Grape Tutorial – Negra Criolla


As you well know, or you may not (if so, then you’ve come to the right place) there are 8 designated grape varietals for the production of pisco.  They come from two family’s of grapes; the non-aromatic and the aromatic.   To make one bottle of pisco you need between 6-7 Kilos!! That’s close to 15.5 lbs!

Today we will discuss the Negra Criolla.  This is from the non-aromatic family.

Another name for this grape is also Negra Corriente – although this name doesn’t do it justice.  This grape is native of the valley of Moquegua and Tacna, on the very most southern tip of Peru.  The actual berry varies from a violet-reddish tone  to a reddish-bluish tone, one can say they are irregularly toned and never uniform.  They are perfectly round of middle size and develop in a cone shaped cluster on the vine.  In average crops, this grape varietal tends to produce in abundant amounts.

The name Negra Criolla is what it is referred to in Peru but in Argentina it is known as the Criolla Chica and in California it is known as the Mission’s grape.   The mission grape was introduced from Spain to the western coasts of North and South America in the 16th century by Catholic missionaries for use in making sacramental wine, thus the name “mission” grape.

This type of grape produces very agreeable piscos that are tend to be very homogeneous, balanced and dry.  In the nose you get lingering aromas of freshly cut grass.