Pisco - Macchu Pisco
Macchu Pisco Quebranta Pisco
Ica Valley - Peru
Importer: Domaine Select (DWSE)
INGREDIENTS: Quebranta Grapes
PROOF: 80 (40%)
AGE: Not Applicable
TYPE: Small Batch
PRICE: $ 24.00 - 750 ML
Notes: Pisco is a form of brandy, in that it is distilled from grapes. Made in Peru and Chile, there is wide disagreement as to who has better quality Pisco. I have heard conflicting reports from both sides-so obviously we need to do more hands on research to settle this question. It is similar to Grappa or Marc in some ways, including the wild variation of quality depending on who makes it.
Once considered a "poor man's drink" in the areas of South America where they did not grow sugarcane, and a favorite of Hemingway - probably because it was cheap. It had a brief flare of popularity in California during the Gold Rush as passing ships loaded up on it and took it to San Francisco. After that period, it became a curiosity in North America and rarely found. It is now enjoying a renaissance in cocktail circles as a versatile and interesting spirit.
This brand comes from the Ica Valley of Peru (considered a heartland of Pisco by some) and is made from a single variety - the non aromatic quebranta grape.This is unusual as many Pisco's use a blend of varieties (in much the same way Cognac producers use different varieties. Like a few Cognac houses, Macchu Pisco produces a single variety product to highlight a particular variety and it' s singular attributes. The Quebranta grape is one of the more heavy duty varieties of Pisco grape - a sort of Basso Profundo as it were.
This particular company is a family affair that has a number of unusual aspects that are worth noting. The grapes are pressed by foot, not by a large hydraulic press to extract every last possible drop. As such, it requires about 16 lbs of grapes per bottle as the yield from this low pressure type of pressing is of course less.
They also throw away the seeds and stems that many pisco and other grape brandy producers use in their products and only use the first pressing. Think of extra virgin olive oil pressing instead of the cheap stuff in gallon tins as an analogy.
Distilled in a small copper pot still similar to a cognac or armagnac still the spirit is taken off at 80 proof and not diluted .Probably the only spirit in the world that does this. Most other spirits are distilled to higher proofs (120-190 proof depending on the spirit) then diluted to desired proof.
The Pisco is then rested for a period running from three months to one year before bottling.
Appearance: Perfect clarity, bright. Light coating on the glass when you swirl it, scalloped edges, then long legs, then finally droplets forming.
First Impression: Very wine grape smelling, hint of grapefruits, berries, savory notes on nosing.
Taste: Nice oily entry with slight bite when drinking straight (as opposed to throat clutching, coughing etc., with the cheaper stuff). Nicely weighted body to it, with a slightly buttery mouth feel, nice tingle on the tongue. Savory, lime salt, brine, oily, grassy, some oak, pepper, lingering notes of tobacco (?). Some almost dry but creamy almond paste notes (think almond paste/marzipan without all the sugar). A bit similar to a grape version of a really good highland tequila in terms of the savory and mineral components. With a slightly buttery nut type of finish.
The smoothness and subtlety of this pisco is marvelous. Side note: you could also use their drinks recipes for a grappa of the same grape variety.
Cigars: Works well with a mild cigar.
Bottle:The bottle is clear glass which shows of the clarity of the Pisco to good effect. Light lime green label and simple graphics make it easy to spot on a store or bar shelf. Synthetic cork closure with a silver neck wrap finish the package.
Final Thoughts: Highly recommended and may just be one of the best piscos we have had - and that's saying a lot ! I've been drinking Pisco for about 35 years now (yes, it was before I was legal - but that's hardly news to anyone who knows me) A good quebranta pisco usually reminds us of a good Amarone grappa and at about half the money. This, on the other hand is a damn nice quebranta pisco and tastes much better than an Amarone grappa for about half the money.
More settled and less aromatic (read doesn't smell like lighter fluid) than a lot of pisco with nice round bass notes to the aroma.
A lovely, smooth, and high quality pisco that makes any pisco cocktail an experience to be savored instead of in the case of cheap pisco - endured.
Web site: http://macchupisco.com
Website is well organized and informative.