miércoles, 28 de octubre de 2015

In the land of pisco... Guest producer

In this interview of our guest producer for the month of July, we  have the lovely presence of Mr. Jaime Marimon Pizarro, General Manager of the Bodega “El Sarcay de Azpitia.” This Bodega is located south of Lima at Km. 80 on the South Pan-American Highway in San Vicente de Azpitia, also known as “The Balcony of the Heavens.” It is located on the right side of the Mala River Valley. 

1. Tell us, Mr. Marimon, how did the Bodega “El Sarcay de Azpitia” get its start? 
In January 2005, I shared a rustic family lunch with eight friends who live in Azpitia. The men were on one side trying the Piscos and the women were gathered with the children and playing games. 

It was not a surprise to learn during the conversation of the Pisqueros that we each wanted to produce our own Pisco with our grape fields. Taking the common idea-strength to produce Pisco, the pleasant chat flowed until we unified the criteria and the efforts to set up a tranquil and modern bodega that would fulfill all the tchnical requirements for production, and would put our recognized Azpitia Pisco in the place and space that a Pisco of its quality deserves. 
Today the bodega has two 1000 liter stills, made with pride in Peru, and is preparing to begin 2008 with two more stills. Our fields add up to about 32 hectares of Pisco grapes of the following varieties: Mollar, Moscatel, Quebranta, Italia, Torontel, and Albilla. We do all this to always provide our Pisco to the most demanding market. 

2. What does the word “Sarcay” mean?
Sarcay, N.M. Peru: It describes the archaic structure of sticks supported by uprights and/or adobe, above which the Pisco grape clusters grow in Azpitia, a zone of the Mala River Valley. Generally they are installed above irrigation canals. They are also known as Pergolas in Italy, Galeras in Ica, Peru, and Parron in Spain. 

3. What grape varieties do you plant and what Piscos do you produce?  
Currently we have 6 varieties of Pisco grapes. Of the non-aromatics we have Quebranta and Mollar, and of the aromatics we have Italia, Moscatel, Torontel and Albilla. We produce pure Pisco from all of these varieties as well as Acholados and Green Must Piscos. 

I should tell you that the Green Must Pisco from Mollar grapes from this year’s harvest is going to give a lot to talk about… 

4. As a producer of Pisco “El Sarcay de Azpitia,” in your opinion, what characteristics should a good Pisco have?
Basically, and objectively, that which the technical norms dictate in view, nose, mouth, retro, etc. But principally among that which is substantive, the best characteristic of a good Pisco is the way it is remembered by the drinker.
That is the difference between a good Pisco, a regular Pisco, and a bad Pisco. We can’t forget that on the other side, in order to have a good product, 60% comes from the raw materials and another 40% from the bodega. That is why it is very important to do efficacious work in the fields with the plants, and very efficient work during its production. There have been cases in which grapes from the same field were transformed in Pisco, and one won the Gold medal in a national competition and the other didn’t even get an honorable mention.

5. Why is resting important for the quality of Pisco?
Because the production of Pisco is not finished when it is distilled—that is only when the process of distilling finishes. But the Pisco has not yet finalized its chemical process. It is like a green fruit, only then it begins another stage: resting, “aeration,” “oxidation,” decanting, the entering of light, etc. That is what helps it modify its structure and “accommodate” its characteristics until they are perfect. It is very difficult to (only those who know will be able to) know if it will be a good Pisco. Resting is to Pisco like the sun is to plants. Here we can apply the phrase: Gray hairs (resting) are not a symptom of aging, but rather of knowledge (value).

6. There are many brands of Piscos that are not very prevalent in Lima despite the fact that their consumption has increased. We would like to know why this is occurring.

Those who think that selling Pisco is easy are wrong. One thing is to drink it as a guest, and another is to buy it. As in all business, product rotation is important and a bottle of Pisco in a home does not rotate in the same way as soap or soda. This is one of the biggest obstacles for the small producers in order to venture away from their payments and towards the market, even if they have a good product. They prefer to sell bottle to bottle in their home before from cash register to cash register. The principal consumption is being capitalized upon by the organized bodegas that are highly efficient, with proven quality products that have denomination of origin, along with lasting financial models and their own fields.

