Pisco has been on the rise over the last 18 months or so here in the UK as more bartenders and consumers are embracing the South American spirit. I’ve already covered the Pisco category as a whole, explaining the different types your receive from the two main countries that produce the category; Chile and Peru, but I’ve had the chance to experience another from Peru in the form of Macchu,
So what makes Macchu stand out to the rest of the Peruvian piscos?
You need to head back to the years before 2003 and introduce yourself to Melanie Asher, CEO/Founder, master distiller and blender of Macchu pisco. Melanie saw the potential in the United States and their love for cocktails and artisanal spirits, and with this she set out to introduce the country to one of her homeland’s native spirits; Pisco. Using her knowledge of winemaking from when she lived briefly in France and the region of Bordeaux, she set out to produce her first bottling, one that would earn her a gold medal at the Concurso Nacional, Peru’s premier competition that awards the country’s best pisco offerings.
In 2009, Melanie was joined by her sister Lizzie who serves as the company’s President and leads the company’s import operations and marketing. Comprising 4 generations of women within the company (including their 100-year old grandmother Abuela Amelia, who always approves of each distillation before bottling!), they acquired their own distillery located in Ica, part of the Pisco Valley of Peru and produce three piscos – the premium single-variety Macchu Pisco, the super-premium acholado-style La Diablada Pisco and the Ñusta Pisco.
Macchu Pisco became the first super-premium Pisco to enter the U.S market. The non-aromatic Quebranta grape is distilled within copper pot stills, and then rested for a minimum of 1 year before being bottled. Within each bottle, 13-lbs of the Quebranta grapes are within, and it prides itself on being free of added sugar,enzymes, yeast or water. La Diablada Pisco however is the world’s only vintage Pisco since 2005 and is a blend of Quebranta, Moscatel, Italia and Torontel grapes. The La Diablada names implies the spiciness of the devil and the sweetness of an angel and uses the first grape pressing and the heart of the distillate only. The 4 eau-de-vies are distilled once to proof and allowed to reach naturally its 40% abv without adding any water. They are rested for over a 2 year period and once bottled, each can hold 20-lbs of grape.
So, how do they fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –
Macchu – 40%
Ripe pear notes upon the nose, with a good dose of tart fruits coming through. Light, soft flavours of the pear are present on the palate, with dry grapes and sweet fruit salad flavours combining to create a long, tantalising finish.
La Diablada – 40%
A fresh, scented nose of melon, sharp grapes and ripe apricot, moving to a more concentrated kick of the apricot upon the palate. A good punch of glazed fruits blended with dry spices offers a bold finish that dries slightly.
Two very different experiences, and are great to be sipped. But there’s a classic name that many of you will recognise and, of course, works very well with Macchu –
75 ml Macchu
25 ml Fresh lime juice
25 ml Sugar syrup
1 Egg white
Shake all the ingredients within an ice filled cocktail shaker and strain into an ice filled rocks glass. Garnish with a drop of Angostura Bitters.
Refreshingly different! As is the Macchu pisco brand, who have been hosting events in London this year including teaming with Pachamama to unveil an exclusive 4 litre Jeroboam magnum filled to the brim with La Diablada Pisco, all to celebrate the 100th birthday of grandmother Abuela Amelia!
A worthy addition to your drinks cabinet, and two expressions that will be making its way around the UK over the coming years, so make sure you enjoy the Peruvian delight when you can!
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