Robert Parker 92
Let’s start with the 2012 PSI, from an extremely dry vintage, produced with Tempranillo grapes with 5% Garnacha (a percentage that will be increased in the forthcoming vintages) that fermented in cement vats and aged for 18 months in a combination of used French barriques, oak foudres and cement vats. 150,000 bottles were produced. It was bottled in May 2014 and it feels closed and inaccessible, a bit stubborn or perhaps suffering from the recent bottling. It takes a long time to open up, finally revealing a core of sweet red fruit and notes of flowers, perfectly integrated oak. The palate is medium-bodied, delicious, more in line with the 2010s than with 2011s, sleek and pure, very balanced. It feels like a cool vintage, but it was not. A real triumph. Drink 2014-2017. I had a relaxed and superb tasting with Peter Sisseck, where we had time to discuss the wines and Ribera del Duero in general as Sisseck is now part of the Consejo Regulador. It was also a great learning experience as he showed me some experimental wines that resulted in adjustments from the 2012 vintage onward, and a big jump in precision for the wines, with the yet unbottled 2012 Pingus verging on perfection. He explained the range of wines he produces as it follows: PSI is the regional wine, Flor de Pingus is the village, and Pingus is the Cru. PSI is the newer wine in the lineup and the one that might require more explanation. In 2007, a difficult vintage in Ribera del Duero, he lost quite a lot of grapes for Flor de Pingus because of a big hailstorm, so he had to look for grapes he could purchase. He then realized how much Ribera had grown: from 6,000 hectares in 1985 to 9,000 hectares in 1990 and more than 22,000 hectares today! There is a big surplus of grapes, so the grapes from old vineyards are not valued. He decided that he wanted to support the people who were keeping their old vineyards and not ripping them up, or going to younger vines and high yields. He purchased their grapes, paid a fair price and produced PSI with them. Besides tasting extensively and slowly, I retasted 2010 Pingus and I also had the chance to preview the 2013 Pingus (clean, pure, with great acidity, but still too young) plus some experimental cuvees, some of which might see the light in the future. They have never produced better wines at Pingus. Bravo! Importer: The Rare Wine Company, Sonoma, CA; www.rarewineco.com
Anticipated maturity: 2014-2017
Brilliant ruby. Smoke-accented aromas of fresh red fruits, pipe tobacco, cedar and potpourri, with a suave vanilla quality in the background. Fleshy and seamless on the palate, with sweet cherry and mocha flavors and a touch of anise. Shows very good breadth and sweetness on the gently tannic finish, which leaves smoke and spicecake notes behind.