Livio Pastorino

Observations on the latest National Pisco Contest in Moquegua 2017

In August 2017, we were invited to taste at the XXIII National Pisco Contest in Moquegua. Over 340 samples of Pisco from the five Pisco-producing regions were evaluated in a blind tasting (coded samples) at eight tables, each consisting of seven tasters. The President of the Contest was Lyris Monasterio and the Taster Director was Angel Custodio, who were responsible for the management of the event, which, as in previous occasions, was conducted without any issues.

Moquegua is one of the Pisco-producing regions that has an excellent climate for winemaking. It, together with Arequipa, Tacna, & Arica in Chile, were also major wine and liquor producing regions in the past. Moquegua is a small valley, can say similar to a Chinese Wok pan, gives the feeling of being heated by the sun in the center and then reflected off the walls. Also from Moquegua, various products were transported to mining areas in Cusco, Puno, and Potosí in Bolivia, including liquor and wines from this region.

In each taste table, the Director appoints a coordinator to ensure compliance with the tasting regulations, oversee that the tasters include all the necessary data in the tasting form (name, scores, date, table number, sample number, etc.). The form is the same one used by the International Organization of Vine and Wine (OIV) in all the distilled spirits contests worldwide. Additionally, every year, we have an observer from this organization. This year, it was Mr. José María Lez Secchi from Uruguay.

Another function of the table coordinators is to observe the tasters' scores. According to OIV, scores that differ at least 7 points from the average, either up or down, will not be considered. If any member of the table wishes to rectify their score to be included in the final average, they can do so before the coordinator submits the forms.

For instance, if we evaluate a Pisco with 70 points, and the table's average is 80 points (it's 7 or more points lower than the average), the table coordinator can inform the taster(s) that their score is not within the average, and it will not be considered in the final score unless they wish to rectify it. In this case, the taster can increase their score to, say, 78 points, which disqualifies the Pisco from obtaining a medal (80 points or more), but their evaluation will be within the average. This change does not compromise the final score, so the Pisco may or may not deserve a medal for most tasters, but the variation is minimal.

OIV 2009 Appreciation Scheme
100-point scale
Great Gold at least 92 points
Gold at least 85 points
Silver at least 82 points
Bronze at least 80 points

The table coordinator also informs the tasters and intervenes when they are too scattered in their evaluations. This is achieved at the end of each tasting by discussing the scores assigned by each taster. If there are no issues, and the scores are within the average, the next sample is evaluated. This way, the table will have minimal scattering and have the opportunity to rectify if necessary, becoming the most even "calibrated" table in the contest.

Link to the results of the XXIII National Pisco Contest in Moquegua 2017.  Click to the link

Til next time! 

By Livio Pastorino Wagner Sommelier, Specialist, and Pisco Taster Registration: CRDO-PISCO 2020 RCO-034-2011


Pisco & music

Cocktail Magazine No. 16 February 19, 2018.


Cocktail magazine (spanish) in issuu


February 2018


Where pisco is the only protagonist!
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