Sunday, July 14, 2024

Review: Pisco Portón

July 24, 2012 by  
Filed under Bottle Reviews


Pisco Portón is another well crafted expression of Peruvian pisco as that spirit comes back strong in the U.S. market after a long hiatus stretching back to Prohibition, which ended the reign of the spirit of the Andes as also being the spirit of San Francisco, and the West coast in general.

Unlike many other acholado (blended) piscos, this one is labelled a “mosto verde” which indicates that the mixture of Quebranta, Albilla and Torontel grapes required to create the spirit, are distilled before fermentation is complete. This partial fermentation means that each bottle requires 15 pounds of grapes, and given that not all of the sugars have converted, brings out a more rustic character in the spirit.

Nose: Lighter and more delicate than some piscos. Grape must, orange peel, papaya, plantain, dark wet earth, tarragon, iron. There is light, but noticeable, alcohol.

Taste: Initially very sweet and smooth, but then a surprising bite with substantial black pepper and vegetal notes showing up after a few seconds. Has a light woodiness, a bit of walnut and filbert, loads of grapefruit zest and pith. After that fades, it moves to something more grassy and still vegetal, herbaceous, quite earthy, with watermelon rind, rhubarb, celery, and a peppery and bitter note akin to arugula. Definitely a rustic feeling spirit.

Finish: Minerals, earth, earth, and more earth, quite herbaceous, more than slightly bitter, with only slight warmth in the throat, but a definite warmth lingering in the mouth, with salt and black pepper lingering with the earth.

The powerful earth notes in this pisco beg for something to lighten it, like citrus and bright herbs like basil. The rustic notes work well with ginger and pineapple, especially with a dash of Angostura in the mix. As for traditional pisco cocktails, I’d be less inclined to use this pisco in a Pisco Sour, but instead use it in a Chilcano.

Pisco Portón, (Destileria La Caravedo, Ica, Peru) $35

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