lunes, 18 de enero de 2010

Una Historia Acholada


Hace poco me preguntaron como había llegado al mundo del pisco, me quede pensando y fueron apareciendo los recuerdos.

Mi abuelo (El Nonno) y su hermano cuando llegaron al Perú sustituyeron la grapa, un destilado de uva italiano por pisco, usualmente lo tomaban acompañado de una buena taza de café o de un postre la “Pasta Frola”, parecido a un pie de fresa o membrillo; Un perfecto acompañante del pisco.

Pero ahí no queda mi relación con el pisco. A finales de los años ochenta, con uno de
mis hermanos y mis cuñados nos embarcamos en un proyecto agrícola en la Pampa de Villacuri ICA. Era el boom de los espárragos.

Los Sábados día de pago se acercaba el personal a ofrecernos un pisco después de la extenuante jornada de trabajo 35º , todos llevaban consigo una botella de medio litro sin etiqueta y un vaso pequeño para degustar, les preguntaba ¿dónde conseguían este excelente pisco? Cada uno mejor que el otro, a lo que me respondían “Camino al trabajo compramos en la tienda del barrio”, ¡Increíble! Nunca había tomado algo a así, la uva se apreciaba en el paladar, la boca me quedaba dulce con sabor a pasas.

Esa fue mi primera experiencia con el pisco, sobre todo con el pisco quebranta, en Lima no se conocía salvo una o dos marcas que no tenían nada que hacer con los piscos comprados por esta gente trabajadora, que solo buscaban tomarse un pisquito después del trabajo y conversar.

Al poco tiempo, uno de los trabajadores del fundo nos planteo la idea de sembrar parras, teníamos hectáreas libres, así que manos a la obra compramos sarmientos de uva quebranta*. Bueno... eso nos dijeron. De uva no sabíamos mucho, pues igual nuestro entusiasmo era grande.

En una de las tantas visitas al campo, el ingeniero a cargo, me dice: “ Acá hay unas albillas y también toronteles. “¿Cómo? ¿No eran todos los sarmientos de uva quebranta?” ¿Es posible? No-tenia idea de que había otras variedades de uva aparte de la quebranta. ¿Cómo puede ser? Toda una colección de parras ¿De diferentes variedades? En pocas palabras tenia un campo acholado.

Desde ese momento ya estaba comprometido con el pisco, me pareció fascinante el tema, los trabajos de campo con las parras, empalar, sujetarla con los alambres (sistema de conducción tipo guyot), podar, abonar, regar, limpiar, todas esas actividades requerían de un porrón de pisco que se repartía entre los trabajadores.

Nuestra primera cosecha fue destilada en una Bodega en Guadalupe a 5 Km de ICA, en una antigua falca. 7 toneladas de uva de 3 cepas diferentes. Totalmente artesanal la elaboración, la pisa de uva, las botijas, el control de la temperatura del mosto y la calidad del destilado. Todo era nuevo para mí, conocía el tema de espárragos pero de pisco nada. De esa primera experiencia salieron 300 galones, sí 300 galones de pisco. Lo que no me percate en ese entonces y ahora sí, es que de acuerdo a lo que me han enseñado todos estos años, lo que elaboramos ahí fue un acholado.

*En ese tiempo se trabajaba con patrones quebranta, hoy en día se usa el patrón americano para injertar la variedad pisquera.

Escribe: Livio Pastorino Wagner
Fundador de Elpiscoesdelperu.com
Especialista y Catador de Pisco del IDVIP
Universidad de San Martín de Porres
Miembro de la Asociación de Catadores Independientes de Pisco
“ACIP”

martes, 5 de enero de 2010

Tasting pisco with Peru's professionals: A Noches de Cata experience


By Katrina Heimark

As a pisco fan, I have always been impressed by the clear liquid, but when it comes to grading pisco, I was completely lost. I had absolutely no idea what to do. Well, it was for precisely this reason that I was invited to Noches de Cata at the home of Livio Pastorino, author of the website and e-magazine El pisco es del Peru. My inexperience is what prompted the invitation to this bimonthly tasting event in which I hoped to glean a bit of knowledge about the intricacies of pisco.

