Distilled Spirits – Brandy – Chilean Pisco (6)
The production of Chilean pisco requires the use of pisco grapes, which are specific varieties of the Vitis vinifera L. species. These include Moscatel de Alejandría, Moscatel Rosada, Torontel, Moscatel de Austria, and Pedro Jiménez, among others. The harvest of pisco grapes begins in February and extends until mid-year, depending on the variety. The grapes must have a potential alcohol content equal to or higher than 10.50° G.A.P.
Vinification for pisco purposes is carried out in white, and temperature is controlled. The use of high-speed crushing and destemming equipment is avoided to prevent the unwanted breaking of elements in the must. Furthermore, the use of high-pressure continuous presses for fresh pomace is prohibited. Vinification is divided into stages such as grape reception, crushing, maceration, pressing, and fermentation with yeast.
In the case of Chilean pisco, producers can adjust the alcohol content by adding demineralized water. The alcohol content typically ranges between 60° and 73°, depending on preference. This practice is similar to that used in the production of other spirits such as whisky, vodka, and singani. Varieties with lower alcohol content, around 30°, 33°, and 35°, have become popular due to their more affordable price. However, higher-quality Chilean piscos fall into the special and reserved categories, with an alcohol content exceeding 40º.
Furthermore, Chile produces aromatic piscos through aging them in wooden containers, adding a pleasant touch to the beverage. These high-alcohol varieties are appreciated for their distinctive flavor.
In summary, the production of Chilean pisco involves the cultivation and harvesting of pisco grapes, controlled vinification, distillation in discontinuous cycle stills, and a minimum rest period of 60 days. Producers have the option to adjust the alcohol content, and various varieties with different alcohol levels and flavors are produced. Chilean pisco is valued for its quality and tradition in the liquor industry.