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Peruvian Pisco Obtains Overwhelming Recognition

The International Wine and Spirits Competition, the premier competition of its kind in the world, awarded Peruvian Pisco with 14 medals during the 2005 edition, including a Gold & Best in Class recognition to Pisco Payet Quebranta 2003, by producer Guillermo Payet. The awards, conferred to different “pisqueros” (Pisco producers), are a clear recognition of the unrivalled quality of the Pisco produced in Peru.

Peru’s national drink, Pisco is a tasty and clear brandy distilled from fermented grape juice. Its origins go back to the XVI century, when it was first produced by the Spaniards from quebranta grapes (a variation of Muscat), growing in the vineyards of the Ica Valley. Its name probably comes from the Pisco port, in Ica, some 250 km south of Lima.

Pisco is obtained from the distillation of recently fermented grape juice or musts, providing a distinctive taste, emphasizing the fact of being an “eau de vie” pure from its very beginnings. The distillation process of Pisco, made many centuries ago and transmitted from generation to generation, is also typical and unique.

In recent years, there has been an increasing dispute between Peru and Chile over which country owns the appellation of Pisco. Recently, though, the World Intellectual Property Organization recognized the “pisco” denomination as a beverage of Peruvian origin (Registry 065, July 2005).

Indeed, the selection of raw materials and production process of Peruvian Pisco guarantee a very high quality, which cannot be matched by other “aguardientes” (firewaters).

Peruvian Pisco, for example, is obtained from the distillation of recently fermented “fresh” musts, a type of process that avoids musts to remain stagnant for several months before being distilled or used for mature wines.

Moreover, no aggregates are included in the distillation process (no distilled or treated water is added with the purpose of changing its consistency, color and other features that make it a distinctive product). Chilean firewater, on the contrary, is mixed, diluted with demineralized water in order to lower the gradiation to the desired level, filtered and bottled.

The awards obtained by Peruvian Pisco are an overwhelming indication of its superior quality.

The International Wine and Spirit Competition was founded in 1969 and is the premier competition of its kind in the world. Its aim is to promote the quality and excellence of the world’s best wines, spirits and liqueurs.

This standard is achieved through a rigorous two-stage judging process of professional blind tasting and detailed technical (chemical and microbiological) analysis that takes place at The Competition’s headquarters in Surrey, UK.

The Competition is backed by a group of vice presidents made up of the most influential men and women in the trade, including Baroness Philippine de Rothschild, Miguel Torres, Marchese Piero Antinori, Robert Drouhin, Robert Mondavi, May de Lencquesaing, Kenneth Graham and Sir Anthony Greener.

Thanks to a worldwide promotional campaign of Pisco as a Peruvian flag product, exports during 2004 increased by nearly 40% on the previous year; a 100% increase is expected for 2005.

Journalist, impenitent traveller, and aficionado cook, Ferrer is founder of theperuguide.com/ The
Peru Guide, and its theperuguide.com/lima.html Lima Restaurant and Nightlife editor.

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