Episode 167 – Macchu Pisco with Melanie Asher

This spirit is produced in the desert valleys of Peru, south of the equator. The climate provides a lot of sunlight, and the grapes used for the spirit generate a great deal of sugar, which is not great for wine but is ideal for brandy distillation. This terroir is catalyzed by a geographical denomination of origin that necessitates native yeast fermentation, prohibits barrel aging, and restricts grape usage to a group of eight approved varietals, which produces spirits rich in mineral and fruit flavors and high in purity.

About Macchu Pisco

Each bottle of Macchu Pisco has 10 or more pounds of grapes per bottle. According to Melanie, the farmers are paid above market rate for their grapes, and no chemical sprays are ever used to treat the fruit. The portfolio includes several different bottles and price points, including the premium Macchu Pisco, the super premium La Diablada line, and the luxury Ñusta bottling, which is packaged in a handmade bottle and made in extremely small quantities.

Macchu Pisco Tasting

We tasted through six different expressions during this interview and have provided our tasting notes for you below.

Macchu Pisco – Green, pear aromas on the nose, which largely carry through and ripen on the palate, with a medium-long finish that tastes of orchard fruit peel.

La Diablada (Acholado) – A blend of 8 different grapes, named after the dance of good and evil danced during Carnival. Incredibly soft and floral on the nose, with abundant rose perfume and a hint of honeydew melon. On the palate, round and soft, with grapey notes emerging. The finish is even longer than the base expression, with less astringency.

La Diablada Italia – Made using only the Italia (or Muscat of Alexandria) grape, this expression is an exercise in focus. The nose bursts with muscatel sweetness and citrus peel, with the palate presenting an exquisitely round, sweet flavor highlighted by honeysuckle and lees. The finish is, again, medium-long and incredibly mellow.

La Diablada Amelia’s Centenarian (Acholado) – Dedicated to Melanie’s Abuelita, this is another blend of 8 varietals. On the nose, abundant lychee and prickly pear with a bit of characteristic tartaric acid brightness. On the palate, it tastes almost like a watermelon Jolly Rancher; incredibly juicy but wonderfully complex. The finish is, like the others, long and pleasant.

Founding Farmers Pisco – Blended by bartender John Arroyo, with a heavy influence by the Italia grape. On the nose, it’s distinctly desserty, compared to the fruit and floral profiles of the other expressions: bready, with cacao and flan notes. On the palate, it’s rich and robust, with the grape emerging to elevate what would otherwise be a very dark flavor profile. The finish, like the nose, is rich and yeasty.

Ñusta – Macchu PIsco’s luxury expression. The nose is bursting with orange blossom and Turkish delight with hints of caramel. On the palate, it balances the grape and the confectionary flavors masterfully. The finish is extremely long and complex, inviting you to sip, consider, sip, consider.


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