Thursday, 29 August 2019

Flor de Pingus - Peter Sisseck's expression of Ribera del Duero in 2017

While other Spanish wines have achieved international recognition, Flor de Pingus is one of the very few that has joined the ranks of the world’s most coveted wines.

I first tasted Flor de Pingus in New York in 2006, and I simply had to find out more about the wine and the wine maker, Peter Sisseck. The following year I was in the cellar of his first project in Ribera del Duero, Hacienda Monasterio, where I had a small epiphany.  Each barrel we tasted spoke to me in ways that took me to a different level of appreciation entirely. Let's just say I was impressed, immensely.

Peter is a visionary Danish winemaker, who learned his craft in Bordeaux and California, and then found his way almost by chance to the Ribera del Duero region of Spain. While creating Hacienda Monasterio he found small plots of ancient, gnarled vines, from which he created Pingus - and a legend was born.

“Ribera has a lot of purity, a lot of nobility, but at the same time it’s a very rough area. It’s less civilized than many other wine regions in the world, but it has an enormous amount of grace and character. The purity and honesty is what I love.” - Peter Sisseck

Flor de Pingus is an evolution of the Pingus project, being created from a further 18 parcels of vines in the La Horra area, averaging 35 years in age, and bearing the same peerless Sisseck hallmark of purity and freshness. These plots have been farmed biodynamically since 2005.

We are very pleased to have been able to offer the new 2017 Flor de Pingus to our clients for just £650 per 12 bottles, or £325 per 3 magnums

"[2017 was] an early harvest characterized by ripe aromas, great extract and low acidity.”

Peter Sisseck

A chunky and pretty young wine with blueberries and blackberries and chocolate. Chewy tannins that are polished and fresh. Full-bodied. Round and sexy. Shows lots of potential.

94-95pt, James Suckling

Friday, 14 June 2019

We are all familiar with the top 'Super Tuscans' from Bolgheri... Sassicaia, Ornellaia & Guado Al Tasso, however until Friday of last week the Grand Vin tasting team hadn't had the pleasure of drinking the flagship wine from Tenuta Argentiera.  The 2016 'Bolgheri Superiore Argentiera', a Bordeaux blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc, absolutely blew us away with it's depth, balance and polished tannins.

It showed the classic Cabernet aromas combined with stunning minerality and a finish that lasted for over a minute!  It had all the class and sophistication of the very best wines in Bolgheri and it has everything in place to age well for at least 20 years.  The great thing for the consumer is that it is available at a fraction of the price of it's more well-known neighbours!  Given the quality, we are sure it won't stay that way for long....

Tenuta Argentiera recently appointed Leonardo Raspini as general manager of the estate, who previously worked at Ornellaia for 14 years and helped to shape much of the identity of the Bolgheri appellation.

This is an estate that is definitely heading places and the 2016 really deserves a place in your cellar!

The 2016 Bolgheri Superiore Argentiera is 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc, and the Cabernet Sauvignon logically feels and tastes most prominent. This is a dark and penetrating Tuscan red that is beautifully elevated, thanks to the extremely elegant and buoyant quality of the aromas. They lift gracefully from the glass with light-footed, almost fleeting character. However, don't underestimate the power and the concentration of the wine, because this vintage delivers both with abundance. I've had my eye on this estate since the vineyards were first planted some 20 years ago, and there is no doubt that this vintage brings Tenuta Argentiera into a new era as a Bolgheri protagonist.

97pt, Monica Larner, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

Thursday, 30 May 2019

Last week we attended the 2017 Port Tasting at Tate Modern.  The 2017 vintage comes directly after the 2016, which is the first time since 1846/1847 that back to back years have been declared!

‘The wines are characterised by an exuberant ripeness, with remarkable aromatic intensity, profound fruit and strong velvety tannins. These are great, very seductive Vintage Ports, hugely enjoyable to taste now, but clearly with immense ageing potential. Perhaps among the best we will ever see’

Christian Seeley, Managing Director of Quinta do Noval

Deciding to declare a vintage is a decision that has never been taken lightly by the Port Houses.  When we tasted the 2016’s in May of last year we were hugely impressed by the quality and firmly believed the vintage had set a new benchmark in terms of quality for the region.  Then comes along 2017!  It’s never easy to make comparisons for Port vintages as the conditions can often result in very different styles of wine, however  in 2017 the growing season was a carbon copy of 1945.  1945 was a legendary vintage and sadly bottles are now virtually impossible to find.  If you are lucky enough the find the best 1945’s, they will set you back over £1,000 per bottle! This is thanks in the main to a very early start to the season, with plenty of rain to kick things off, followed by a desperately dry summer – the result was very low yields of small berries, and wines with incredible purity and intensity.

We feel extremely fortunate to live in a time when two vintages like this come along together – it’s truly a unique event that may well never happen again in our lifetime.  It goes without saying that arguments will rage on for decades as to which is the best.