This is the 7th post of a series of mythbusters to clarify misconceptions about Peruvian 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.
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/.