miércoles, 31 de diciembre de 2014

In the land of Pisco... “Pisco touches Heaven”

 Last week we were Tasting at the XX National Competition of the 2013 Pisco Harvest. It was truly one of the best Pisco competitions in which I have had the honor to participate as a Taster. The samples were impeccably presented, the service was impeccable as well as the tasting room. The event took place in the Westin Lima Hotel and Convention Center in San Isidro, one of the best and most elegant Hotels in Peru and South America. As the Master of Ceremonies and great friend and Pisco aficionado said during the inauguration, “Today Pisco will touch heaven,” and it did. The Regulating Council of the Pisco Denomination of Origin organized the event, and the President of the Competition’s Organizing Committee was Engineer Lyris Monasterio and Ms. Paula Rina Elias was the Tasting Director. The event also had, for the second time, the welcome presence of an observer from the International Organization of Vine and Wine (OIV). Peru pertains to this organization, and this time observer was Ms. Regina Vanderlinde from Brazil. 

We had a delay regarding the competition, which should have taken place in early May; however, due to the change in the Minister of Produce, the event date was cancelled. However, as they say, every cloud has a silver lining. 

So, starting on July 16, we began to evaluate the presented samples: 271 from the five Pisco regions. The environment inside the tasting room was ideal: with good natural and artificial light, 7 tasting tables with everything we needed to fulfill our roles, and 6 tasters at each.

Preference was also given to the Tasters from Provinces that are Aspiring to be Official, which is why we did not have, for example, in the case of Tacna more Tasters than in Lima. In general, there was very good order to the event, which ensured that its success was guaranteed.
Something important to highlight is that every time we have a competition, all of the Tasters sign a sworn declaration that indicates if the Tasters are producers or master distillers, and if we are participating in the competition with samples. In those cases, the Taster is not allowed to taste at the tables where his or her Pisco is being evaluated, and is made to evaluate Piscos of other varieties.

The first days were dedicated to the Regional Competition, and we evaluated the best Piscos from the five Pisco regions: Tacna, Moquegua, Arequipa, Ica and Lima independently. From there, approximately 30% of the winners from each category go on to participate with zero points in the National competition which took place on that Friday, the 18th. This time there were 111 samples, which resulted in 46 Piscos that received awards, two Grand Gold Medals for the Quebranta Pisco “Paca Paca” from Ica and the Green Must Acholado Pisco “El Sarcay de Azpitia” from Lima.

The celebration, as happens every year, ended in a great party in the Pisco Festival which took place in the Museum of Contemporary Art (MAC) in Barranco. There we shared our experience and enjoyed the best Piscos from Peru and the world.

See you in 2015,

Livio Pastorino Wagner
Editor of the magazine elpiscoesdelperu.com, Pisco bilingual magazine, Specialist and Pisco Taster, Sommelier, Registered in the Pisco Tasters Registry of the CRDO-Pisco No. RCO-034-2011,Co-Anchor in the Dionisos Radio Program “Let’s Talk about Pisco,” Professor at the Institute of Wine and Pisco. Member of the Panel of Tasters “Pisco Tasting Nights” which publishes the blog: www.nochesdecata.blogspot.com

Translated by Katrina Heimark

July 2014  


miércoles, 24 de diciembre de 2014

In the land of Pisco... Guest Producer

We are glad to have the presence of Mr. Cesar Antonio Chiarella  Yacub, Manager of the bodega “Pisco Don Cesar” from Tacna, for our interview of the producer of the month. 

1.-Good Morning Mr. Chiarella. We would like to know where your bodega Pisco Don Cesar is located. 
Good morning. Before starting this interesting interview, 
I would like to thank you for the deference you have had with our bodega and congratulate you for the marvelous initiative for creating a means of information where the protagonist is our TODAY, TOMORROW AND ALWAYS PERUVIAN PISCO. Our Bodega is located in the Alta Street in Lima, number 1381 in the heroic city of Tacna. 