Turns out, if you are not schooled as an expert is, the whole process can be overwhelming, but certainly fascinating. Upon arriving to Livio’s house, I met his other pisco collaborators, Gladys Romaní, Lucero Villagarcia, and Arturo Inga. These four professional pisco tasters meet every two weeks for tastings and evaluations, and their dedication is something I find very impressive.

All for the love of good pisco
We started off the evening by receiving three blank sheets that had various indications on them. These criteria are used in the most professional of tastings from wines to piscos to brandies, and much more. The simple fact that this small group uses such a high level of professionalism is an indication of their love for good pisco. And they have plenty of bad piscos to name. Explaining that an excellent pisco is very hard to come by, Livio shows me his cupboard full of “embarrassments.” Without naming names, there were some very expensive piscos in the cupboard that did not merit the group’s approval.

After receiving our sheets, we took our places at the immaculate table. Only the necessities were present, and it made for a full table. Calculators for the addition of the scores, bins for the discreet discarding of “tasted” pisco, crackers to change and refresh the flavors in one’s mouth, glasses of water, pens and, of course, three unidentified glasses of pisco.

Thankfully someone explained to me ahead of time that I didn’t have to drink all the pisco. I was very worried about what three powerful cups of the stuff would do to my ability to make it home. Feeling completely like a fish out of water, we began the cata. I was explained the process begins by evaluating the appearance of the pisco, which any good fan of the drink will know must be clear and perhaps a bit shiny.

Next, one is to stick his or her nose into the cup and begin to evaluate the smell of the pisco. Depending on the type (we were evaluating Uvina), different smells should or shouldn’t be present. Finally, one moves on to the taste, which, as one could only guess, should depend on the type of pisco as well. The last step in the process is the rating of how typical the pisco is in regards to the normalcy of the variety in question.

Completely lost in my own perception of pisco (it’s just a strong, clear alcohol, right?), I was impressed by the dedication the other members brought to the table. Complete silence and a precise order was involved with the tasting, and, as I should have expected, I finished my evaluations considerably before the others. I did notice some things, like a stronger alcohol flavor in one, a different acidic smell in another, and a strong, biting sensation from the last.

But when we compared (verbally) our scores and perceptions, I was surprised. The cata professionals indicated that they tasted chocolate, cooked vegetables, coffee, fruits, olives and other flavors that blew my mind! “How can pisco taste like any of those things? It’s pisco! It just tastes like strong firewater!” I thought. However, Gladys explained that when the grapes of pisco are boiled, the different molecules move around, as well as the different flavors from the environment that the grapes are grown in, and cause different flavor sensations to appear. Thankfully it doesn’t mean that someone dropped a handful of chocolate or coffee beans into the mix.
The different types of Uvina that we tried were not of exceptional quality. In fact two of the three were registered as “average” uvinas, and one of the samples barely made it into the “good” category. The scoring of the piscos was based on the different numbers and evaluations given on the sheet I was first handed. For example, in each category the different characteristics of pisco were rated on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the best. Then, it was multiplied by the importance of that characteristic on the scale of pisco as a whole. For example, a pure, clean, and bright pisco would get a rating of 15. The total of all the categories were then added and divided by twenty, to give the pisco a rating between 1 and 5, with five being exceptional.

The process of pisco sampling was interesting, intimidating, fun, and certainly opened my eyes to the world of professional evaluation of what is known as Peru’s national drink. As Lucero put it, “just because pisco is from Peru doesn’t mean that it is good quality. People need to know which piscos are good and which are only mediocre. Then we can truly celebrate the culture of pisco that this country has.” And I think she is exactly right.

So, viva the Noches de Cata, and the work of Livio Pastorino and his friends.

From: http://www.livinginperu.com/gastronomy/features-1354