2014 South America Cruise Day 3 – Pisco

The first port of call of our South American Cruise was the port of Pisco, Peru, which is about 300 kms south of Lima. As the area is a part of the Atacama Desert the scenery must been seen to be believed, luckily I had my camera 🙂

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Our tour guide for the day was a lady called Diana, she was from Lima and drove down overnight to meet us. Diana is a very knowledgeable person, so far I have been very lucky with my tour guides as some of the other tours have complained that their guides do not speak English well or have very heavy accents.

The Tour

My tour today was called the Route of the Pisco, as there were multiple tour groups, our itinerary was reversed.

During this excursion to the heart of Peru’s beautiful Pisco Valley, you’ll explore the processes for making wine and pisco, and sample delicious varieties of each.

Peruvian pisco is a clear to slightly yellow grape brandy, or aguardiente, distilled from fresh grape, with an alcohol content of approximately 42%. Your tour begins with a visit to Bodega Catador to learn about the artisan pisco-making process, while tasting and enjoying the different varieties. This bodega has a long and storied history. In 1970, its former owner, Doña Cristel Gonzales de Carrasco, reinitiated the production of the El Catador traditional wines and piscos.

Continue on to Vista Alegre winery, best known for its production of pisco, Peru’s national drink, this winery is one of the biggest and oldest in the country.

Bodegas Vista Alegre

We were taken through the town of Ica on the way to the two wineries, the first, Bodegas Vista Alegre, was a commercial operation that produces a large selection of wines. Our guide around the winery by Jesus, who showed us around the vineyard and the different wine making process associated with the various grapes, as well as how they make Pisco.

La Casa del Catador

The second winery, La Casa del Catador, was a very different place to the first winery, more rustic and with traditional wine making facilities.

Enrique, the manager / owner of La Casa del Catador, walked us through the traditional method that they have been using to make Pisco for six generations, including the treading of the grapes, ie using stomping on them, and a manual wine-press to produce the juice. The juice is then distilled in their industrial sized distillers.

After taking us through the process, we were taken to the cellar door to taste their wines and Pisco. It was an interesting tasting, ended up with a bottle of their white and a couple of souvenirs.

Once we had finished the tasting it was straight back to the ship, unfortunately we were only in Port for a few hours which meant that our tour was a bit rushed, I would have enjoyed having a bit more time at Bodegas Vista Alegre to explore.

We returned to the ship with what we thought was 30 minutes to spare, only to find out that another tour was running late, very late, arriving about 1 hour after we were meant to depart, luckily for them, the ship waited until their arrival. If they had missed the ship, they would have had to have made their way to our next port of call by land, not sure how easy that would have been, definitely not as comfortable as on-board the Mariner.

It was formal night, forgot a tie, and the Captain, Felice Patruno, gave his welcome on-board speech as well as introducing the senior offices and managers.

After the “formal” part of the evening it was off to Compass Rose for dinner with Kathi and Don Harvey. As usual our dinner was excellent, good service, great food, good wine. I enjoyed both the 2010 Murphy-Goode Cabernet Sauvignon and Croft Ruby Port, but still found the 2012 Backhouse Pinot Noir to be a very average wine.

Next stop Matarani, Peru.

Re-post from my 2014 Cruise due to corruption that occurred during the migration of my blog.



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