Pisco Ambassadors was born as an awareness campaign by DelfinoCo, in partnership with Pisco industry-related organizations. We have developed a variety of studies in benefit of the Pisco industry in the USA.
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What is Pisco?
Pisco a brandy destilled from grapes that grow only in certain regions of the Peruvian coast. Peruvian pisco is produced only using copper pot stills rather than continuous stills like single malt Scotch whiskies and unlike most vodkas. Unlike the Chilean variety, Peruvian pisco is never diluted after it is distilled and enters the bottle directly at its distillation strength. Pisco must be aged for a minimum of three months in vessels of "glass, stainless steel or any other material which does not alter its physical, chemical or organic properties". No additives of any kind may be added to the pisco that could alter its flavor, odor, appearance or alcoholic proof.
There are two types of Pisco Puro; aromatics and non-aromatics. There are three types of pisco, Puro (Pure), Acholado (a Blend) and Mosto Verde (Green Must).
Pisco has a long history
The historian Lorenzo Huerto took notice of the first production of a destilled fermented grape spirit (Pisco) in the region around the costal town Pisco in the Ica Valley during the late 16th century. Precise written references of a brandy produced around the city Pisco are related to Sir Francis Drake in the year 1580.
This implies that Pisco is one of the oldest distilled spirits on the South American continent.
To maintain the high quality of Peruvian Pisco, the Peruvian government has set up strict legislation concerning all aspects involved in the production of Peruvian Pisco. The intention is to ensure that only the proven best practices in the production of distilled spirits are applied. Peruvian Pisco legislation prohibits any treatment of the distilled spirit that could influence the original taste. Peruvian Pisco has to fulfil a purity law which shall guarantee the constant, high quality of Peruvian Pisco and is unique in the world of grape spirits.
Again, a single varietal Pisco made with one of the following aromatic grape varietals; Albilla, Italia, Moscatel or Torontel. These grapes provide a great olfactory experience in comparison to it’s non-aromatic sisters. The aromas tend to be floral, fruit forward and in the mouth they provide an even further sensory experience.
Must be distilled from one single non-aromatic grape varietal like the Quebranta, Mollar or Negra Criolla and sometimes Uvina (hailing from the valley of Lunahuana). The reason this pisco is classified as non-aromatic is because the grapes used have very little aroma when compared to their aromatic sisters. Their gift is not in the nose but in the mouth, meaning their splendor can be appreciated more so when tasted then when smelled. So, unlike a great glass of wine, where the nose is part of the experience of tasting, the non-aromatic piscos aren’t anything to write home about in the nose.
Acholado Pisco is a blend of two or more accepted grape varietals (aromatic or non-aromatic). The taste of any acholado varies by producer because there is no set way of production, meaning you can blend whichever varietals you want and you can use whatever percentage of each you would like. This is where the family recipes come into play, that have been passed down through the generations. Each blend of acholado tastes different due to the quality of grape and the way it was blended (before distillation or after distillation).
This pisco is different due to it’s distillation process. To make Mosto Verde, the fermentation process is interrupted and then the juice is distilled. Normally, to make pisco, you let the fermentation process turn all the sugar content in the grape juice to alcohol. When elaborating Mosto Verde, you distill when there is still sugar present in the juice, which results in a product that is velvety and smoother on the palate. This pisco is usually made using Quebranta or Italia grapes but you can really use any varietal.