What Peruvian winery has launched a natural wine inspired by Sophia Loren?

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Sophia loren (Rome, 1934) has never visited Peru. Not that it is known, and without a doubt it would have been known. The only thing we can be certain of is that the first thing that would have been offered to you when you set foot on our shores is a pisco sour. Almost immediately, as custom dictates, someone would have asked him if he liked it.

Back in 1959, a curious television initiative aimed to build bridges between these lands and the Italian film diva. In the program “A Hollywood con Nivea”, broadcast by Panamericana Televisión and hosted by Pepe Ludmir (who had the opportunity to interview her at least a couple of times), a contest was organized at that time to find the Peruvian Sophia Loren with tests that spanned months. The winner would receive two tickets to Hollywood and cash for her travel bag. Meeting the star was, in principle, part of the package and perhaps the most attractive of the whole award. Unfortunately there is no confirmation of the holding of this meeting, but there is a record of the hundreds of young women who dared to participate, replicating the look and style of one of the most fascinating women in the history of the seventh art. The same one that once said that he preferred to eat pasta and drink wine to be size zero.

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His was a universal message. Something that Peruvians understand well, although it is not specifically spaghetti or ravioli, but rather cebiches, lomo saltado, cau cau or dry with beans (nothing to envy our friends in Italy, by the way). That compliment to the curve, to the healthy and natural female body, was always part of the charm of the eternal Sophia. A philosophy that is a celebration of life and that has inspired countless demonstrations in tribute to the icon of cinema. One of the most recent has been baptized in his honor, although it is a creation with a personality -and body- of its own.

It’s about a peruvian wine Produced in the Pisco Valley, just as natural and enchanting as Sophia herself.

Sophia L'Orange is a blend of quebranta and mollar. The former is the most cultivated grape in all the authorized Pisco regions. The second is cultivated in Pisco, Ica, Cañete, Caravelí and Majes, although in lesser quantity compared to the other varieties. Photo: Iván Salinero.
Sophia L’Orange is a blend of quebranta and mollar. The former is the most cultivated grape in all the authorized Pisco regions. The second is cultivated in Pisco, Ica, Cañete, Caravelí and Majes, although in lesser quantity compared to the other varieties. Photo: Iván Salinero.

Everything you see I owe to the grape

In 2017 the effort paid off: the first distillation of pisco made in Murga winery (a sustainable project that was born in 2014 with four Peruvian partners) had come out on a small scale. The product, however, would still have to wait a few years to be officially presented. We will come to that later. What was discovered along the way was that with the same Pisco vines that had been sown, wines could be made through a process devoid of chemicals. The result of that experimentation with Italia, Albilla, Mollar, Negra Criolla and Quebranta grapes was the letter of introduction of the Murga Winery, whose vineyards and the winery itself are located in the Pisco Valley (Humay district) about 25 kilometers from the sea. The wines went on sale in 2018.

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Murga’s identity took shape from the hand of the pisco producer Alberto di Laura, who is in charge of the distillation process; the manager and taster Arturo Inga; and the talent (and magic) of Brazilian winemaker Pietra Possamai, who is in charge of natural wines, a growing trend in Europe and the United States for decades, whose niche is also growing in Peru. It was precisely Possamai who gave him the name of Sophia L’Orange to the blend of quebranta and mollar 2020 whose label replicates the curvilinear shape of a woman that refers, in turn, to the Italian diva. Had it existed in 1959, the Sophia L’Orange probably would have won the contest hosted by Pepe Ludmir. but that’s another story.

The name here is not the only thing that makes it special. Also the content.

Arturo Inga, manager and taster of Bodega Murga, examines the batch of the brand's first pisco that will go on sale -after several years of work- in June 2021. Photo: Iván Salinero.
Arturo Inga, manager and taster of Bodega Murga, examines the batch of the brand’s first pisco that will go on sale -after several years of work- in June 2021. Photo: Iván Salinero.

“It was a challenge to make wine with the same pisco grapes, and also make it a natural wine,” explains the sommelier Arturo Inga. “When we started experimenting, we realized that there was a lot of potential. Today we have a classic line and some products that we knew from the beginning would have their own personality, such as Sophia L’Orange. We create a particular label for those, but our traditional label is a technical sheet where the steps we do are listed and the maceration time is indicated, or if it has gone through concrete, wood or clay. People want to see all the training, ”he says.

The peculiarity of Murga is not only in the design of its labels or in the variety of its offer. It is also in its commitment to traditional and quality artisanal processes. No pesticides or herbicides are used in the vineyard, for example. Neither are plastic tanks, but stainless steel, as well as stills made of electrolytic copper. For the wine process, concrete eggs, terracotta amphoras and oak barrels free of toxic elements in their composition are used.

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The pandemic did not interrupt the planned work. We had to continue with the wines and finally launch the brand’s first and long-awaited pisco, made from four grape varieties: quebranta, albilla, Italia and black criolla, each with its own bottle. In order to Pisco Murga The rest is carried out in stainless steel tanks for a minimum period of two years, until the piscos reach the optimum balance that allows us to appreciate the characteristics of each strain. It will be on sale from June.

Until that day comes, we will always have Sophia.

The vineyards and the winery are located in the heart of the Pisco Valley, in the Humay district, about 25 kilometers from the sea. The wine is made by film maceration and fermentation of Creole grapes with their own yeasts, without chemical inputs. Photo: Ivan Salinero.
The vineyards and the winery are located in the heart of the Pisco Valley, in the Humay district, about 25 kilometers from the sea. The wine is made by film maceration and fermentation of Creole grapes with their own yeasts, without chemical inputs. Photo: Ivan Salinero.

The opinion

Giovanni bisso, sommelier

Natural wines are a trend that seeks greater purity and sensitivity in the product. It is like going back to the beginning: they are wines that usually have minimal intervention from winemakers, they use wild yeast, spontaneous fermentation, they do not go through barrels or add any chemical product to them. In itself, it is to drink a wine in the most traditional and classic way possible.

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For sale at: Y

Bodega Murga’s wines are served in restaurants such as Astrid & Gastón, Central, Siete Y Osaka, among others.

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