As with all the 2011s, the 2011 Pingus is riper, with never-seen-before alcohol levels (15.5%), but the wine feels extremely balanced. As usual, the highly-selected grapes were fermented in 2,000-liter oak vats with indigenous yeasts and aged for 22 months in second-and third-fill barrels. It is ripe and exuberant, with notes of violets, spices (curry!), smoky peat and umami-like meat-broth aromas. The palate is full-bodied, glyceric with sophisticated tannins, but plenty of them, so they need to calm down a little. I believe there will be a lot of people who will really love this 2011, it's showy and exuberant. 6,000 bottles produced. Drink 2016-2020.
I had a relaxed and superb tasting with Peter Sisseck, where we had time to discuss the wines and Ribera del Duero in general as Sisseck is now part of the Consejo Regulador. It was also a great learning experience as he showed me some experimental wines that resulted in adjustments from the 2012 vintage onward, and a big jump in precision for the wines, with the yet unbottled 2012 Pingus verging on perfection. He explained the range of wines he produces as it follows: PSI is the regional wine, Flor de Pingus is the village, and Pingus is the Cru. PSI is the newer wine in the lineup and the one that might require more explanation. In 2007, a difficult vintage in Ribera del Duero, he lost quite a lot of grapes for Flor de Pingus because of a big hailstorm, so he had to look for grapes he could purchase. He then realized how much Ribera had grown: from 6,000 hectares in 1985 to 9,000 hectares in 1990 and more than 22,000 hectares today! There is a big surplus of grapes, so the grapes from old vineyards are not valued. He decided that he wanted to support the people who were keeping their old vineyards and not ripping them up, or going to younger vines and high yields. He purchased their grapes, paid a fair price and produced PSI with them. Besides tasting extensively and slowly, I retasted 2010 Pingus and I also had the chance to preview the 2013 Pingus (clean, pure, with great acidity, but still too young) plus some experimental cuvees, some of which might see the light in the future. They have never produced better wines at Pingus. Bravo!