2018 La Veguilla Expression Tempranillo
There once was a Dane in Spain…
I am so dying to write this email in limerick form, a la “there once was a man from Nantucket…” but alas, that email would get spam-blocked. So here is a more serious version:
There once was a Dane in Spain.
He’d worked a famed spot called Petrus.
It cost a lot, more than even he could afford!
So the Dane knew, he had to cut loose.
That’s just terrible limerick-ing. Ok, I’ll really stop this time:
As a young man Peter Sisseck, Danish indeed, had his eyes set on glory. Or at least to make glorious wine. He had the good fortune to be an assistant winemaker at a winery in Pomerol, called Petrus (a couple of grand a bottle).
For no strong reason (“it’ just kinda happened” he recalled in a recent interview), Peter found himself in the Ribera del Duero of Spain. Becoming a winemaker in Spain wasn’t in his game plan. But he found the locals “absolutely welcoming.” Unlike in France, when all the cards were held closely to the chest, in Ribera there was a spirit of acceptance and creativity, of energy and wanting to move forward together to craft the New Spain.
In 1995 he had a banner year in the Ribera, crafting one of the greatest wines ever tasted:
“I tasted this wine […] and it is one of the greatest and most exciting young red wines I have ever tasted. This project is the creation of a young Danish winemaker, Peter Sisseck (Pingus being Danish slang for Peter). Sisseck brought in the well-known Bordeaux winemaker, Peter Vinding-Diers, and rented ten acres of 60+-year old Tempranillo vines (also called Tinto del Pais by the locals) in the heart of Ribero del Duero, not far from Vega Sicilia. The 1995 was produced from microscopic yields of one-half ton per acre (about 1.1 pounds of fruit per vine according to Sisseck. This wine has been made in the same manner as the famous Bordeaux trio of L’Angelus, Le Pin, and Valandraud.
“When I first tasted this wine […] I was blown away, but I wanted to taste it several more times just to be sure. I am not kidding when I say this might be the greatest young red wine I have ever tasted from Spain. It boasts an opaque purple color, followed by a magnificent nose of jammy blackberries, truffles, smoke, and subtle notes of pain grillee. Extremely rich and full-bodied, with exceptionally well-integrated acidity and tannin, this is a massively-concentrated yet impeccably-balanced wine that has a level of concentration that must be tasted to be believed. In spite of its other-worldly intensity, this is a sumptuous, surprisingly approachable wine that should age effortlessly for 15-20 years. This will be a legendary effort.
“100 points.” – Robert Parker
That wine is called Pingus. And interestingly enough, it wasn’t made from vineyards Peter owned. He was buying from a friendly local, one Senor Garcis del Pozo. Senoir Garcis helped Peter pick out grapes for the first vintages of his wines and finally helped him settled in on some vineyards. Where? Well right there with the oldest vines and best terroir—next to Senor Garcis’ vineyards, of course!
Senor Garcis has passed down the vineyards to his son Epi, and for many years Epi has been quietly going on about his business of selling his grapes from the “Golden Mile” of the heart of the Ribera del Duero. Recently though, he started his own project – an expression of his ancient vines of Tempranillo in the Ribera.
I think Mr. Parker gave you a heck of an introduction to what Ribera del Duero Tempranillo can be. And while I can’t claim that this wine is the 100-point Pingus 1995, I can claim that it’s darn good, made from the same source – a brother from another mother, to use a phrase. It’s powerful, exciting, delicious, robust, and concentrated. I wouldn’t give it 10 years in my cellar because it’s so darn delicious now.
Why I got the price cut, I have no idea. Crazy times? I’m not complaining. This is darn delicious wine.