This is the 5th post of a series of mythbusters to clarify misconceptions about Peruvian pisco.
It is not true that the best pisco comes from Ica. The other 4 regions all produce equally impressive, high-quality brandies.
We have heard the misconception that the best pisco comes from Ica, the largest Denomination of Origin in Peru. Many good piscos are produced in Ica, but we would like to tout the caliber of brandies from the other 4 regions: Lima, Arequipa, Moquegua and Tacna.
Pisco is a distilled wine. Just like wine, many factors will determine a pisco’s quality, including the viticulture practices used to raise the grapes, the skill of the producer and the terroir of the vineyard.
Peru’s unique terrain lends itself to diverse terroirs. For example, the highest vineyards with pisco grapes are found in the Caravelí Valley at 1,779 meters in the D.O. of Arequipa. Vineyards at this altitude in the Andes are endowed with limestone soils and cool nights, very different conditions than the coast, where nights are warmer, soils are sandy and ocean salinity affects the grapes. When you add in more variables like distillation techniques, one can see how Peruvian pisco displays such a broad gamut of aromas and flavors.
We would encourage people to train their palates to discover how different terroirs shine through in Peruvian pisco. Instead of associating quality with entire regions, we want to change the conversation and start evaluating how viticulture practices, the distiller’s techniques and terroir express themselves in the bottle. In the end, the consumer gets to decide which pisco is the best for him or her.