Wednesday, February 11, 2015

New to Me: Fortified Peruvian "Wine"

Being a wine-lover means immersing yourself in an endless process of discovery. That’s one of the reasons I spend so much damn time focused on wine, because it provides me a path to new experiences and information. 

I recently came across a bottle that reminded me why I keep exploring. It’s labeled “Aperitif Wine – Product of Peru.” This “Perfecto Amor” from distiller-producer BarSol Pisco is technically not wine, if you define wine as fermented grape juice. Still, it sure gave me a unique and informative experience. 

This wine-like beverage is a blend of fortified juice from the Quebranta, Italia and Torontel grape varieties. Each grape variety is crushed separately and — here’s where things get a bit different — instead of allowing the sweet grape juice to ferment, the producers add pisco, traditional Peruvian distilled spirit. This heightens the alcohol content to 17% while retaining all the natural sugars from the wine grapes.

Also interesting: each grape variety’s juice is fortified with pisco distilled from that same grape variety. All three sweet-fortified juices are then blended together to create something of a house-style dessert wine. 

Peruvian pisco distillers have crafted similar beverages for personal consumption for years, says BarSol Co-Founder Diego Loret de Mola, who aims to introduce this tasty beverage to a new generation of drinkers. 

I have my doubts about how well this wine-like beverage can sell. It seems to have a very small niche in a large market. But for the explorers out there, this would be an interesting addition to a tasting dinner or a by-the-glass program. Also, an adventurous cocktail mixer — definitely not my strong suit — could use this as an ingredient in some fun blended drinks. 

This wine was received as a trade sample and tasted sighted.

N.V. Barsol Pisco “Perfecto Amor” - Peru
SRP: $19
Amber colored. Smells nutty and herbal, with intense and strange (not in a bad way) elements for me, making the drink hard to analyze in a traditional context. So, to gush on the aromas: I’m smelling candied apples, smashed brown banana pulp, newly crushed white grape must, and then mix in some spiced pepper jelly and herbal tea elements. I’ve never smelled something comparable, so points for uniqueness for sure. Nutty palate, full bodied and sweet, the alcohol is deceptively masked by the richness of the grape must flavors. Sweet but in a fresh and rather balanced way. I pick up on dried pineapple, dried mango and some bruised apple fruit, also some notes of raw almonds, white tea and sweet red pepper jelly. (87 points)

Fun, horizon-broadening stuff. I’d love to taste some fermented Peruvian grape juice to get a better idea of what’s going on. Now to find some...

No comments:

Post a Comment