Pingus with Peter Sisseck
Last week was a busy week for wine in Hong Kong due to the local Wine & Dine festival and of course, James Suckling’s Great Wines of the World Tasting.
Peter Sisseck, the winemaker behind Dominio de Pingus, was in town so a dinner was held. It’s great to taste more and more wines outside of Burgundy, which is important to educate your palette and provide ever greater reference points for your mental wine database. Though it’s not everyone’s taste, Pingus is undeniably one of the top wineries of Spain. It takes some guts as someone not born into a wine family (Danish) to learn to make wine in Bordeaux (where no one really makes wines themselves) and to go to a country that was then in the 1990s not altogether active on the international wine circuit (Ribera del Duero, Spain). Even after the sinking of almost all of his first vintage 1995 on a fated voyage to USA, he was able to snatch 92pts from Robert Parker including some 100pts (in 2004 and 2012) and the rest, as they say, is history.
After trying through several vintages of Flor de Pingus (2007, 2010, 2012, 2015) and Pingus 2008 along with PSI 2015, I can definitely say it’s not all about luck and circumstance. The wines are some of the most brilliant and elegant expressions of Tempranillo you can find. The high price of the Pingus is debatable but at an average production of 7,000 bottles per annum it’s more of supply and demand issue. Flor on the other hand is totally worth the price it commands and drinks far better than any “second wine” you will find at any estate. PSI was also a great starter to the evening and is nice entry level wine that is 15% Grenache starting from the 2016 vintage.
PSI 2015: Too young to be expressive on the nose. Bright, crunchy cherry notes with velvety tannins. Medium finish and clearly able to age.
Flor de Pingus 2015: Young but surprisingly elegant. This was a hot year in Spain, which you can taste through the lush red fruit and plum notes however the tannins are well integrated and silky. Brilliant structure throughout from the start to a finish that lingers way longer than expected.
Flor de Pingus 2012: This is also a 100 pointer from Robert Parker, not that it matters much. This was also a great vintage in Spain and this barely shows any age. Towards the end of the dinner, when the wine finally opened up, there was glorious red fruit, plum and slight tobacco, darker chocolate notes poking through. If the word ‘sumptuous’ can be bottled, this is it.
Flor de Pingus 2010: The one that is easiest to drink now, relatively speaking. Plum with liquorice and tea notes on the nose with similar flavours on the palate. The structure is surprising silky, supple and altogether expressive.
Flor de Pingus 2007: Noticeably tough and chewier than 2010 and 2012. This was probably a hot dry vintage, confirmed by Peter. The nose and palate is much similar to the others Flors but the tannins are stringent and the acidity relatively sharp. Perhaps this will improve with age.
Pingus 2008: Dark and impressive that almost blows you away with the faintest sniff. This is a wine that wants to show off and is not shy about it. The nose and the palate are delightfully textured and complex, brimming with cigar, black cherries and black plum. However it is apparent that it’s still young and can really age for a further 10+ years without. I can’t wait to revisit ten years later. Call me Peter!