The big drink in Chile is pisco sours. They are offered everywhere and not just for tourists. Everyone seems to be drinking them. The first one we had was a freebie in a hotel in
Antofagasta. We drank it down, thought it was good, then ordered a glass of wine.
But, a few nights ago we tried them again, and were amazed. They tasted similar to a margarita without the salt or nacho chips.
I wasn’t even sure which part was the pisco, was it the alcohol or the juice? It turns out pisco is a type of brandy made out of muscat grapes.
And, as luck would have it, La Serena is near the Equi Valley which is a large producer of pisco. And even luckier, you can go pisco tasting in the valley.
We drove to the town of Vicuna which was worth the drive in itself. The valley was full of pisco vineyards
We started our pisco tasting at a distillery called Fuegos. We pulled up and the guy parking his truck had to run and find the woman that runs the tasting room. But, we were happy to see it was open for tasting, more than we can say about our last tasting experience.
The tastes were small, but this stuff is brandy, so a little went a long way for me.
Next up was Capel. They are the granddaddy of pisco in this area. Every sign in the nearby town of Vicuna had a Capel logo on it.
Capel had a huge facility with a paid tour in Spanish or English. The English one was in session when we got there. Turns out it was only 5 minutes into the tour, but not wanting to miss a second of it (since we had paid the equivalent of $3 each) I insisted we go on the Spanish speaking tour.
This meant I didn’t understand a single word for the hour long tour. From what I gather, they take grapes, ferment the juice, put it in big tanks, then put it in some oak barrels, then distill it…or something like that.
This little boy on the tour understood about as much as I did . One thing I don’t think was covered in the tour, although I don’t really know, Peru also claims pisco as their national drink. There is a big controversy between the two countries over pisco.
Then we got to the tastng room. You don’t need to understand Spanish to taste pisco. Well, actually it doesn’t hurt.
The group was ushered into a room where we sat in a circle. The guide prepared a tray with sample cups filled with different flavored pisco drinks. They passed around the tray.
I’ve been to enough wine tastings and coffee tastings to know, when presented with a tray like this, you should take one of each to compare. No, actually not with pisco, you only take one.
Then after the tray went around, the guide opened a bottle of a reserve pisco and started pouring samples behind a counter. She asked if anyone would like to try this pisco. Jeff and I ran to the counter. She handed out samples to Jeff and the other guys standing there. She looked at me and said in Spanish, “Are you sure YOU want one?” I guess women don’t normally drink this kind of pisco. Not knowing how to answer “Um, yeah, hand it over.” I just said, “claro.” which means of course.
When the tastings were over the rest of the group went into the sales room. Jeff, me and some others lingered and finished off the left-over samples on the tray, another trick I learned from coffee tastings.
Sadly, our suitcases are too full to bring any pisco home, so I’m hoping we can find it in the USA.
After a quick nap in the parking lot, we went back into the town of Vicuna where I took a lot of photos
The pisco tastings were great in that pisco is good, the tasting rooms were actually open, the valley was beautiful, and the town of Vicuna is a fun place to wander around in by itself.
16 thoughts on “Pisco tasting- who knew pisco was so good, or what it even was.”
Sheryl, I was interested to learn about Pisco. We’ve been trying new liquors and places that are known for their drink making – so my interest in Pisco is piqued. I did a quick search and it looks like Washington state liquor stores carry Peruvian Pisco. 🙂
I bet Peruvian pisco is just as good as the stuff here, but don’t say that to a Chilean. 🙂 We have to have a pisco party when we get back!
I LOVE Pisco! I have a collection. Peruvian Pisco is made 100% from grapes so it tends to be a higher quality than Chilean Pisco. Thanks for sharing the article I’m going to go get some Piscología!
Just one more reason to go to Peru! I would love to taste in both countries and compare. I have a feeling I would love both. 🙂
Oh and I love the photos…especially of the mannequins.
I’m crazy for mannequins here. They all have haunted eyes and crazy clothes.
I’m almost crying in my coffee I’m laughing so hard. Thanks for the great story to start my work week. Please invite me to the Pisco party.
And, I really appreciate the nap reference as well. You’re a good woman to confess that.
Hug each other for me. Miss you!!!
We do find a little siesta is always nice after wine tasting pisco tasting, or drinking at your house. 🙂
ha ha ha. I love that you are tasting your way through south america. i also love that the last photo of you and jeff is blurry… as i imagined you might have been at that point.
you need to get to bolivia to taste cow penis, because i’m not gonna do it.
I was hoping you’d eat cow penis for me! I really think it could be good washed down with a pisco sour.
Mmmm…can’t wait to try some.
Jeff and I want to have a pisco party when we get back. Our suitcases are too full to bring any back, but it must be available in Seattle.
Hey Jeff and Sheryl its been a while sice I last checked out the site. Just LOL at the pics. In Colorado springs if you get into the mountain areas the sky just lights up at night like that its pretty amazing. We’ll have to get our hands on some pico. Have a great day
We’ll have to get a bottle of pisco when we’re in Chicago. It’s SO good.
I love peruvian pisco. Had both drinks about two weeks ago in front of me and decided to have a taste contest with a few friends. Peruvian Pisco had good taste and flavor, was definetlly stronger as well. I found out that Chileans rent land from where this grape grows, which is actually in Pisco city, Ica, which is in the middle of Peru when I looked at the map. They rent these lands so they can say that they have ‘pisco’.
I can’t to try Peruvian pisco and compare the two.