The Tasting Panel magazine

August 2010

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Page 84 of 104

WHAT WE’RE DRINkING Because of political upheaval in Peru in 1968, land was taken away from vineyard owners; grape-growing property was turned over to peasants, who ripped up vines in place of crops such as potatoes, corn and onions. “The wine industry just halted at that point,” explains Diego Loret de Mola, a Peruvian native and president of BevMax International, importer of Pisco Barsol. Loret de Mola, who champions the pisco industry as a spokesperson, mar- keter and educator, was one of the fi rst to revive a top family bodega in Peru. “We bought the facility and turned things around [in 2000]. I have taken it upon myself not to sell pisco, but to sell Peruvian culture in a glass.” The Pisco Sour has been revived thanks to the small but united front of a decidedly new age of artisan pisco producers and importers. “Education is fi rst and foremost,” insists Loret de Mola. “Perhaps I was an inspiration to other producers to jump into the pisco business. I welcome new brands; it’s a better thing to sing in a chorus than to hum alone.” When a distillate is commemorated in the name of a famed cocktail, it’s always good fortune for the recog- nizability of the category. The Pisco Sour identifi es itself and its signature spirit to the trade and to consumers in the most visible—and delicious— way possible. You can create a Martini without gin, but you can’t make a Pisco Sour without pisco. “Pisco brings a fantastic versatility and mixability that is again being embraced by the nation’s top mix- ologists,” points out Loret de Mola. Creative bartenders are thinking outside the traditional Pisco Sour, and that’s been a boost for its development. Pisco is NOT Grappa • Unlike in grappa production, skins and stems are disposed of for pisco-making. • The fresh must from which pisco is distilled is separated from skins and stems. • Only the juice/pulp up to the fi rst press is fermented into the wine for pisco. 84 / the tasting panel / august 2010 Distilled To Proof Peruvian Pisco Pisco O Created in 2008, Pisco O is made exclusively from the aromatic Torontel grape and produced dur- ing Peru’s summer months. “When someone puts their nose to the glass, we want them to be enticed, to know what they are getting,” says Eduardo Diaz, founder of Pisco O. While its big wins at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition opened doors for the brand, Diaz is still struggling to get distributors interested in the category. “Bartenders and those in the mixology scene get it,” he asserts. As of now, Pisco O is available in South Florida, NY and CT. The triple-fi ltered, 80- proof distillate offers up a perfumed aroma of blueberries and chocolate, its delicately satin texture combines with showy and intense fl avors of garden fl owers, satin texture with showy rhubarb and orange peel. The bottle is shaped like an O, the name inspired by what the letter represents: “It signifi es something big, something amazing,” Diaz tells us. We agree. Pure Spirits LLC Barsol From 100% Quebranta grapes, which are in the non-aro- matic category, Barsol emits a subtle nose that ranges from dried fi gs and dates to dark chocolate. On the pal- ate, which is nicely rounded, heady notes of cinnamon, apricot and baked apple lead pleasurably to the long fi nish. Barsol USA Pisco Portón / Hacienda La Caravedo An organic, estate-bottled pisco that reminded us of a fi ne rum, complete with rancio, ginger and molasses. Plums and cherries complement the serious notes, while spiced ginger amps it up all the way to the fi nish. Imported by MHW Ltd. Macchu Pisco Grapey and bright, sweet on the fi rst pass, but a dash of black pepper and basil undertones prevent any cloy- ingness. Macchu Pisco LLC La Diablada A vintage-dated pisco (currently the 2005), custom- blended from a private reserve of Quebranta, Moscatel and Italia grapes. Perfumed from the get-go: white fl owers, jasmine and green tea lead to other Asian exotics. Round and rosy all the way. Melanie da Trinidade-Fisher Chilean Pisco (aka Aguardiente) Tamaya Gran Pisco From the Limarí Valley, one of Chile’s north- ernmost growing regions, comes Tamaya Gran Pisco. Aged in wood, the essenced cedar-chest nose opens up and heads to a creamy palate that exhibits a butterscotch core. On the high notes, a prickly lime pungency echoes a honeyed reposado tequila, but anise and fi r sap, along with a spicy, peppered line-up of nuances, coat the mouth in this spirit’s distinct character. Eco Valley Peru’s PISCO Grapes Non-aromatic: Quebranta, Negra Criolla, Mollar and Uvina (all red) Aromatic: Italia (white), Moscatel (red), Torontel (white) and Albilla (white)

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