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:

 

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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.

 

Myth #5- The best pisco comes from Ica

This is the 5th post of a series of mythbusters to clarify misconceptions about Peruvian pisco.

 

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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.

 

A sommelier talks Peruvian Pisco: Part 3

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This is part 3 of a series of interviews with Fernando Gonzales-Lattini, a sommelier specialized in pisco, vigneron and producer of premium wine in the Peruvian Andes.

You are interested in terroir and how it affects a wine. What can you say about the terroir at Azpitia?  

“Azpitia is interesting because it has sandy soils that can be extremely challenging for viticulture. Nati does an excellent job of working with the conditions there to grow high quality grapes. PiscoLogía’s vineyards in the Mala Valley are at a higher altitude and they are strategically located to allow them to be cooled by the Pacific Ocean breeze. This effect gives the grapes more concentrated flavors and better acidity. Higher quality grapes make a better quality wine, which in turn, makes a better pisco.

I also appreciate Azpitia because it is a very small production region. There are maybe 100 hectares maximum of small farms. That small size, in addition to its unique terroir, makes the pisco crafted there even more rare and special.”

 

You have observed Nati during production and you have tasted her pisco. What can you say about Nati as a professional?  

“I admire Nati for many reasons. First, she is so meticulous in her viticulture practices. In the winemaking world, everyone knows that to make a good wine, you must start in the vineyards. Only high-quality grapes can make a good wine. In the case of pisco, distillation is just one step further in the process. That means the way you care for your grapes translates directly into your pisco. Many pisco producers in Peru buy grapes, but PiscoLogía is made from 100% estate-grown grapes. That allows for Nati to have strict quality control throughout the entire process.

I also like how Nati adheres to tradition and she strictly follows the Denomination of Origin. By demanding a high quality product and never compromising her standards, she is setting the bar for other producers in all of Peru. 

Finally, Nati and her team hand select every grape that goes into every bottle of pisco. They also use selective pressing techniques to maximize each grape, but without adding bitterness from the seeds. Nothing is arbitrary in her process. The methodical steps she takes really shine through in the final result- a pisco of Premier Grand Cru quality.”

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