Pingus, at present is Spain's most popular and lauded red wine and has given the Ribera region of Spain immediate renown. Since 1990 the Dane, Peter Sisseck, has managed the estate, the Hacienda el Monesterio. He learned his trade of wine making in Bordeaux and was inspired by Valandraud in Saint-Emilion. With utmost care and following ecological principles, he still tends his vineyards, which lie in probably the best terroirs of the Ribera region, restricting his yields drastically. Then he waits patiently for the grapes' optimum ripeness, before they are hand-picked and taken 25 miles in small crates by refrigerated truck to his wine cellar in distant Quintanilla de Onesimo. Here, ten women de-stalk the grapes by hand, before lightly crushing them underfoot in small stainless steel fermenting tanks. Being early in October the night are cool and the grapes lie in their own must for ten days before fermentation sets in; and this usually lasts another eight days. Generally, Peter Sissek lets the wine macerate for only a few days before he takes off the stems and pours the juice into new French Barrels. After malolactic fermentation occurs in the warmer spring weather, each single barrel is tasted to ensure proper maturity. After around 2 years in barrel the highly sought after Pingus is bottled. Such dedication and hands on work are only a part of the reason this wine demands prices that compete with the top clarets from around the world. The quality and beauty in the bottle speaks for itself.
Stay tuned for future reviews of the Second labeling of this bodega called "Flor de Pingus". I have one waiting in my cellar!