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