¿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.

 

Chilcano-The Peruvian Moscow Mule

chilcano, pisco cocktail, peruvian pisco, piscologia

 

Unrivaled in its simplicity, the chilcano is perhaps Peru’s most iconic cocktail. The origin of this delicious mix of pisco, ginger ale and lime is a mystery. While some believe this famous cocktail has Italian roots, others dispute that notion. We may never know how the chilcano came about, but we can most definitely enjoy its effortless preparation and refreshing, delicious tang.

Here is Kami’s recipe for the chilcano, Peru’s version of the Moscow Mule, which uses ginger beer, giving it a unique spiciness for your enjoyment.

 

CHILCANO

2 oz PiscoLogía Pisco Acholado

3 Lime wedges

2 dash Angostura bitters

Ginger beer

Muddle lime wedges, build over light ice, top with ginger beer

 

 

Can you drink pisco straight?

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:

 

pisco tasting, can you drink pisco straight, piscologia, peruvian pisco

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: https://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.

 

¿Cómo se hace el pisco peruano? El proceso de Destilación

En esta entrada de blog, explicaremos la segunda parte del proceso de producción de pisco: la destilación.

La destilación es un proceso que separa los componentes de un líquido a través de la evaporación y condensación. Para destilar PiscoLogía, Nati usa un alambique de cobre de 300 litros. Como se ve en la foto abajo, tiene forma de caldera con una olla donde se pone el mosto fermentado a destilar. En el caso del pisco peruano, la destilación convierte el vino en aguardiente transparente.

 

como se hace el pisco peruano, alambique, pisco peruano, piscologia

El alambique se calienta por debajo con un calentador de gas, que nos ayuda a controlar la temperatura de la destilación. Cuando hierve, el líquido empieza a evaporarse. Los vapores suben por el cuello de cisne y entran en un serpentín sumergido en agua, donde se enfrían y se condensan, regresando a su estado líquido.

Siempre hay que eliminar las impurezas al principio y al final del proceso (por ejemplo, el alcohol metílico) para que quede el alcohol de más calidad. Como se sabe, el pisco peruano se destila sólo una vez, así que Nati tiene una sola oportunidad de hacer una destilación perfecta.

 

¿Cómo se hace el pisco peruano?

En esta entrada de blog, explicaremos la primera parte del proceso de producción de pisco: la cosecha y la fermentación.

 

 

         Peruvian pisco, quebranta, acholado, how to make pisco, what is pisco, craft pisco, azpitia, types of pisco, harvest        Peruvian pisco, quebranta, acholado, how to make pisco, what is pisco, craft pisco, azpitia, types of pisco, harvest

Buscamos alcanzar una madurez fisiológica completa en las uvas para decidir la fecha de cosecha. Cuando los niveles de Brix llegan a 23°-26° y la fruta tiene un acidez de 3.4PH (gracias a la brisa del Océano Pacífico), nuestras uvas están listas para cosechar, sujeta a que los otros factores estén maduros también (hollejos, semillas y raspones).

 

 

 

Peruvian pisco, quebranta, acholado, how to make pisco, what is pisco, craft pisco, azpitia, types of pisco, harvest

Flor y Samuel, quienes nos ayudan a cuidar las uvas, juntan a los miembros de su familia en preparación para la cosecha. Con un pronóstico del tiempo de 28°C y una humedad de 69%, va a ser un día caluroso y bochornoso. Para evitar el calor, empezamos a cosechar a las 5:00 de la mañana.

 

 

 

 

        Peruvian pisco, quebranta, acholado, how to make pisco, what is pisco, craft pisco, azpitia, types of pisco, harvest, piscologia        Peruvian pisco, quebranta, acholado, how to make pisco, what is pisco, craft pisco, azpitia, types of pisco, harvest, piscologia

Para mantener la tradición, cosechamos a mano. Eso nos permite seleccionar cada uva que entra en nuestro pisco.

 

 

 

Peruvian pisco, quebranta, acholado, how to make pisco, what is pisco, craft pisco, azpitia, types of pisco, harvest, piscologia        Peruvian pisco, quebranta, acholado, how to make pisco, what is pisco, craft pisco, azpitia, types of pisco, harvest, piscologia

Se despalillan las uvas

 

 

 

Peruvian pisco, quebranta, acholado, how to make pisco, what is pisco, craft pisco, azpitia, types of pisco, harvest, piscologia

y estrujamos el jugo con los pies para extraer el jugo sin romper las semillas que pueden dar un sabor amargo a nuestro jugo.

 

 

 

Peruvian pisco, quebranta, acholado, how to make pisco, what is pisco, craft pisco, azpitia, types of pisco, harvest, piscologia

Después realizamos un prensado suave para separar el mosto de las partes sólidas

 

 

Peruvian pisco, quebranta, acholado, how to make pisco, what is pisco, craft pisco, azpitia, types of pisco, harvest, piscologia, fermentation

Nati le pone un porcentaje menor de cáscaras al jugo, para asegurar que las levaduras nativas de Azpitia estén presentes. Para lograr una fermentación optima utilizamos las levaduras nativas proveniente de nuestras uvas.

 

 

 

Peruvian pisco, quebranta, acholado, how to make pisco, what is pisco, craft pisco, azpitia, types of pisco, harvest, piscologia, fermentation

En 7-10 días, el jugo se fermenta y el vino está listo para la destilación, que explicaremos en la siguiente entrada de blog.

 

Craft Pisco, The Consumer and The Community

“Craft” is a term that is over-used and unregulated, making it difficult to differentiate between what is truly craft and what isn’t. We believe PiscoLogía is the quintessential craft pisco because every part of our process is completed through handmade, artisanal practices.  To us, our craft methods are important not only because they build the foundation for a premium pisco, but because they provide benefits for those who help make PiscoLogía.

