Thursday, July 19, 2012

Revisiting Pisco Encanto

Was it a momentary passion, or was it enduring love?  Was it a crush, or did it become a lifelong thing?  If you liked it that much then, would you like it that much now?

These are the kinds of questions that persist when anyone sets themselves up as a critic or commentator or judge.  If you make value judgments, do you show good judgment, and do those judgments have value? The critic hopes to say “Yes!” to both those questions, so the occasional validation is both reassuring and sweet.

This critic wrote a column extolling the virtues of Campo de Encanto Pisco Acholado back on November 11, 2010.  Here’s what the original article said about Encanto Pisco:

Campo de Encanto is Pisco Acholado, a brilliant combination of Puro and Aromatico that achieves a fresh, rich, silky-textured aroma and flavor profile that is bound to please even the most demanding palate. It is both fruity and spicy; soft and peppery; clean yet aromatic; and manages a perfect balance of flavors.

 The first impression was of a fresh, lovely musky perfume of fruit with precise balance and excellent mixability.  Second, third and fourth impressions were equally powerful, to the extent that it was promoted as “the best pisco you’ll taste”.

Some readers took issue with the bold statement, but the critic stood his ground, secure in his judgment.
[And if it feels weird to read about me talking about myself in the third person, it feels a hell of a lot weirder to me.]

In May, 2012, the critic traveled down to Pomona to be a judge at the Los Angeles International Wine & Spirit Competition.  One category assigned to the judge’s panel was Brandy.

This was a blind tasting, so the judges knew nothing of the competitive participants other than the basic category description and the type.  All brandies were allowed to participate in the category, with subdivisions according to type and age. There were up to 28 types allowed and this particular competition included pisco, pomace, aged continuous still brandies and aged pot still brandies.

On this day, with this panel, three brandies were awarded Gold Medals.  Only one brandy was awarded a Gold Medal, Best of Category, and Best of Division, with all judges awarding a Gold Medal and a score of 90 points: Campo de Encanto Pisco Acholado.

The judges were unanimous in their praise for and appreciation of Encanto Pisco.  One judge in particular was quite pleased his prior assessment was replicated in a blind tasting, and his personal reactions were in accord with all he had said previously about this brandy.

However, this column is properly more about the brandy than the critic, as it should be.  And this prestigious Triple Gold Medal and high numerical score reinforces Campo do Encanto’s success in the marketplace, especially in the hands of professional bartenders who can appreciate the exceptional quality of this spirit and use it to fashion exciting creative cocktails for their customers.

Encanto Pisco has won a bevy of other awards, of course, including the Gran Medalla de Oro “Best of Show” at the XVII Concurso Nacional del Pisco competition in Peru---pretty impressive considering the pisco was going up against all other piscos in the homeland of pisco.

In any spirit, the primary appeal is in the balance of all the components, and Encanto Pisco is the exemplification of balance.  An acholada pisco---the Peruvian term for ‘half-breed’---Encanto is a blend of different grapes so that the brandy is fragrant, but not too fragrant of a particular grape variety, and delivers the harmonious combination of all its constituents. Because it is unaged, it reveals the transparent fruit nature of the grapes, the inherent “wine-ness” embodied in a brandy, without any masking or disguise or external enhancement, with all the freshness and vigor of spiritually volatized fruit.

Translation:  it’s fresh; it’s tasty; and it’s pure in aroma and flavor.

And now it’s a multiple Gold Medal Winner and Best Brandy at the Los Angeles International Spirits Competition.

Campo de Encanto Pisco Acholado is distributed by Haas Brothers in the U.S.