The big warehouses where the most Pisco is sold and rotated (more sales points) do not facilitate the sale of a national product such as is our Pisco. The point of entry for the client is different than that of the producer.

7. In your experience, what limitations are there for the industry in exporting Peruvian Pisco?
Let’s see…if a bodega of Japanese Sake wins the Great Gold Medal of the Rising Sun and comes to Peru with their product, do you think they would be able to sell even one bottle, out of curiosity, to someone in the middle segment of the population? Excepting, of course, the Japanese colony…

Well, we do the same thing with our Pisco in Japan, Europe, Asia, North and South America.
So the only and first market in which one must access abroad is that of 4 and 5 star Peruvian and international restaurants, and the colonies of Peruvians abroad. In the first case, if we present it as for Pisco Sour, we have the limitation that presents itself with the lime, and therefore, the rotation will be very low. We still aren’t even talking about price. Second, in order to reach the Peruvian colonies or Peruvians abroad, the marketing would be so expensive so that it isn’t justifiable with the current prices. Imagine that there are importers from abroad that are importing boxes of 12 bottles of 750 ml at $36 the box…!!!!!! With this price, there is not any campaign that could begin to compete.

We must educate our people that good Pisco is to be drunk pure as an aperitif and digestif (before and after dinner). Also, in the same way Peruvians send their families money from abroad, we can incentivize Peruvians that they should send good Pisco from here.

Of course, making Pisco a brand at a global level, as was done with Vodka, is no cheaper than 8 million dollars. And it must involved guaranteed quality production and timely delivery in so far that no less than 150,000 bottles are produced in the first year and by the 5th year that there are no less than 1,800,000 bottles in order to be sustainable. It is a great challenge, isn’t it?

8. What plans do you have for the near future?
Now our bodega is totally installed and we are waiting for the end of the resting period in order to bottle the 2007 harvest. The capacity we have installed is ok. We expect to expand by 2010.

Today we are pushing our brand and selling well. We are going slowly but surely; don’t forget that we have been in the market since December 2006—and only six months ago we won the National Gold Medal with our Pure Pisco from Mollar grapes, which was also given the Gold Medal in Brussels. Oh…and I must remind you that the bodega is open every day of the week for those who want to visit and receive detailed explanations regarding the production of Pisco El Sarcay de Azpitia and try the Pisco varieties that we have. And also appreciate the unique landscape that the area offers!

9. What prizes have you been awarded?
They are been many in this short period of time, and that encourages us. Our first prize is the public’s awareness and this converting itself into sales. We do not want to be like those generals who were full of medals but never won a battle. Our battle is with our client in giving them quality products, opportunely in time and place. That is the best prize and that is what we work for.

10. Thank you for everything. Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Yes, I would like to highlight that a big reason for the results obtained by our Piscos is owed to the professionals who work for us. I’d like to highlight Engineer Carmen Gonzales Q. Iquena, who works in the bodega, and Sergio Garcia, who works in sales. Finally, I’d like to repeat that the Bodega is open seven days a week, so we’ll see you soon!

Tranlated by Katrina Heimark

martes, 20 de octubre de 2015

In the land of pisco... Front Page

Editors of the Electronic Magazine: Pisco is From Peru

Pisco: A great business opportunity by Dr. Jose Herrera

It is with great pleasure that I address you first of all to congratulate you for the excellent idea of having an electronic  magazine exclusively dedicated to the best spirit in the world: Peruvian Pisco. Although the name may seem to be a tautology, it is necessary not only to say it, but to highlight it, due to the fact that other countries are attempting (without success, of course) to reclaim the nationality of one of the finest liquors made by man. 

Regarding what I said before, I must add that Pisco is not only an aphrodisiac for the soul, or a perfect excuse for celebration and a friendly get together, or the product of an activity that unites man with nature in exquisite harmony for all our senses, but also it is, above all, a magnificent business opportunity. 