 

craft pisco, piscologia, peruvian pisco pisco

Our Craft Practices Provide Economic Benefits for the Community

Using human hands to complete every part of our production process means more economic benefits to the community in Azpitia. We do everything by hand, from planting to pruning, to harvesting, crushing and bottling. The more people we require, the more families we provide for.

We also believe the lack of intervention from machines guarantees a higher quality product. For example, hand harvesting allows us to select every grape that goes into our pisco. It also allows us to harvest in small batches so the grapes reach optimal sugar levels to facilitate fermentation with native yeasts.

 

Positive Environmental Impact

Craft methods applied in the vineyards benefit the environment. We don’t use industrial viticulture methods, fertilizers or excess chemicals, allowing us to reduce our carbon footprint and protect our oceans and rivers. Instead of machines or pumps, we save energy through a system of gravity-flow surface irrigation to collect runoff from the Andes to sparingly irrigate our vines.

 

Non-Intervention Winemaking

To make a good pisco, you must first start with a good wine.  We never use commercial yeasts or enzymes in our winemaking process. Instead, natural ambient yeasts ferment our grape juice. We feel that non-intervention methods provide us with a wine that fully expresses the terroir of our vineyards, something you can taste in every bottle of pisco.

 

Small Batch

Small batch means that Nati can demonstrate her skill and love of pisco-making with every distillation. Using a 300L copper pot still allows her to control distillation more easily and conserve energy. Every batch is unique and reflects the hard work of everyone who helped make it, the characteristics of the harvest and the artistic skill of Nati.

How Strong is Pisco?

how strong is pisco, pisco alcohol content, piscologia, peruvian pisco

Nati Contemplating Measurements During Distillation

 

According to the Denomination of Origin in Peru, Peruvian pisco must have an alcohol content between 38% and 48%. This makes pisco a hard liquor, like vodka, whiskey, rum and scotch (Types of Alcohol, 2019). Using science and intuition, Nati distills to keep measurements of our pisco at or near 42%. We think her formula maximizes the balance of flavors, aromas and alcohol content of PiscoLogía.

Peruvian pisco is distilled to proof, giving the distiller only one chance to reach the desired alcohol content. Unlike Chilean pisco, which may be distilled more than once and then watered down, nothing may be added to Peruvian pisco. This is one of many reasons why it is an especially unique spirit.

 

 

Source:

 

“What Types of Alcohol Are Considered Hard Liquor?” Alcohol.org, 3 July 2019, www.alcohol.org/statistics-information/hard-liquor/.

What does pisco taste like?

pisco taste, what does pisco taste like, quebranta

What does pisco taste like? 

 

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:  https://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!

Myth #8- Pisco is like grappa

This is the 8th post of a series of mythbusters to clarify misconceptions about Peruvian pisco.

pomace brandy, pisco vs. grappa, peruvian pisco, piscologia

 

Both pisco and grappa are grape distillates. However, besides sharing the same base ingredient of vitis vitifera, these spirits have very little in common.

 

The grapes used to make grappa and pisco pass through very different processes before turning into brandy. Berries in grappa production are crushed and used to make wine.  After winemaking, the leftover skins, seeds and stalks are repurposed, turning the pomace into grappa via bain-marie or steam distillation. The Italian clear spirit can be aged in barrels or it can be bottled right away.  

Peruvian pisco, on the other hand, is made from grapes that are grown and selected solely for pisco production. After crushing, the juice is collected and then fermented before distillation. Unlike the grapes used for grappa, the stems, seeds and skins of Peruvian pisco grapes are discarded. After distillation, it must rest a minimum of 3 months, but never in barrels, ensuring that pisco is always a clear spirit.

There are many other differences between the two grape-based spirits. We have summarized them in this pisco vs. grappa chart:

 

Peruvian Pisco
Grappa

A brandy made from the fruit juice only. Skins, pips and stalks are discarded before distillation.

 

A pomace brandy. The fermented skins, seeds and stalks leftover from winemaking are distilled.  

 

Must rest in neutral casks a minimum of 3 months.

 

Can be bottled after distillation or aged in barrels.  

 

To be called pisco, it must be made in one of the 5 pisco-producing regions in Peru, from grapes grown in those regions.

 

 

To be called grappa in the European Union, it must be made from pomace from Italian grapes and distilled in Italy, the Italian part of Switzerland or San Marino.  

 

No water is needed to aid with fermentation, but no water is allowed in Peruvian pisco post-distillation.

 

Fermentation and distillation must occur on the pomace—no added water allowed.  

 

 

Usually copper pot, direct flame heated. Sometimes a falca still is used.

 

Uses bain-marie or steam distillation so pomace doesn’t burn.  

 

Made from any of the 8 varieties permitted by the D.O. in Peru.

 

Made from any grape variety used in wine-making.  

 

Has both single variety piscos (puros) and blends (acholados).

 

Has both single variety grappas and blends (polivitigni).  

 

No age classification

 

 

Has age classification:

Affinata- less than 12 months in barrels

Invecchiata/Vecchia- 12-18 months

Stravecchia/Riserva-more than 18 months.

 

No flavoring or infusions allowed during production.

 

Allows for flavoring (infusion post-distillation).

 

Distilled to proof.

 

Watered down after distillation to reach desired proof.  

 

 

Want to take this chart to go? Download the differences between pisco and grappa here: Pisco vs. Grappa

 

 

Source:  

 

“Poli Grappa Museum.” Poli Grappa Museum – Grappa and Brandies Tales, www.grappa.com/eng/index.php.

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/.

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