2.-Which year and how did the bodega Pisco Don Cesar form? 
In 1982. Don Cesar Alejandro Chiarella Arce and his wife Violeta Yacub de Chiarella founded it. It is a beautiful story about how the bodega was born, and it fills me with pride and nostalgia. In 1981, a good friend of my parents, Giovanni Terlevick, a Yugoslav, came for a visit to my parents’ house. He had lived in Peru for many years, and when he entered the house, the first thing he noticed were the proudly-displayed grapes, beautiful clusters of the marvelous Negra Criolla grape, typical of the Tacna area.
He asked my dad what that type of grape was used for. My dad responded that some was eaten at home and the rest was given away to family and friends. One of the days in which Mr. Giovanni was in Tacna, he had lunch at the Rancho San Antonio restaurant, which was also owned by the family. My parents had many antiques decorating the restaurant, and in the bar, a small still from Chincha was proudly displayed. Once he was back in the house, Mr. Giovanni asked my dad why they didn’t distill some Pisco, seeing as we had the grapes in the house and the still in the restaurant. The next day they harvested, crushed the grapes and left them to ferment while they maintained the small still. Once the must was at its optimum quality, they began to distill the Pisco. Since the still was small, it took a long time for the Pisco to come out of the still. Once it did, the first drops were crystal clear and of extraordinary pure quality from Tacna grapes. Later, we called it Pisco Don Cesar.

Later, my dad, advised by his good friend and another producer from Tacna (Don Pedro Liendo Potales), implemented a complete bodega. Proudly, it was the most complete bodega in Tacna.
3.-What are the factors that are important to you in the distillation of a good Pisco? 
The production of a good Pisco is not started in the bodega, but rather in the field with the care and good management of the plants and the soil. There is a say that goes “good grapes give good Pisco,” and that is why a producer must closely follow the cultivation, harvest, and transportation processes. This must be done hand in hand with the knowledge of the person in charge of the distillation, good resting tanks and above all, the care that one puts into their work. These are the fundamental factors to obtain a quality product.

4.-As a producer of “Pisco Don Cesar,” what is, in your opinion, a characteristic that a good Pisco must have?
The characteristics are as follows:

Appearance: It must be clear, clean and bright.
Color: Without color

Pure Pisco of non-aromatic grapes:
Slightly alcoholic, the raw material of origin does not predominate, clean with structure and balance, free from any strange elements.

Pure Pisco from aromatic grapes:
Slightly alcoholic, reminds one of the raw material it is derived from, ripe or overly ripe fruits, intense, full, refined perfume, structured and balanced, free from any strange elements.

Acholado Pisco:
Slightly alcoholic, intense, faintly reminds of the raw material it is derived from, ripe or overly ripe fruits, very fine, structured and balanced and free from any strange element.

Green Must Pisco:
Slightly alcoholic, intense, the aroma of the raw materials predominates, or might faintly remind one of the ingredients, light ripe or overly ripe fruits, delicate with structure and balance, free from any strange element.
Flavor: Pure Pisco from non-aromatic grapes:
Slightly alcoholic, light flavor, the aroma of the raw ingredients does not predominate, clean with structure and balance, free from any strange element.

Pure Pisco from aromatic grapes.
Slightly alcoholic, flavor that reminds one of the raw ingredients, intense, with structure and balance, free from any strange element.
Acholado Pisco:
Slightly alcoholic, light flavor that reminds one of the raw ingredients, very refined intensity, with structure and balance, free from any strange element.

Green Must Pisco:
Slightly alcoholic, the aroma of the raw ingredients predominates, very fine and delicate, velvety, with structure and balance, free from any strange element.

5.-What varieties of grapes do you distill for Pisco Don Cesar?
For the distillation of pure non-aromatic grapes, we use the Negra Criolla variety,
tell us approximately how many produers you think the Tacna regoin has?
Tacna, if I‘m a grape that is originally from the old valley of Tacna (Calana, Pachia, Pocollay, and Calientes).
For the distillation of Pure Pisco from aromatic grapes, we use Italia grape from the fertile valley of Magollo, a grape of exceptional quality, with an unmatchable flavor and aroma, which is unique in Peru.

For the distillation of Acholado Pisco, we use three grape varieties: Negra Criolla, Italia and Quebranta in equal proportion.

For the distillation of Green Must Pisco, we use the Negra Criolla grape. This year we will produce a Green Must Pisco with Italia grapes.

6. What time of year is the VENDIMIA in Tacna?
It generally takes place in March. 
7.-There are many regional Piscos that are not very common in Lima despite the fact that their consumption has increased. Why do you think that is?
That’s true. I think that it is particularly due to the operating costs. In order to be in Lima, producers must have a distributer and reach supermarkets and large liquor stores, which signifies high operating costs. I think, and I will seriously propose it someday, that just as there is the fruit market, the potato market, Gamarra and other large emporiums, there should also be a place where we can find all the Pisco producers in Peru.

