shared a family tree of pisco grapes created by Nico Vera based on this knowledge.

Since then, additional specialists such as Amanda Barnes, Karl Mendoza, and their teams have unearthed new findings about the DNA of pisco grapes, adding fascinating layers to the narrative. As you can see in the image (click to zoom), some of their research is conflicting. The question is why.Grapes Pisco DNA

The Complexity of Pisco Grape Evolution: The complexities surrounding pisco grape DNA are as multifaceted as the grapevines themselves. Here are some key factors contributing to the contradictory information:

  1. Constant Evolution: Pisco grapes are agricultural products, and the grapevines are in a state of constant change. These vines can cross-pollinate through various means like wind, insects, and self-pollination. Over centuries, the grape varieties originally brought from Spain have naturally crossbred, giving rise to the intriguing diversity we see today.
  2. Unidentified Cultivars: Another challenge is the presence of unidentified and unnamed grape cultivars in Peru. These unique and unclassified varieties add an element of mystery to the DNA puzzle.

What We Can Assume to be True: Based on the confirmed findings of prominent researchers, some aspects of pisco grape DNA seem more certain. We can assume that:

  1. Quebranta is a cross between the Mollar grape and Negra Criolla, representing Peru’s only indigenous vinifera variety.
  2. Negra Criolla is a synonym for Listán Prieto, the first grape variety planted in Peru.
  3. Mollar has DNA similarities with other grapes with similar names, though the exact match varies.
  4. Uvina is a hybrid grape, formed by the crossing of vitis vinifera and vitis aestivalis.

Outlining the Discrepancies: However, discrepancies persist in the pisco grape DNA narrative:

  1. The origins of the Italia grape remain widely disputed.
  2. Torontel is another grape with differing views on its lineage.
  3. Palomino Fino, associated with Sherry production in Spain, presents contrasting interpretations.
  4. Moscatel remains one of the most mysterious grapes in the pisco world.

A Complicated Subject Indeed: Despite differing opinions among researchers, they all agree on one thing: the DNA of pisco grapes is an exceptionally intricate subject. As Karl Mendoza’s research aptly puts it, “Within the genetic resource of each region, several synonyms and homonyms remain to be clarified… making it difficult to assess the value of a given cultivar in a region.”

Conclusion: So, as we navigate this world of complex pisco grape DNA, we invite you to embark on your own exploration. Draw your conclusions, conduct your research, and most importantly, savor the diverse origins of Peru’s beloved pisco grapes.

Unraveling the Origins of Quebranta and Cabernet Sauvignon: Crossing vs. Grafting

graft, grapes, pisco

When it comes to the world of grapevines, there’s more than meets the eye. Behind every grape variety, there’s a fascinating story of how it came into existence. To help us navigate this vineyard of knowledge, we’ll take a close look at the Quebranta grape, a cross between Mollar Cano and Negra Criolla, and Cabernet Sauvignon, a cross between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc.

Crossing Grape Varieties: Quebranta and Cabernet Sauvignon

Quebranta, the quintessential grape variety for making pisco in Peru, is a testament to the art of crossing grape varieties. This unique grape is the result of natural hybridization between two distinct parents, Mollar Cano and Negra Criolla.

In the natural process of grapevine reproduction, vines can cross-pollinate, resulting in the development of new grape varieties with genetic characteristics from both parent grapes. This hybridization also led to the creation of Cabernet Sauvignon, which has become one of the most popular and well-known red wine grape varieties in the world. The name “Cabernet” in Cabernet Sauvignon suggests a relationship with Cabernet Franc, and the “Sauvignon” portion of the name is associated with Sauvignon Blanc.

People often confuse crossing with grafting, so let’s dig deeper into that subject.

The Key Differences: Crossing vs. Grafting

Grafting and crossing grape varieties are two different processes used in viticulture for distinct purposes:

  1. Grafting:
    • Grafting is a horticultural technique used to combine the characteristics of two different grapevines.
    • It involves joining a scion (the top portion of a grapevine with desired characteristics) to a rootstock (the bottom portion with an established root system).
    • The purpose of grafting is to maintain the genetic identity of the scion while benefiting from the rootstock’s attributes, such as disease resistance, adaptability to certain soil types, or growth vigor.
    • Grafting is a form of asexual reproduction that does not result in the creation of a new grape variety; it preserves and propagates existing grape varieties with specific traits.

