While other Spanish wines have achieved international recognition, Pingus is one of the very few that has joined the ranks of the world’s most coveted wines. Like Coche-Dury’s Corton-Charlemagne, Guigal’s LaLa wines, or Giacomo Conterno’s Monfortino, Pingus is known and revered wherever great wine is discussed.

Like those other esteemed names, Pingus has a quality that is often lacking in today’s “modern” wines—a sense of utter individuality. For there is no other wine in the world today that shares Pingus’ unique signature and, ultimately, that singularity is one of the fundamental requirements for great wine.

The Early Years

Pingus is produced by the visionary Danish winemaker Peter Sisseck. Peter arrived in Spain in 1993 to manage a new project, Hacienda Monasterio. While planting and developing Monasterio, he began to dream about the old vines he saw dotted around the Ribera del Duero landscape. By the 1995 vintage, Peter had found a group of old vines that spurred him to embark on his own project. He called it “Pingus,” after his childhood nickname.

One can only imagine what the reactions were like when Peter showed up in Bordeaux at the March 1996 en primeur tastings. Yet, by the end of the week, Pingus was perhaps the greatest story of that season’s futures campaign. Robert Parker announced the wine on the back cover of his Wine Advocate, bestowing an unheard of 96-100-point score. The world took notice, and Pingus was on its way.

Pushing the Limits

From the beginning, Peter’s vision was to push Tempranillo to its upper limits. He spent the first few years pruning his vines back to a healthy balance—the trunks were straightened, lowered, and canes were pruned back to 1-2 buds per cane. Yields have typically been under one ton per acre.

Pingus is fermented in large wooden vats and, once in cask, is mostly left alone. While early vintages employed a high proportion of new barrique for aging, Peter has decreased that amount over time to the point where top vintages see no new wood whatsoever.

Peter’s winery work has been widely imitated, and many wines can mimic the exotic textures that Pingus possesses. Yet, while they might approach Pingus’ style, none of these newcomers has the substance that defines Pingus - it is simply magical in the way that it balances otherworldly richness with a rare sense of elegance.

Over the past decade, Peter has continually refined his original vision. Since 2001, he has employed biodynamic viticulture to capture a healthier balance in his vineyards. In the winery, he has made subtle changes aimed at taming the region’s natural power and giving more delineation and depth to the Pingus voice.

Flor de Pingus

From the beginning, Peter has expressed his vision through two wines: Pingus and Flor de Pingus, the latter made from several parcels of old Tempranillo. In many respects Flor mirrors Pingus itself, with similarly high standards of winemaking and an equally deep commitment to biodynamic viticulture. It is no wonder that The Wine Advocate once wrote of Flor de Pingus: “In the price/quality sweepstakes, this might be Spain’s finest wine.”

At a Glance

  • Pingus is the result of Peter Sisseck’s commitment to capturing the utmost from his prized, old-vine Tinto Fino (Tempranillo) vineyard.
  • Peter credits 15+ years of biodynamic farming for Pingus’ unique texture and personality, and for allowing him to drastically cut the percentage of new wood employed (to zero in most years).
  • Flor de Pingus is treated to the same exacting viticulture as Pingus, and can rank among the region’s top wines on its own merits.

Technical Information

OVERVIEW

First Vintage: 1995
Proprietor: Peter Sisseck
Winemaker: Peter Sisseck

VINEYARD INFORMATION

Soils: Limestone-rich clay and gravel
Zone: La Horra
Harvest: by hand
Vineyards: Barroso (2.5 ha) & San Cristobal (1.5 ha). Both planted in 1929. 

ADDITIONAL WINEMAKING NOTES

  • No fining or filtration. Minimal rackings.
  • 100% destemming.
  • Pingus has been Biodynamic since 2000, Amelia since its first vintage in 2003, and Flor since the 2005 vintage. 

THE WINES

  Vineyard Information Winemaking Average Production

Pingus "Flor de Pingus"

Sourced from 31ha of estate-owned, old, head-pruned vines in the La Horra zone.

Fermented in open-top woodend tanks and aged for ~18 months in a mix of 2/3 old and 1/3 new French barrels.

6,500 cases

Pingus "Amelia"

A special parcel of 100+ year old vines that Peter believes holds the perfect heirloom Tinto Fino clone.

Aged for 18-24 months in a single barrel.

25 cases

Pingus "Pingus"

A selection of fruit from two ancient La Horra vineyards, Barroso (2.5ha) and San Cristobal (1.5ha).

Fermented in open-top woodend tanks and aged 18-24 months in 2nd passage barrels.

~500 cases

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