August, 2018

NEWSLETTER

Dear friend of fine spirits,

We just brought in two versions of PISCOlogia, an artisanal pisco from Peru. It’s good stuff.

Pisco is a grape brandy, some of whose grapes descend from cuttings brought over from Spain by the conquistadores. In Peru, pisco for export must, by law, be made using ancestral methods: specified grape varietals, single distillation to proof on a potstill, no dilution with water, resting for 3 months before bottling. The process is regarded as a national treasure.

The PISCOlogia distillery is right next to the vineyard. They mostly crush by foot, distill very carefully, and rest their brandy for 6 months for better integration. They’re in Azpitia in the Andean foothills south of Lima; the climate is semi-desert with irrigation from snowmelt in the Andes. Distilled, the grapes have a desert-grown intensity of flavor. Beautifully distilled brandies at a good price: they have placed first in both competitions they entered.

PiscoLOGIA Puro Quebranta.  Distilled from the non-aromatic Quebranta grape, a cross between the Criolla and Mollar varietals brought over from Spain.  Elegant and intense. 41.8% abv.

PiscoLOGIA Acholado.  A blend of brandies from the Quebranta and the Italia grape, an Italian white cross of Bican and Hamburg Muscat. Fruity, subtle, and citric, with a hint of muscat. 41.8% abv.

Anthony Dias Blue, who has one of the best palates in the trade, recently gave the San Andres Alipus mezcal Ensamble a score of 92: vivid nose…earthy and textured. Don Valente knows his wild bicuishe (20% of the blend) very well (it’s a local specialty) and the Ensamble is beautifully distilled. Comparable (not really) Ensambles are priced at $70-85: this is a bargain at $65.

Just arrived: 696 bottles of Mezcalero no. 20, a semi-wild arroqueno distilled on a single clay potstill by Felipe de Jesús Rios in El Potrero, west of Sola de Vega. I talk about it on the CW website: arroqueno intensity married to a delicious sweetness. Clean and balanced, lovely finish: a winner.

A reminder: right next door to the new Germain-Robin tasting room (where you can taste the 30-year-old) is the new Caddell & Williams store, right in the heart of down-town Ukiah, infinitely multiplying the reasons to visit Mendocino’s county seat. Open weekdays 8-4 and Sat 10-12 (and by appt. 707 468-7899 or -96) (Tasting Room Sat 10-12 and by appt), it has a license allowing the visitor to taste everything: gin, vodka, whiskey, mezcal. The store incorporates the Museum of Encountered Objects, a pretty fabulous display of stuff accumulated over the past 40 years by, yours truly/ansley coale