Following the California Gold Rush in 1849, pisco - a Peruvian brandy that works perfectly in margaritas, martinis and, of course, pisco sours - became a staple ingredient in cocktails made in California. At the time, it was easier to ship pisco up from Peru to San Francisco than it was to transport whiskey over land from the East Coast to California. As a result, pisco dominated the West Coast drinking scene until Prohibition.
Pursuant to Peruvian law, pisco must be distilled through a copper pot still using one or a blend of eight specific grape varieties. After distillation, pisco must be allowed to mellow for at least three months in a stainless steel or glass container, and pisco must be bottled at distillation proof - it can never be diluted with water.
In honor of National Pisco Sour Day, which is celebrated each year in Peru on the first Saturday of February, we are featuring our first pisco: Pisco Portón.
Pisco Portón is made from a blend of three types of grapes: Quebranta, Torontel and Albilla. Quebranta grapes are a non-aromatic variety that evolved on the western coast of Peru, and add body and fullness to the pisco. Torontel grapes provide the pisco with a strong aroma of peach and citrus, while Albilla grapes add fruity notes and contribute to the pisco's smooth finish.
The grapes are harvested during their peak of sweetness (typically January through April) and are then pressed before the must, or grape juice, is fermented in stainless steel tanks. In order to preserve some of the grapes' natural sugars and flavor, Pisco Portón's master distiller, Johnny Schuler, begins to distill the must before fermentation is complete. This unique process, known as mosto verde, results in 15-18 pounds of grapes going into every bottle of Pisco Portón, nearly 40% more than other piscos.
"Being a mosto verde, it's rounder, it has more character and expression," says Schuler. "In the mouth, it's like eating a basket full of tropical fruits and flowers and spices."
Pisco Portón is distilled to 86 proof and then allowed to rest for one year in glass-lined silos (Peruvian law prohibits the use of oak or any other wood in maturation).
Pisco Portón has a floral and fruity nose with hints of grassy herbs and pepper. Notes of cinnamon and spice nicely balance out the bursts of citrus peels and orange blossom, and fade to a long, creamy finish. Pisco Portón earned the Double Gold Medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in 2012 and the Chairman's Trophy at the Ultimate Spirits Challenge the same year.
Celebrate National Pisco Sour Day with a bottle of Pisco Portón!
86 (43% ABV)
Destilería La Caravedo
This product is not available in AL, AK, AR, CO, DE, FL, HI, IA, ID, IL, KS, KY, LA, MA, MN, MD, MS, ND, NH, PA, SD, TX, WA or WI.
Sold and shipped by Andrew's Wine Cellar, Inc.
Floral and fruity nose with hints of grassy herbs and pepper. Notes of cinnamon and spice nicely balance out bursts of citrus peels and orange blossom, and fade to a long, creamy finish.