Proof is in the great explosion of supply and demand in the national market that our national drink has felt over the past few years, which is translating into a more sophisticated culture of Pisco. As a consequence, the production of more and better Piscos increases. However, the business of Pisco is facing two big problems. The first, our national market is still very small and this is an obstacle for the industry itself to grow in accordance to the standards that this age of globalization demand. Second, as a consequence, the majority of Pisco continues to be produced in a traditional or pre-industrial way. 

Therefore, to our understanding, there are two mechanisms that can overcome the aforementioned obstacles. The first is to expand the supply of Pisco outside the borders of Peru via foreign trade, and the second, as a consequence of what I’ve said before, the modes of the production of Pisco must necessarily enter into an industrial era, as has occurred with Pisco’s better known ancestor: wine. 

Both changes would demand that the producers of Pisco find new business strategies, which could begin as joint ventures in order to increase the levels of production, and as a consequence, begin the search for new external markets. 
International fairs, preferential tariffs, as well as brokers or the construction of branches abroad are mechanisms that would help enormously achieve these goals. 

Dr. José Herrera
Lawyer, specializing in topics of Foreign Trade and Immigration to the United States

Translated by Katrina Heimark 

Pisco bilingual magazine

martes, 13 de octubre de 2015

In the land of pisco... Illustrious Pisqueros

Sérvulo Gutiérrez Alarcón

Sérvulo Gutiérrez Alarcón was born in February 1914, the fifth son in a numerous family. His infancy went by between school and collaborating in the restaurant that his father owned.
The death of his mother forced the teenager to move to Lima, where he was set up in the house of his brother Alberto, restorer, in the big house which is currently the seat of the Peña Hatuchay in Rimac.

In the Guiterrez shop they also restored haucos. This is the remote origin of the scandal that years later, provoked by the appearance in “Life” of a huaco, made by our artist, which was claimed to be a magnificent example of pre-Colombian pottery.

Following another brotherly tradition, initiated by his eldest brother, Tarugo, novice bullfighter and boxer, Servulo began to practice the sport of boxing.

Thanks to his boxing qualities, in 1934 he was chosen to form part of the Peruvian team that would attend the South American Championship in Cordoba, Argentina.

In Buenos Aires he married Zulema Palomieri, with whom he would have a daughter, Lucila.

However, his stay in the capital was kept short and in 1938 he arrived to Paris, where he struck up relationships with Peruvian artists and intellectuals. During this same period, in brawl of which there are many versions, he was cut by a knife that would forever mark his face.

As it did many others, the Second World War would distance him from Europe and in 1940 he returned to Peru with Claudine Fitte, a French-Argentine who would have a great influence on the artist’s still formative years. With her he lived between Lima and Buenos Aires, a city where he would attend classes given by painter Emilio Petoruti. These classes were the only formal artistic education that there is knowledge of him having.
In 1946 he separated from Claudine and established himself in Lima. He became one of the great entertainers of the active bohemian lifestyle in Lima in the 1950s.

Portraits, landscapes, Christs and Saint Roses were transformed by explosions of color worked with a spatula, a paint brush handle, or even his fingers and nails. His trail in local public areas was signaled by murals, tablecloths and napkins used as canvasses, pieces of paper, vouchers and menus.

The intensity of his life, which parallels his work, consumed him, and in July 1961 he died at the young age of 47. That same year, the Institute of Contemporary art organized an exhibit in his honor.

Today, almost four decades after his death, the passing of time has not erased him from the collective memory of a figure who one day defined himself as a Prague Prince.

Translated by Katrina Heimark

Pisco bilingual magazine

martes, 6 de octubre de 2015

In the land of pisco... The San Juan de Amancaes Festival, 24/06/1928

The San Juan de Amancaes Festival

“The Lost Leguia Album”
(Augusto B. Leguia President of Peru 1908-1912 / 1919-1930). 

