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Average critic rating : 95.0 points
The 2007 Flor de Pingus exhibits a superb perfume of pain grille, pencil lead, espresso, mineral, black cherry, and blackberry. This is followed by a medium to full-bodied, seriously intense, rich wine that combines elegance with power. Impeccably balanced with the oak fully integrated, it has the structure for another 4-6 years of cellaring and will offer prime drinking from 2014 to 2027. ||Dominio de Pingus is located in the La Horra region of Ribera del Duero. Owner/winemaker, Peter Sisseck, an oenologist originally from Denmark, started the estate in 1995. There are currently 3 wines produced, Flor de Pingus, a single barrel cuvee called Amelia which began in 2003, and the flagship Pingus. In a normal vintage there are usually about 4000 cases of Flor de Pingus, 500 cases of Pingus, and 25 cases of Amelia. Flor de Pingus is sourced from a number of small parcels located in the La Horra zone. The vines are all over 35 years of age and have been farmed biodynamically since 2005.They are either owned or rented by Peter Sisseck, so Flor de Pingus always comes from the same pieces of ground. In that sense it is not a second wine but there is no question that is a very close approximation of Pingus at a fraction of the price. That makes it a relative bargain in the scheme of things. The wine is 100% Tempranillo typically aged for 14 months in new French barriques. The first vintage of Pingus was in 1995. The estate has been biodynamically farmed since 2000 and, according to Sisseck, has never been treated with fertilizer or pesticides. The Pingus vines are all at least 65 years of age and yields are typically under 1 ton per acre. The wines, made from 100% Tempranillo, are bottled without fining or filtration. Wine Advocate.June, 2010
Pingus: The Importance
Few wines have had as profound an impact on their homeland as Pingus. One of the world’s most elite wines, it rivals even the Bordeaux first growths for both prestige and price with a cult following to match.
A ‘garagiste’ style wine produced from ancient Tempranillo, Pingus first became the stuff of legend when the fledgling 1995 vintage debuted on Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate with 96-100 point score. This staggering achievement was rendered even more astounding given that the wine came from Ribera del Duero, a region hitherto known for mass-produced ‘bulk’ wine (with the notable exception of the inimitable Vega Sicilia). Robert Parker did not mince his words when assessing the 1995 Pingus’s quality:
“It is one of the greatest and most exciting young red wines I have ever tasted. I am not kidding when I say this might be the greatest young red wine I have ever tasted from Spain.”
Fast-forward to the present day and Pingus has become a gold-standard in winemaking, not just in Ribera del Duero or Spain but worldwide, sporting a handful of perfect 100 point scores and many more in the high nineties from Parker. These accolades, coupled with a miniscule production of fewer than 500 cases a vintage have led Pingus to be one of the world’s most covetable wines.
Pingus: The Insight
At the heart of Pingus’s story are its vines. The wine comes purely from biodynamically farmed old Tempranillo vines, with some plants exceeding 65 years in age. The wine is fermented in large wooden casks and is largely left alone once it is in barrel. Founder and winemaker Peter Sisseck is adamant that this is the secret to Pingus’s success and is vocal about the purity of his vines.
Three wines are currently produced at Dominio de Pingus. The first is of course the legendary flagship, of which just 500 cases are made a vintage, with none made at all in poorer years (none was produced in 2002). The top vintages of Pingus are undoubtedly the 2004 and 2012, both with 100 points from Robert Parker, but others such as the 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2010 are all similarly incredible wines.
Pingus’s second wine is the Flor de Pingus. Made of 100% Tempranillo sourced from a handful of estate parcels in the La Horra region, it is crafted from 35+ year old vines that are also owned by Peter Sisseck. Flor de Pingus is crafted with all the same philosophy, making it an excellent insight into the domain’s winemaking: Jay Miller of the Wine Advocate called it “a very close approximation of Pingus at a fraction of the price.” In fact, in some years Flor de Pingus has been known to rank hot on the heels of the flagship wine: in 2004 it scored at a staggering 98 points and in 2008 it came in at 96, just a point less than Pingus’s 97.
The final and newest wine from the Dominio de Pingus stable is the PSI. Sisseck began PSI as side project in 2007 with the intention of making the most of Ribera del Duero’s many old vine sites and the huge surplus of grapes unused by their owners. The project has so far been a success, with the 2012 PSI earning a highly respectable 92+ points from the Wine Advocate – not bad for grapes that would have otherwise gone to waste. In 2010, the production of PSI doubled to 16,600 cases a vintage.
Pingus: The Background
After a successful career in France making wines in Bordeaux, Danish winemaker Peter Sisseck arrived in Spain on a whim in 1990, settling in Ribera del Duero. The odds were seemingly stacked against him. The region had become known for focusing on quantity rather than quality and seemed unlikely to ever challenge the mighty Rioja. Sisseck was determined and, on purchasing a tiny plot of neglected 60-year-old vines, the Pingus story began.
His first ever vintage, the 1995, produced 325 cases of wine – 75 of which were allocated to the U.S. market and packed up for shipping. Some weeks later, that shipment sank, with all of the 75 cases disappearing near the Azores in the North Atlantic. While Sisseck’s parcel was not the only wine shipment on board – nor the most sizeable – the loss represented a staggering proportion of the fledgling vineyard’s production and seemed a devastating blow to the Pingus dream.
Or so Sisseck assumed. In reality, the sudden disappearance of nearly a quarter of the wine’s miniscule production rendered it unexpectedly collectable. Demand for Pingus surged almost overnight, rendering it one of the most sought-after Spanish wines. This spike in interest was a catalyst, but it would be unfair to overlook the quality of Dominio de Pingus’ wine, which has proved its excellence time and time again and which now rightly holds the crown of Spain’s foremost cult wine.
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