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94 Points Wine Advocate
There is around 20% new oak in the 2020 Flor de Pingus, and because it has a little younger vines (there was a land-consolidation project in La Horra in 2006!), there'll be some Garnacha starting in 2021 and maybe some oak vats for aging too. All this shows the direction, where he found structure and volume in the palate, with textured tannins. It's harmonious and elegant, aromatic and floral, perfumed and showy, with contained ripeness and around 14% alcohol. The palate is quite powerful, with abundant but fine tannins.
92 Points Wine Spectator
Plush in texture and elegant overall, with a fresh spine of acidity enlivening black plum reduction and crushed black cherry fruit, violet and tobacco, vanilla and mineral accents as they wrap around a firm core of fine-grained tannins. Drink now through 2030.
Like those other esteemed names, Pingus has a quality that is often lacking in today's "modern" wines-a sense of utter individuality. There is no other wine in the world, let alone Spain, that is quite like Pingus, and that singularity is one of the fundamental requirements for great wine.
Pingus is produced by the visionary Danish winemaker Peter Sisseck. Peter arrived in Spain in 1993 to manage a new project, Hacienda Monasterio. While planting and developing Monasterio, he began to dream about the old vines he saw dotted around the Ribera del Duero landscape. By the 1995 vintage, Peter had found several ancient vineyards that inspired him to make his own wine. He called it "Pingus," after his childhood nickname.
Peter's winery work has been widely imitated, and many wines can mimic the exotic textures that Pingus possesses. Yet, while they might approach Pingus' style, none of these newcomers has the substance that defines Pingus.
From the beginning, Peter intended to express his vision through two wines, Pingus and Flor de Pingus, though Flor took more time to fulfil its destiny. The first vintage, 1995, was almost entirely lost when a container ship carrying it sank in the North Atlantic in 1998. The second vintage, 1996, did survive, becoming something of a legend, but no Flor was produced in 1997 or 1998. And for 1999 Flor, Peter had to rely on a mixture of both young and old vines.
But Peter wanted Flor to feature more old-vine fruit from great terroirs. Assembling those vineyards would take time and money. And it would take even more time to convert the vineyards to the same biodynamic agriculture that has made such a difference for Pingus.
Today, we are witness to a coming of age for this increasingly important wine. Peter has refined the selection of vineyards used for Flor. He has even replanted some key parcels with a massale selection from his best, old-clone parcels. In the cellar, he ferments and macerates the largely old-vine fruit with native yeasts and up to 40% whole clusters for two to three weeks. After malolactic fermentation is complete, the wine is racked into mostly used barrels where it is left alone to develop its evocative expression to Tempranillo and terroir.
It is no wonder The Wine Advocate has written of Flor de Pingus: “In the price/quality sweepstakes, this might be Spain’s finest wine.”
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