June 24, 1928

“Amancaes” is a group of hills that surround in a semicircular fashion on the north side of the current Rimac district. At their feet, there is a terrace with an irregular slope and a higher altitude than the center of the city, which can be seen from here “Amancaes” is also the name of a yellow flower that in the past budded in the fields in June when the low fog of Lima crashed against the hills of Amancaes and dampened them, allowing for the appearance—although ephemeral—of some varieties of wild vegetation, and among them, the flower of Amancaes.

“Amancaes” was the name of a curacazgo that the Spanish found where the district of Rimac is today. The indigenous peoples of this place dedicated themselves to fishing the crayfish in the Rimac River. At the feet of the hills, one can find the famous San Juan Bautista de Amancaes church.

Tradition has it that on February 2, 1582, an indigenous girl named Rosario found in Amancaes a traveler that gave her a letter directed to the prior of the Dominican monks, charging him with building a temple in the place where Jesus’ image is carved. When the prior arrived in Amancaes, leading a pilgrimage, he found the image of Jesus Christ on a rock—an image that the child recognized as being  that of the face of the traveler who gave her the letter.

Even Saint Martin de Porras had visited Amancaes (he lived there with his mother in Rimac), in order to dedicate himself to prayer and plant fruit trees for the local poor. 

In the 18th Century it was the preferred site for some Viceroys such as Melchor de Navarra y Rocafull, Duke of the Palata, who organized events such as hunting deer and doves with dogs and falcons, and afternoon snacks with music in the fresh air.

However, the Amancaes Festival has taken place since the 16th Century, each June 24, the Day of Saint John the Baptist. In Europe it is a celebration associated with planting and harvest rituals. In Amancaes the image of Saint John the Baptist was passed around on a platform, visiting great feasts and dances, and was an event that brought together all social classes in Lima, as they visit on foot, in wagons and on horseback. When they returned to Lima, the groups would have in their hats, suits, on their horses and cars, the famous Flower of Amancaes. Precisely the song “Jose Antonio” by our dearly remembered Isabel “Chabuca” Granda, evokes the festival in modern times, as it relates how a jockey with a poncho and hat came from Barranco to participate in the festival. The song discusses the ”fine mist of June” and “the Amancaes” adorning the man’s hat.

In 1927, when the festival no longer existed, the seventh mayor of Rima, Con Juan Rios Alvarado decided to bring it back to life with competitions involving Peruvian Passo horses, presentations by dance groups and criollo and Andean musicians. At these events, organized by the District Municipality of Rimac, the guest of honor was Don Augusto B. Leguia, President of Peru, who at that time was a the peak of his political career. With the presence of the high authorities and with an established program, the festival had an official character about it.

1928 Propaganda
The February 1999 finding of the important photographic testimony the “Lost Album of Leguia” as it was called in a newspaper when the news was spread by the media, corresponds to the celebration of the Saint John the Baptist festival in Amancaes, organized by the Municipal District of Rimac, in June 1928. In it, one can see President Leguia and Mayor Rios presiding over a delegation of authorities and diplomats, as well as the population of Lima. All were heading by foot, horse, or Ford automobiles to the Pampa to participate in the festival organized by the Municipal District of Rimac, which also included Peruvian Passo horse competition, and the presentation of the artistic delegations that had come from provinces from the country’s interior.

Amancaes today is home to in the so called “human settlements” a huge population that has come from all over the country and who, having taken possession of a piece of land on the hills or in the fields, attempt to find happiness and progress.

The Saint John the Baptist Parish, an important historic monument, is today crying out for its upcoming restoration.

The Amancaes festival had extinguished a long time ago until it was reestablished by Mayor Gloria Jaramillo on June 24, 1999, in the atrium of the Saint John the Baptist parish. Those who were able to see it will always remember what was left in the middle of the 20th Century, as it was one of the most important traditions in Lima dn Peru, which takes place in Rimac.

The historic album is preserved in the Archives of the Municipal Palace of Rimac.
The Amancaes Festival Album

Pisco bilingual magazine

Translated By Katrina Heimark