 

  1. Crossing grape varieties:
    • Crossing grape varieties is a process of sexual reproduction where two different grapevine varieties breed to create new grape varieties.
    • Crossing can be natural (through pollination) or controlled (to develop new grape cultivars with specific characteristics, such as flavor profiles, disease resistance, or adaptability to certain climates).
    • This process involves the pollination of one grape variety’s flowers with the pollen from another variety’s flowers.
    • The resulting grapevines from this process will have a unique genetic makeup, combining traits from both parent varieties. This can lead to the creation of entirely new grape varieties.

 

In summary, grafting is a technique used to preserve and combine the traits of existing grape varieties without altering their genetic makeup, while crossing grape varieties is a method for creating entirely new grape varieties by combining the genetics of two parent varieties.

Piscología’s Select Bottlings: Celebrating the Diversity of Pisco from Peru

pisco from peru

At Pisco Logía, our journey into the world of pisco has always been about more than just crafting a fine spirit. It’s about preserving tradition, embracing authenticity, and supporting small-scale producers who share our values of quality and sustainability. In Peru, the birthplace of pisco, there are over 500 certified pisco producers, but many face challenges when it comes to exporting their products or even finding their place in a saturated local market. Per capita consumption of pisco in Peru is relatively low, making it essential to explore new avenues for showcasing the diversity of this remarkable spirit.

To address these challenges and shine a light on the incredible variety of flavors that Peruvian pisco has to offer, we are proud to introduce our latest endeavor: Pisco Logía “Select Bottlings.” These exceptional products are a testament to the craftsmanship of other grower-producers who share our commitment to quality and authenticity.

Our first “Select Bottlings” release takes us on a journey that’s close to home. We are delighted to introduce our neighbor and dear friend, Alfredo Paino, who resides in Azpitia. Alfredo primarily cultivates Italia grapes and transforms them into exquisite piscos.

Puro de Italia 2021 – The Yellow Label: This exceptional pisco showcases the true essence of Italia grapes, meticulously crafted by Alfredo Paino at his vineyard and bodega. It’s a pure expression of the Italian grape variety, capturing the very spirit of the terroir.

No. 1 – A Blend of 70% Italia and 30% Quebranta 2022 – The Green Label: This blend is a harmonious marriage of Italia and Quebranta grapes, resulting in a pisco that beautifully combines the elegance of Italia with the robust character of Quebranta.

No. 2 – A Blend of 70% Italia and 30% Mollar 2022 – The Green Label: In this blend, Alfredo showcases his skill by marrying the luscious flavors of Italia with the unique character of Mollar grapes, creating a truly distinctive pisco.

These Pisco Logía “Select Bottlings” are more than just exquisite spirits; they are a celebration of the rich diversity found in Peruvian pisco. Each bottle tells a unique story of craftsmanship, terroir, and dedication. By supporting these small-scale producers who share our values, we aim to preserve the traditions that make pisco from Peru so exceptional.

Stay tuned for more exciting releases as we continue to explore the vibrant world of pisco, one “Select Bottling” at a time.

 

The Timeless Craftsmanship of Copper Alembic Stills: Elevating Pisco Production in Peru

copper still pisco peru

When it comes to the art of distillation, the choice of still plays a pivotal role in shaping the quality and character of the final spirit. Among the various options available, copper alembic stills have long been hailed as the pinnacle of excellence. In this blog post, we will explore the superiority of copper alembic stills, particularly in the context of pisco production in Peru.

Copper has been revered by distillers for centuries, and for good reason. Its unique properties make it an ideal material for crafting alembic stills. The secret lies in copper’s remarkable ability to interact with the spirit during the distillation process. As the liquid vaporizes and rises through the still, it comes into contact with the copper surfaces. This interaction promotes chemical reactions and catalytic processes that enhance the aroma, flavor, and overall character of the distilled spirit.

