Dominio de Pingus was set up by Danish wine maker Peter Sisseck in 1995 and its reputation didn’t even need time to develop. The first vintage was so highly praised by Robert Parker it’s release price of $200 a bottle didn’t seem that staggering to some (the price subsequently doubled overnight when, in 1997, a container ship carrying 75 cases of the precious wine disappeared somewhere in the North Atlantic).
But with most things, timing was everything. Spain’s reputation of being a strong player in the global wine market was just coming around and an interest in what else the region and its native grape varieties could offer had grown. And here came a wine to showcase all that. Old, well-tended vines, deliberately pruned to grow small amounts of high intensity fruit produced a wine that was so big on character it was unlike any Spain had produced before. For the new American market this was perfect.
Dominio de Pingus, their main wine, is still made in very small batches and in bad years not at all. Amelia is a wine that rivals the original in its scarcity and age; produced from 100 year old vines under 30 cases are made in good years and it’s only sold on the US market.
Luckily, they do produce two other wines that are more accessible and invariably better priced. ‘Flor de Pingus’ their second wine is still made with 100% Tempranillo but from much younger vines. The care taken throughout growing and during production seems to be the same though and this wine has grown a cult following of its own, no doubt thanks to the value it offers in comparison to its older siblings.
PSI from Pingus is the slightly unorthodox but thoroughly modern (or perhaps traditional) joint venture with Pablo Rubio. It was set up to encourage production on vineyards that had been neglected in the region. A blend of tempranillo and garnacha (10%) it is much fresher than the other wines and is more in keeping with a traditional Ribera del Duero style. With much higher production numbers it’s definitely their most accessible range but it’s not necessarily a true reflection of what the producer is about. However, that may not be a bad thing, this is a well-made wine, from good quality vines that is more in keeping with the traditional style of the region.
2009 was a very good vintage in Castilla y Leon