Pingus was established in 1995 by Peter Sisseck, who had already made a name for himself as winemaker at Hacienda Monasterio. He located three separate plots, each containing very old vines of Tinto Fino, and established the winery. Peter’s tiny production of fewer than 500 cases comes from three parcels of ancient, head-pruned Tempranillo vines. Yields range from a high of 20 to an incredibly low 9 hl/ha. All the vines in the plots are very old. They have never been fertilised nor treated with pesticides and all grow following the traditional en vaso system. After fermentation in steel of large wooden vat, the wines are raised in 100% new French oak. Dominio de Pingus has founded a joint project with local grape producers to make an old vine tempranillo called “PSI”.
I had already tasted the unbottled 2018 PSI, which saw a jump in quality after they got a new winery where they had much better working conditions. This wine is produced with purchased grapes from 200 hectares in around 750 plots and 20 different villages throughout Ribera del Duero (they now rent and work 50 hectares of these vineyards themselves). In 2018, they were able to use some 12% Garnacha and 2% other grapes, including whites that are found intermixed with the Tinta del País/Tempranillo in the old vineyards. Garnacha adds freshness, and the wine shows it—the character of the grape comes through in the blend. It fermented with indigenous yeasts and matured mostly in 5,000-liter and 10,000-liter oak vats, but 20% of the volume aged in used French barriques for 18 months. The color is quite light (relatively speaking), bright and lively, the nose perfumed, floral and elegant, like no PSI before. The palate is medium-bodied, with fine tannins, and it feels terribly balanced and beautifully textured. It’s elegant more than powerful but full of energy. This is without a doubt the finest PSI to date. Viva Garnacha! 360,000 bottles produced. It was bottled in June 2020. 94/100 robertparker.com