This post has been on my to-do list for a number of months now. Pisco came onto my radar earlier this year when I heard Australia’s very first Australian-Made Pisco was being released. Yes, it was/is a bit of a controversy. But hell, my palate loves it and I’m not shy about a bit of controversy.
Since writing this post, there has been an update from Harmans Estate, please note they will stop calling it Pisco in the coming weeks:
Harmans Estate in the Margaret River produce some excellent wines. In June 2017 at City Wine in Perth they officially launched their range of Piscos – and well Mr. Spittoon and I, downed just a little bit of it (cough cough).
The lovely Bec from Harmans Estate!
We were recently re-acquainted with it at UnWined Subiaco and I reckon this winery / distillery have really got their recipe down pat. Are you sitting there wondering what the heck Pisco is? And why Harmans Estate have caused a bit of a stir with it? Here’s why…
What is Pisco?
You may have heard of Pisco in the context of the cocktail – Pisco Sour. Pisco is produced in the winemaking regions of Peru and Chile. Basically, it’s a clear spirit distilled from wine. So you’d probably group it with the likes of Brandy and Grappa – or gin – aromatic and soft – however, if you don’t like these, please don’t write it off yet!
So what’s the controversy about?
Basically, South American producers want ‘Pisco’ to be like the Champagne of France or the Port of Portugal. Peru and Chile want to reserve rights to the name, i.e. it can only be produced in designated areas like Chile and Peru.
Technically, you can only call champagne, champagne if it comes from the French region of Champagne in France. And likewise, you can only call Port, Port if it comes from the Porto region in Portugal. I also believe Prosecco is edging closer to reserving the rights to label a wine ‘Prosecco’ only if it comes from the Veneto region in Italy.
It’s an interesting debate and one you can read more about it on The West. Despite the diplomatic war, there are some interesting points about the liquor in the piece such as;
- ‘Pisco’ is a generic term like ‘vodka’ or ‘gin’
- The Harmans Pisco is a blend of four aromatic wine varietals
- It takes about 8 hours to make 50 litres
What’s a Pisco Sour?
Basically, it’s a citrusy cocktail which has Pisco in. The typical recipe consists of an egg white shaken to emulsify, then about 60ml of Pisco, 30ml of fresh lime juice and 20ml of sugar syrup are added before decorating with a few drops of bitters to decorate the frothy top. Mmm… they are delicious trust me – and egg whites are pretty healthy, right?
Before you get your Pisco Sour on, check out the bottled Pisco Sour from Harmans below to make your life a little easier ;)
PS: Here are some more Pisco cocktail/mixer ideas:
Harmans Estate “Devil’s Block” Pisco Range
As mentioned above, Harmans are continually improving their Pisco and currently, I cannot get enough of it! Mr. Spittoon and I couldn’t leave UnWined without buying a bottle of the Pisco Ginger for $70 to take home. Oh my, what an absolute treat! We also downed a fair few of their cocktails (thank you for putting up with us at the end of the day!).
Currently, Harmans have on offer 5 different Piscos, including:
- Pisco Sour
- If you love Pisco Sours (I am a total convert!) then this is the Pisco for you. It’s single distilled and produced from a single grape variety. It has a lovely lime-ness to it. Super smooth and to be honest, I would easily drink this over ice – soooo good! $70 per bottle.
- Pisco White
- This is your classic Pisco. It’s fermented with natural yeast and is double distilled. It’s floral, fruity and full of citrus. $80 per bottle.
- Pisco Black
- Made from a single grape variety, a single vintage (from a specific year), single distilled and made from a single vineyard. Are you thinking what I’m thinking? Perfect first date tipple! It’s spicy, exotic and a little bit nutty. $100 per bottle.
- Pisco Ginger
- I don’t know if the ginger or sour is my favourite, both are extremely tasty. The Ginger is made from the Pisco Black with ginger and ginseng added – so yes, it’s great for the brain! To Mr. Spittoon and I, it reminded us of Stone’s ginger wine, but better. So sumptuous and at 20%abv – watch out, it’s very easy to consume in one sitting. Served with crushed ice and lime = absolutely delicious. $70 per bottle.
- Pisco Liqueur
- This is a limited blend which is created from the Pisco White (double distilled). It’s blended with a selection of aged wine liqueur which basically means, it’s heaven over ice. $100 per bottle.
I seriously don’t think you could go wrong with any of the above and they are definitely worth trying if you get the opportunity / why not just pop over and buy some online right now. PS: I am writing this post because I can’t get enough of this Pisco, end of story!