After our second harvest last October, we teamed up with our friends at Destilería Andina in Ollantaytambo to make Peru’s first high-altitude pomace brandy (grappa). We feel this fine spirit is a celebration of the commonality between both projects. Both Apu Winery and Destilería Andina share the same altitude and we are both participants in new culinary wave of the Andes, producing craft products to pair with the delectable plates you will find in Cusco and the Sacred Valley.
Unlike Peruvian pisco, pomace brandy is made from the fermented skins and seeds (called pomace), not the grape juice. Grappa made from white wine grapes is the most aromatic because it is made by distilling the freshly-fermented grape skins and seeds. This is different than grappa made from red wine, which is from re-fermented skins (skins are left on during fermentation to make red wine, while they are removed before fermentation to make white wine). We had the opportunity to make high-altitude brandy from Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon this year.
To make our first batch, our good friend Haresh Bhojwani at Destilería Andina distilled both varietals twice. After the second distillation, the ABV reached 75%. Haresh then diluted it to 43%, which seems to be the perfect formula.
Besides enjoying a beautiful, balanced and aromatic brandy, perhaps the best part of using our leftover skins and seeds is creating a no-waste environment at Apu Winery. Re-using our winemaking leftovers further promotes our sustainable practices here.
Next year we will offer Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese. However, as our vineyard expands and we get more varietals, so will our portfolio of pomace brandies. Quantities were small this year, so you won’t find any of our grappa in the Peruvian market quite yet. Expect to see it on shelves early 2020!