Pisco is a colorless or yellowish-to-amber colored brandy produced in winemaking regions of Peru and Chile.
Made by distilling grape wine into a high-proof spirit, it was developed by 16th century Spanish settlers as an alternative to orujo, a pomace brandy that was being imported from Spain.
It had the advantages of being produced from abundant domestically grown fruit and reducing the volume of alcoholic beverages transported to remote locations.
A selection of Chilean piscos Chilean Pisco must be made in the country’s two official D.O. (Denomination of Origin) regions—Atacama and Coquimbo—established in 1931 by the government. Most of it is produced with a "boutique" type of distillate made by the Aguirre family among other producers. Others types are produced with double distillation in copper and other materials.
During the adaptation of many vineyards to pisco production, the most widespread grape was used as raw material, namely the Muscat, with some vineyards preferring the Torontel and Pedro Jiménez varieties. As is the case with Peru, regulations for pisco designations have been enacted in Chile, including the following classifications:
- Pisco Corriente o Tradicional, 30% to 35% (60 to 70 proof).
- Pisco Especial, 35% to 40% (70 to 80 proof).
- Pisco Reservado, 40% (80 proof).
- Gran Pisco, 43% or more (86 or more proof).
Regulation for pisco producing in Chile is quite high. Chilean distilleries are required to grow their own grapes and are grouped into two categories based in aromatic expressiveness: Muscat types (Pink Muscat, Muscat of Alexandria) are very fragrant, while Pedro Jiménez, Moscatel de Asturia and Torontel are more subtle.
The Special and Reserve variations are very similar in flavor and color, both being subtly sweet and of a clear birch to transparent color. The flavor is much stronger than regular pisco with aromatic refreshing tones.
The Great pisco has a commanding odor and a dark yellow color, it is not as sweet as the other varieties, yet it carries a strong woody flavor the others lack. The yellowish to amber color in Chilean pisco is due to the wood aging process, with the darker colors being a sign that they have been aged longer. Not all Chilean pisco is tinged, and the more mass-marketed brands can be clear.
Description above is from the Wikipedia article Pisco
, licensed under CC-BY-SA
full list of contributors here