Pingus Psi is nothing short of a remarkable project by Peter Sisseck, as remarkable as Pingus’ rise as the leading wine in Spain. One needs to elaborate the history of Peter Sisseck and Pingus to fully understand this extraordinary mission.
Dominio de Pingus is found in Valladolid (Quintanilla de Onesimo) with vineyards in La Horra, an area located in Ribera del Duero. Pingus and their second wine Flor de Pingus have achieved global acclaim, which started with a cult following.
Pingus was established by Sisseck in 1995, he is a revolutionary Danish oenologist who focused on the incredible age of the vines in his plots that they had not been treated with pesticides, he followed in the Spanish tradition of the en vaso system. In the same year Robert Parker declared Pingus as “One of the greatest and most exciting wines I have ever tasted”. With only 325 cases made prices accelerated and as fate would have it the ship transporting the wine to the US disappeared off the Azores in the North Atlantic. This was a disaster for wine drinkers, but while the wine may have not reached its destination, Pingus had truly arrived. It is made from Tinto Fino (Tempranillo) from 70 year old vines and since 2000 the vineyard has been completely biodynamic. In good years only 500 cases are made, in poor years none.
Psi Pingus Ψ
Peter had created the benchmark for Spanish wines and as he views it being given the opportunity to make one of the world’s leading wines, he has now decided to give back. Psi Pingus is a Utopian idea and aptly named after the 23rd letter of the Greek alphabet (Ψ). Peter has immersed himself in the region and long felt that the old vineyards had extraordinary potential, but the financing and farming was poor. Indeed traditionally, farmers were paid by tonnage, thus focusing on the quantity of grapes and not the quality, with little incentive to cut yields to achieve the former. Moreover, to achieve profit they had been overusing chemicals in the region reducing microbial life.
Peter set to change this but realised the families would not be willing to sell their legacies. Instead he started to change the economic incentives whilst appealing to the growers to focus on the land. The project began in 2006 and after years of work a select group of farmers have turned their plots around, reducing yields and letting the exceptional terroir and climate do the work, resulting in healthy, balanced and concentrated fruit. Growers now emphasise biodymanic farming and organic practices and the wine is made by Peter Sisseck and Pablo Rubio, who vinify in large concrete vats, then age in wooden tanks and oak barrels. Production in 2010 was 16,600 cases.