Tuesday, December 27, 2016

ferment

It's hard to miss Destilleria Pisco Mistral: it's opposite the square in a town that's only 4 or 5 blocks. Tour buses are parked in front. The next tour in English wasn't for an hour, so I joined a tour in Spanish. Fortunately I've been to enough wineries and distilleries that I wasn't too lost.
Half of the tour is devoted to a distillery museum. 
These udders from a cow were used to carry water.
Saddle bags for collecting grapes.
This is the old cellar for aging. I was curious how the bottles withstand earthquakes, but Chileans assured me that the country is accustombrada to terremotos and plans accordingly.
We tasted some ripe muscatel grapes off the vine.
 This antique harvester came from the United States.
Modern distillery tanks remind me of bathyspheres. Copper is expensive, so it's only used on the top.
 
Pisco is aged in these tanks. They smelled really good.
Appropriately, we sampled aged pisco in the temperate barrel room.
At the end of the tour, Carmen turned on an instructional film, which to my amusement was narrated in first-person Pisco. 
 After lunch, I stopped by the bar for my free Pisco sour.
There's another Pisco distillery either 2K or 4K from town, reportedly a better one. I asked Christin if there was a collectivo or bus. No, she said, your options are walk, bike, or hitchhike. I was tempted except for the heat. You can see why they say agua es vida ("water is life").
Back at the pool in front of my room, the bartender poured two samples from Nichos distillery. They were like grappa: guaranteed to kill germs for the rest of your life. Maybe I'll stick to wine and cocktails.