8.-What future project does Pisco Don Cesar have in mind?
Continue to produce Pisco with our demonstrated quality. Each year we will produce more, and some day be able to export each day a higher volume.

9.-In your experience, what limitations are there for the industry in regards to the export of Peruvian Pisco?
Year by year Peru exports more and more Pisco. The moment will come in which the request will be extraordinarily high due to the quality. I worry about where will we get the raw materials when this becomes reality? In Tacna, for example, the grape plantations have grown very little; we must take these matters into our own hands.

10.-What prizes has Pisco Don Cesar won?
Many regional and national prizes, among which the most important was being the Champions with our Pure Pisco in 2001, when only one producer was awarded with a gold medal. In 2005 we won the gold medal for our aromatic Italia Pisco.

11.-Could you tell us approximately how many Pisco producers there are in the Tacna region?
If I am not mistaken, Tacna has 14 producers with the Pisco Denomination of Origin.

12.-Just out of curiosity, have you read our March bulletin?
I read your bulletin every month!

I ask because of the following. In the section “Pisco in the World” we have published a letter from a Peruvian who lives in Cochabamba, Bolivia. Being so close to Tacna, how is it that we can’t satisfy this demand with our Pisco? How can we help? How can we reach these markets? Thanks so much for your answer.

We have been sending our Pisco to Bolivia for consulates to use. The price of their distilled alcohols is cheap, and it is difficult to compete because of the price, especially for quality. Another inconvenience is the distribution; they do not have ways on land to reach these routes. We hope that once the transoceanic road is complete in the future that we will be able to bring our product to all Bolivia. 

Translated by Katrina Heimark

Pisco bilingual magazine

jueves, 18 de diciembre de 2014

In the land of Pisco... Regulating Council of Pisco Denomination of Origin. Reinforcing a National Identity

Ask for Pisco, Request Pisco! Enjoy Pisco
The Regulating Council of Pisco Denomination of Origin  (CR-DOPISCO) is the name that the National Association of
Pisco Producers has been given so that they function as such and represent the beneficiaries of the Pisco
Denomination of Origin (DO-PISCO), among other obligations. They verify, care for and defend Pisco’s quality, both in Peru and abroad. The organization’s seat is in the city of Pisco in the department of Ica, Peru.

CR-DOPISCO was authorized to function by the National Institute of Consumer Protection and Protection of Intellectual Property: INDECOPI, via Resolution Number 002378-2011/DSD-INDECOPI on February 14, 2011.

With the objective of integrating Pisco into the vine production chain and involving those members in CR-DOPISCO’s decisions, the Regulation of the DO-PISCO possess four (4) principle registries, which are:
1.Producers, 2.Vineyard owners, 3.Bodegas, and
4. Tasters. Additionally, there are other secondary registries, among them is “Friends of Pisco,” which are entirely at the orders of anyone interested.
 The principal functions of the CR-DOPISCO are:
Guarantee the authenticity of Pisco for the consumer, by monitoring and controlling origin, production and quality of Pisco for its commercialization in both the national and international markets.

Generate a system of quality control including the necessary analytical an organoleptic exams.

Act with legal capacity in representation and in defense of the general interests of the DO-PISCO.

Keep track of annual Pisco production.

Pisco Process of Production
Harvest: When the Pisco grapes have reached their optimal maturity, in other words, when the adequate sugar concentration has been reached (which is measured and given in degrees Brix), the harvest or collection of grapes proceeds. The grapes are then transported to the bodega for weighing.

De-stemming and Crushing: Consists of separating the grapes from the individual stems and the stalk. The individual grapes are then crushed to free the juice or must.

Maceration: The grape must soaks along with the grape skins and seeds for a period of time (a few hours to much longer) before fermentation. This takes place as a way to extract the typical aromas from each Pisco grape.

Pressing: After the maceration and through the use of a press, the solids and the liquids are separated from the must, which is placed into a tank for the initial
fermentation stages.

Fermentation: Consists of the natural transformation of the grape sugars from the must into alcohol and carbon dioxide due to yeast. Next, the recently fermented must is taken to be distilled.

Distillation: One of the most important stages in the production of Pisco. It consists of heating the recently fermented must until its volatile components have evaporated and later, once cooled, are recovered in liquid form through condensation. This process takes place in a still or in a warm-wine still made from copper. In the latter, the distillation is direct and finishes at the alcoholic proof that the producer establishes.

