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I don't think I've ever tasted a wine more recently bottled than the 2014 Pingus, which was bottled in the morning and I tasted it that very same evening! Peter Sisseck compares this to the 1995, the first vintage ever produced, when he learned that when you have such perfect grapes, you should do very little to the wine. He's been trying to replicate that first vintage, but there's nothing you can do to force it, as it has to be the natural conditions of the vintage that bring those grapes. What he also learned with the 1995 was that with wines like that, you need a long and slow aging in oak; so for the 2014, he decided to do a little longer élevage—three winters in barrel—but in 100% used barrels, something he started in 2012. If it would have been new oak, as in the past, it would have been impossible to have such extended aging without marking the wine too much and possibly forever. The wine was quite tannic to start with, but it was racked every six months, and in that way they have managed to tame those tannins without getting the wine tired, as the aging itself was quite reductive. The nose is quite harmonious and open, but maybe not very expressive, a normal thing considering the extremely short bottle age it had (hours!), but it should gain precision in bottle. In instances like this, you have to guide yourself by the palate. And it's precisely on the palate where you find that texture that is almost unique to Ribera del Duero when it's as perfect as this. It's very different from other zones, a velvety mouthfeel and a surrounding sensation of comfort, incredibly long. The tannins are ultra fine and with that subtle chalkiness of the limestone soils, which also added to the tastiness and the supple aftertaste. In short, I cannot think of a way of improving this Pingus other, than getting a magnum instead of a regular bottle! Congratulations, Peter Sisseck! 4,800 bottles were filled on January 16th of 2017, a slightly shorter production than the average, because part of the vines were hit by hail and didn't make it into the final blend. Now stay tuned for 2015 and 2016.
Dominio de Pingus was established in 1995 by Danish winemaker Peter Sisseck. It is situated in the La Horra area of the Ribera del Duero region. The wine produced, Pingus, is considered a "cult wine", sold at extremely high prices while remaining very inaccessible.
On the estate's winemaking philosophies, Sisseck has stated, "The vines in my plots are very old. They have never been fertilised nor treated with pesticides and all grow following the traditional en vaso system. They are perfect."
The first vintage of Pingus was 1995. The production of this wine is always very limited, in 1995 it was only 325 cases. Yields as low as half to a quarter of the finest red Grand Cru Burgundies. Of the annual production of Pingus there is typically less than 500 cases, though in poor vintages no Pingus is made.
Pingus is the first wine to transcend traditional Spanish winemaking. In it Peter Sisseck has created a modern archetype of Ribera de Duero. With only a few vintages released, Pingus is already part of an elite club of top Spanish wine producers whose wines combine a true sense of their origins with fiercely singular personalities.
Pingus is undoubtedly world-class and helped to confirm the Ribera del Duero as a match to any of the traditional European appellations. This is nevertheless a distinctly Spanish wine.
Soil: limestone-rich clay and gravel
Production area: 4 ha
Grape varieties: 100% Tempranillo
Average age of vines: 70 years
Harvest method: hand picked
Winemaking: no fining or filtration, minimal rackings. Pingus has been biodynamic since 2000
Ageing: 18-20 months in new oak barrique
Peter Sisseck has done it again! He's crafted an otherworldly Pingus in the superb 2014 vintage in the Ribera del Duero region. All of the wines from that year are simply unbelievable, with possibly the best version of Flor de Pingus ever, and a Pingus that rivals the already perfect 2012. I just wonder where you can go from here, because I previewed a special lot of the 2015, floral and fresh—even drinkable now (I did it!)—that resembled the elegance and perfume of the 1996, one of my favorite early vintages. And even if it's still very early, he was ecstatic about the quality of the 2016 (which I was kicking myself for not having the chance to taste), something in common with all of the people that were ABLE to harvest early. So the future couldn't look brighter for Pingus!! Talking about the more accessible PSI, 2014 is the last year when they fermented the wine outside their facilities, as they simply didn't have enough space. From 2015 on, they have built a new winery in Aranda de Duero and all subsequent wines are produced there, working the traditional Ribera del Duero way, which was mixing grapes from different origins. By the way, there is a PSI Gran Reserva aged for three years in well-seasoned barrels in the pipeline, of which I also tasted a barrel sample from 2013 that blew me away. Stay tuned!