To truly appreciate the significance of copper alembic stills, let’s turn our attention to the world of pisco production in Peru, where it is crafted with utmost precision. In Peru, the art of Pisco production intertwines tradition with modern techniques. At the heart of this harmonious blend is the copper alembic still, revered for its ability to extract and preserve the essence of the grapes. Through a delicate and artful distillation process, the stills transform the carefully selected grapes into a spirit that captures the very essence of the terroir, embodying the flavors and aromas of the region.

The Superiority of Copper Alembic Stills:

  1. Thermal Conductivity: Copper boasts exceptional thermal conductivity, allowing for efficient heat distribution during distillation. This ensures a controlled and precise process, enabling the separation of impurities and the extraction of desired flavors.
  2. Reactivity: Copper’s unique reactivity influences the chemical reactions that occur during distillation, removing unwanted compounds and producing a smoother, refined spirit. It acts as a catalyst, enhancing the formation of desirable aromas and flavors, while minimizing harsh elements.
  3. Sulfur Removal: Copper has a natural affinity for sulfur compounds, which are common in grape-based spirits. These compounds can contribute to off-flavors. Copper alembic stills effectively bind with sulfur, reducing its presence in the final product and resulting in a purer and more delightful spirit.

 

Copper alembic stills reign supreme in the realm of distillation. Their unrivaled ability to enhance aromas, flavors, and purity is evident in the illustrious world of pisco production in Peru. So, the next time you savor a glass of pisco, take a moment to appreciate the mesmerizing artistry behind copper alembic stills, the custodians of perfection in distillation.

The Pisco Puzzle: Unraveling the Alternate Theory of Fish Origins

In the world of spirits, Pisco is renowned for its distinct flavor and rich history. But have you ever wondered about the true origins of the name “Pisco”? For centuries, the prevailing belief has been that it derived from the Quechua word “pishku,” meaning bird. However, a lesser-known theory proposes that “Pisco” may have its roots in the abundance of fish found in the port of Pisco, Peru. Join us on a fascinating journey as we delve into this alternate theory and explore the intriguing connections between fish, birds, and the town of Pisco.

While the traditional interpretation associates “Pisco” with birds, a growing body of research supports the notion that fish played a significant role in shaping the name. It is fascinating to note that the original spelling of “pisco” was “pescu,” derived from the Spanish word for fish, “pescado.” This linguistic connection adds weight to the argument that the term “pisco” may have emerged due to the prominence of fish in the region.

The town of Pisco has a long history as a fishing port. Even during pre-Columbian times, the indigenous people of the region relied on fishing for their sustenance and livelihoods. The Spanish colonizers, upon discovering the abundance of fish in the area, began referring to it as “piscis,” eventually evolving into the name “pisco.” This suggests a direct link between the town’s fishing heritage and the origin of the name.

Archaeological studies have uncovered fishing equipment, including hooks, nets, and harpoons, as well as fish and marine animal remains in the Pisco region dating back to pre-Columbian times. Moreover, historical records from the colonial period indicate that both the indigenous population and the Spanish settlers were engaged in fishing and seafood processing. The indigenous people’s knowledge of the marine environment was highly valued by the Spanish, who relied on them to establish fishing operations. This evidence further reinforces the connection between Pisco and its fishing industry.

While the theory of fish as the origin of “Pisco” is gaining traction, it is important to acknowledge the ongoing debates surrounding its veracity. The Quechua interpretation, linking “Pisco” to birds, still holds weight due to linguistic evidence. The alternate theory of fish and the traditional theory of birds may coexist, both influenced by the interplay between fish, birds, and the unique ecology of the Pisco region.

The origins of the word “Pisco” remain a captivating enigma, with multiple theories vying for attention. As we explore the fascinating alternate theory centered around fish, we are reminded of the region’s rich history, where fishing and the pisco industry likely developed in tandem. Whether you envision birds or fish when savoring a glass of Pisco, the debate adds an intriguing layer to this beloved spirit’s cultural heritage

Chat with our Pisco AI Specialist!

Welcome to PiscoLogía’s specialized AI chatbox! As part of our dedication to spreading knowledge and love for pisco, we created this fantastic AI chatbox to curate accurate answers about our favorite spirit.

Do you want to help us? By using this system, asking specific questions, and providing feedback, our Pisco Specialist will continuously improve and optimize over time. The result will be access to more accurate information and more educational opportunities for all.

Ask our Specialist a question about pisco now!

