Pingus 2018 Flor de Pingus Ribera del Duero Spain

James Suckling


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94 Points James Suckling - A ripe, layered red with plum, black-cherry and some toasted oak. It’s full-bodied with rounded tannins, but there’s a lively edge to the wine as well. Subtle and fine. Sort of shy still.

94+ Points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate - Like the rest of the wines, I tasted the bottled 2018 Flor de Pingus—which I tasted unbottled last year—next to the 2019 that will be bottled in June 2021, and it was great to see how the wines reflected the character of the two vintages. All of the estate vineyards are certified organic, and this is pure Tinta del País, the local strain of Tempranillo, from 40 hectares in five different locations (parajes) of the village of La Horra where the Pingus vineyards are also located. It fermented with natural yeasts and also natural malolactic and matured for 18 months in French oak barrels, 25% new. The day I tasted it, the wine was oakier than normal, but the amount of new oak is not higher than normal. The palate showed much better, with very fine and polished tannins. There is freshness, even red fruit and good balance. The oak should integrate with a little more time in bottle. It was bottled in July 2020.

Winemaker Notes - The wine is clear and bright with a medium ruby color and presence of legs. The nose is clean and developing, showing medium intensity aromas of cedar, vanilla, chocolate, dark plums, dark cherries, licorice and anise. The wine is dry in the mouth with a medium acidity. It has medium supple tannins and a high alcohol. It has a medium body and flavors of cedar, vanilla, dark plums, dark cherries and licorice. The finish is long.

In 1995, Peter Sisseck’s iconic Pingus emerged from its womb fully formed. A marriage of three great, ancient vineyards, its conception was as precise as it was brilliant. And the rest is history.

First made in 2003, the idea behind Peter’s rare Amelia was even simpler. Just a single barrel from fewer than 500 vines planted in 1895. It could never be anything other than great.

Flor de Pingus came to the party later. Its first vintage, 1995, was lost when a container ship sank in the North Atlantic in 1998, sending nearly every bottle made to the ocean floor. (Also lost was the entire US allocation of 1995 Pingus, plus tens of thousands of cases of classified growth Bordeaux.)

Flor de Pingus' second vintage, 1996, did survive, becoming something of a legend for those of us lucky enough to have tried it over the years.

But Flor’s full potential was yet to be realized. None was made in 1997 or 1998, and the 1999 was a mix of young vines and a few older vineyards scattered around the same village that Pingus is in, La Horra.

But Peter wanted more old vines from great terroirs, of which there was no shortage surrounding his three ancient Pingus plots.

Assembling those vineyards would take time and—in the red-hot Ribera del Duero real estate market of the 2000s—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 and Amelia.

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