MM’s roommate and my close friend (who will be known as Frenchie from this point forth) was recently in Peru for two weeks. He brought back wonderful Peruvian treasures, such as a reversible alpaca beanie and Coca wine. I tried both last night (though, the beanie is mine to keep).
I was excited to try the Coca wine a) because it’s wine, and b) because I had never heard of it before and wondered what it might taste like, or how it would affect me. Coca is a leaf that is used widely in Peru in teas and candy. It is a stimulant that is supposed to give you energy and be good for elevation sickness. (FYI, coca leaves are also used to make cocaine).
Frenchie brought back a coca wine called Andante. He poured four glasses for me, MM, himself, and his lady friend. I noticed a sort of dense, hazy, purple-brown color in the glass. I was a little afraid to try it after smelling it. The nose was like over-sweetened fruit juice. It actually reminded me of Hawaiian Punch. I took a sip and thankfully, it tasted better than it smelled, but was still very sweet. My first reaction was that it tasted like a bad dessert wine. Frenchie’s lady friend then noticed that the wine is supposed to be served chilled (this was written in Spanish on the back of the label). So we added some ice cubes to our glasses and took another sip. Much better, but still not very good. I noticed intense cherry flavors, as well as chocolate, cinnamon, grape and even a little lychee (one of MM’s favorite fruits).
We all decided that it would make a great base for Sangria because we wouldn’t have to add any sugar! Alas, we only had the one bottle, and we had already drank half of it.
I’m certainly glad I got to experience such a unique wine, but I wouldn’t recommend searching for a bottle. Unless, of course, you’re in Peru.