Aging: The Pisco must age for at least three (3) months in a sterile tank in order for the organoleptic characteristics to really develop and allow for the positive evolution of all components. Before the Pisco is bottled, it is filtered as a way to eliminate impurities from the ceramic or glass storage tanks. Bodegas generally bottle Pisco at 42 proof.

Pisco, National Drink of Peru and Symbol of Identity and Peruvian  Heritage

Pisco is the product obtained exclusively through the distillation of fresh “Pisco Grape” must, which has been recently fermented via methods that maintain the principal traditional qualities.

It is protected by the Denomination of Origin (DO-PISCO. Its production and commercialization are subject to the fulfillment of the Regulation of the DO-PISCO as of 14 February, 2011, and as administered by the Regulating Council of the Pisco Denomination of Origin.

For more information, visit our website at: www.consejoreguladordelpisco.pe

What is the Denomination of Origin?
The Denomination of Origin is understood as the name of a country, region or a specific place that is used to designate a product that is native to that place. This product’s qualities and characteristics are due exclusively and essentially from the geographical environment, which includes natural factors such as geography, climate, raw materials, etc. This also includes human factors such as history, tradition, labor, art, ingenuity, etc.

This description is of Pisco in Peru, such as Tequila in Mexico,Champagne and Cognac in France, Brandy from Sherry in Spain and many other Denominations of Origin around the world.

Departments or Pisco Zones.

 Pisco Production Zones
The geographical zones as indicated by the regulation of the Denomination of Origin of Pisco are: The valleys along the coasts of the departments of Lima, Ica, Arequipa, Moquegua and the Valleys of Locumba, Sama and Caplina from the department of Tacna.

Geographical area that extends along the Peruvian coastline, with elevation ranging from 0 and 2000 meters above sea level.

Pisco must present the following characteristics: 

View: Transparent, clear, clean and shiny

Nose: slightly alcoholic, should remind one of the grape used to make the Pisco. Able to identify mature or overly mature fruits, intense, very refined, with structure and balance, without any strange elements.

Mouth: Slightly alcoholic with a flavor that should remind one of the grape used to make the Pisco. It should be persistent, intense, very refined, velvety, with structure and balance, without any strange elements.

Varieties of Pisco Grapes
Pisco should be made exclusively using the so called “Pisco Grapes” cultivated in the recognized production zones. There are eight Pisco grapes, their species and cultivation zones are:

Pisco Grape            Species                 Cultivation Zone
Quebranta           Vitis vinifera L.     All Pisco Zones
Negra Criolla        Vitis vinífera L.     All Pisco Zones
Mollar                 Vitis vinifera L.     All Pisco Zones
Italia                  Vitis vinifera L.     All Pisco Zones
Moscatel             Vitis vinifera L.     All Pisco Zones
Albilla                 Vitis vinifera L.     All Pisco Zones
Torontel              Vitis vinifera L.     All Pisco Zones
Uvina                  Vitis aestivalis             *
                          M.-cinerea E.x
                          Vitis vinifera L.    

*Cultivation and production are limited only to the districts of Lunahuana, Pacaran and Zuñiga in the province of Cañete, in the department of Lima.

Regulatory Council of the Pisco Denomination of Origin
Av. Benavides 2426 of. 203 Miraflores Lima 18, Peru
Telefax: (511) 2664626
National Association of Pisco Producers
RUC: 20392665715
Look for us in Facebook as: Consejo Regulador de la Denominación de Origen Pisco.

National Commission of Pisco: CONAPISCO
The Authority of Public-Private coordination that brings together producers, associations and instutions that promote the development of the Pisco production chain, which was constituted via the Supreme Decree Nº 014-2003-PRODUCE from May 28, 2003 and is presided over by the Vice Ministerial Office from the Micro and Small Businesses and Industry of the Ministry of Production.
Translated by Katrina Heimark


December 2013

jueves, 11 de diciembre de 2014

In he land of Pisco... The tiny bottles of Pisco

Something that surprises me about my city is that when one goes to the liquor store, one can’t find tiny bottles of Pisco, or ”chatas” (Peruvian slang for “short”). There are these small bottles for rum! However, when asking the liquor store if there is demand for the small Pisco bottles, they tell me there is, that certain producers such as Quierolo, Vargas, De los Reyes, and others produce them, but their distribution is limited.