Mythbusters: How Low Will you Go? It Depends on Your Cultural Perspective

Pisco, the beloved distilled spirit from Peru, has been the subject of many myths and misconceptions. One of the most common myths is that pisco is made at low altitudes, with grapes grown in low coastal valleys. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, for most of us, pisco from Peru is actually a high-altitude spirit.

To shed some light on this topic, we’ve included it in our mythbuster series. But before we dive into the details, it’s important to note that the concept of altitude can vary wildly between individuals, and how you view it will most likely depend on your cultural perspective.

In Peru, the production of pisco is regulated by the Denomination of Origin (D.O.). According to the D.O., pisco must be produced at 6,562 feet or lower from grapes grown at those elevations.

It’s worth noting, however, that the concept of altitude is quite different in the Andean region. While Peruvians consider 6,562 feet to be fairly low, in the U.S., that is a relatively high elevation. For example, Denver, known as the “Mile High City”, has an elevation of 5,280 feet!

To put things into perspective, there are Peruvian piscos made at altitudes higher than Denver in the D.O. of Arequipa in the Caraveli Valley, which is located at 5,837 feet. This means that even though Peruvians consider 6,562 feet to be low, the vast majority of Peruvian pisco is produced at elevations that are considered high by many other standards.

The altitude at which pisco is produced is actually an important factor in its unique flavor profile. The grapes used to make pisco in Peru are grown in the high-altitude regions of the Andes mountains, which gives them a distinctive flavor that is different from grapes grown at lower elevations. Additionally, the lower boiling point at high altitude can help to preserve the delicate flavors and aromas of the grapes during the distillation process, resulting in a spirit that is particularly flavorful and aromatic.

In conclusion, the myth that Peruvian pisco is made at low altitudes is just that – a myth. The reality is that many Peruvian piscos are produced at high altitudes, which is actually an important factor in creating unique flavor profiles. By understanding the impact that altitude can have on the distillation process, we can gain a better appreciation for the unique qualities of pisco and other distilled spirits that are produced in different regions around the world.

Compare Pisco from Peru & 100% Agave Tequila

What are the differences between Pisco from Peru and 100% Agave Tequila? You will find the answers below!

differences tequila pisco, agave spirits, tequila peru

Raw Materials: There are eight heritage grape varieties: Quebranta, Negra Criolla, Mollar, Uvina, Italia, Torontel, Moscatel, and Albilla. There is one agave variety: Tequilana Weber Blue.

Extraction: Grapes are pressed by foot or machine for their sugar-rich juices at 23-24 brix. Only the juices are fermented. Agave hearts are harvested and cooked by hydrolysis in order to simplify complex carbohydrates for fermentation. The cooked agave is milled by stone or machine for its sugar-rich pulp at 22-32 brix.

Fermentation: Only pure grape juice is fermented. There is no water allowed. A maceration period with skins is permitted, though they must be removed before distillation. For tequila, water is added to the sweet pulp during the milling process to facilitate it separation from the agave fibers. Few distillers ferment with fibers, which is the ancient process and is how most mezcal is still largely made.

Distillation: Mosto (the grape juice + yeast) ferments into wine to 14% ABV before it is single-distilled to proof. It must be between 38-48% ABV by norm. Alembic stills (copper) and falcas are heated by direct flame. For tequila, the mosto (agave, pulp, water, and yeast) ferments into an agave beer to 5%- 6% ABV and is distilled at least twice to reach between 35%- 55% ABV. It is proofed with water to 38% FOR MEXICO & 40% ABV for export to the US. It is less common to distill with fibers. Alembic stills (copper and stainless steel) and column stills are steam heated.

Aging: Pisco rests exclusively rests in neutral vessels. It is never aged in wood. Tequila has the following classifications for aging:

BLANCO: Has the option to rest in oak barrels for up to 30 days

JOVEN: Blanco tequila with an aged tequila blended in*

REPOSADO: Minimum of 60 days in oak barrels

AÑEJO: Ages a minimum of one year in oak barrels no larger than 600 liters.

EXTRA AŃEJO: Ages a minimum of three years in oak barrels no larger than 600 liters

*LABEL MUST INDICATE THE YOUNGEST AGE BLENDED INTO THE BATCH.

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