The Pisco “chata” costs no more than 5 to 7 soles, and allows us to differentiate between different qualities and types of Pisco. If these little bottles were designed to educate and inform, it would give access to those of us who think twice before buying a bottle that costs 19 soles or more. Every time I go to the store I see a bottle that is priced at 64 soles, and believe me, I always say: That sounds great! When I get enough money I’ll buy it. But year after year I still see the same bottle on the same shelf. I’m sure that I’m not the only one who would like to drink that Pisco!

When we talk about Pisco, we talk about a feeling of identity, of a Peruvian culture that brings something to the world. We should promote the consumption of Pisco, especially those sectors that are more economically limited.

I would like to offer my services of theater, puppets, miming to some Pisco company in exchange for their products. We will bring our spectacles to the Peruvian Community in Rio de Janeiro for Peruvian Independence Day in the II Metropolitan Encounter: The Mimes Live! Rio de Janeiro Lima July 2007. I would love to bring some of my Brazilian colleagues some Peruvian Pisco!


My proposal is up for grabs!

Experimental School for Mimes

Translated by Katrina Heimark


jueves, 4 de diciembre de 2014

In the land of Pisco... Pisco and Cusine "Suspiro a la limeña"

A Little History...
Suspiro a la limeña

The “suspiro de limeña,” also known as the suspiro limeño or the suspiro a la limeña, is a traditional dessert of Peruvian cuisine that  originates from the Peruvian capital of Lima. 

The origins of the dessert began in the middle of the 19th Century in the city of Lima, Peru; however, it has a clear Islamic influence. The first information that we have in regard to the production of the dessert is summarized in the “New American Dictionary of Cooking” from the year 1869, under the name of Manjar Real del Perú. 

The story of its production began with the wife of the poet José Gálvez Barrenechea, also known as Amparo Ayarez, who invented the recipe. The poet named the dessert “because it is smooth and sweet like the sigh of a woman,” therefore today it is known as the “sigh of the woman from Lima,” or suspiro de limeña.

It was presented as a thick cream made of milk, almonds and sugar; made of ingredients of Iberian and Arab origin.

Manjar blanco, as it is described above, was considered to be a medieval dish that the Spanish contributed to the rest of Europe. In France it was called mangier blanc," and in Italy "Blanc mangieri." In Peru there were two versions of menjar blanc: one with manjar blanco and chicken breast, with sugar and thickened with rice flour; and the other with manjar blanco without the chicken, and only with sugar and flour. From the second version is where the Suspiro de Limeña was born.
Another element of the Suspiro de Limeña is the meringue, a dessert also brought to Peru by the Spanish. In Spain a dessert known as “Suspiro” is made with a base of meringue. We can understand that the name of the Peruvian dessert derives from combining some creativity with the traditional “sigh” from Spain.

This dessert is consumed principally in the city of Lima, although other cities in Peru also consume it, as well as a few countries that border Peru. Over the past few years, due to the internationalization of Peruvian cuisine, the consumption of the dessert has extended to other countries around the world, especially where Peruvians have emigrated and opened restaurants.

Paper on the History of Wine and Cuisine at the Peruvian Sommelier School

The traditional recipe of this dessert, which serves approximately 6 to 8 people, is the following:

For the Meringue
1 cup or 200 grams of sugar
180 grams of egg whites
A few drops of aromatic Pisco (we recommend Torontel)
For the “manjar blanco”
1.5 cups of port

Put the milk in a pan with the cinnamon. Cook over low heat until a thick “manjar blanco” or dulce de leche is formed. If you do not have evaporated milk, you can make manjar blanco by substituting 3 cups of fresh milk and 2 ¼ cups of sugar.

Recipe Ingredients

It is made with a base of manjar blanco (also known as menjar blanc or dulce de leche) which dates back to the medieval cultures. Manjar blanco came to Peru from Spain. 

1 can of condensed milk (1 ¼ cup). Can substitute a can of evaporated milk with 150 grams of sugar
1 can or 1 ¾ cup of evaporated milk.
1 cinnamon stick
5 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla

Let cool.
Add the egg yolks and the vanilla. Let cool slightly. Place into individual cups or a dessert mold.

Make syrup out of a cup of sugar and port, until it is in the thread stage
Beat the egg whites into peaks. Slowly add the syrup and make a meringue (same process as making an Italian meringue). Continue to beat until cool.
Decorate the cups with the meringue and sprinkle cinnamon on top.  

Translated by Katrina Heimark 

Pisco bilingual magazine

June 2011