Top 10 winemakers to watch in Spain

RIBERA DEL DUERO

MASTER: PETER SISSECK

Peter-SisseckHaving worked under Zelma Long at Simi Winery in California, Peter Sisseck’s Spanish wine adventure began in 1990 when the sandy-haired Dane journeyed to Ribera del Duero to work for Hacienda Monasterio and never left.

Inspired by the growing “garage” wine trend, he branched out in 1995 creating his own label, Pingus, which became one of the most coveted wines in the world almost overnight after US wine critic Robert Parker hailed the inaugural vintage one of the “greatest” young reds he’d ever tasted, giving it a 98 point score. “I’ve been very spoilt with Parker points over the years,” he admits.

Named after Sisseck’s childhood moniker, Pingus came to be after Sisseck chanced upon two special old vine parcels in the village of La Horra – the 2.5 hectare Barrosso vineyard and the 1.5 hectare San Cristobal, boasting vines over 70-years-old.

“It’s a marvelous thing to be able to grow something in connection with nature and transform it into something you’re proud of,” he says. Less than 700 cases of Pingus are made each year and are sold for upwards of £500 a bottle. Though little publicised, Pingus has been biodynamic since 2000, as has second wine, Flor de Pingus, since 2005.

In 2006, Sisseck embarked on a project called “Psi”, which encourages local old vine Tinto Fino growers to incorporate organic and biodynamic practices in order to lower their yields and grow better fruit. In addition to Ribera, Sisseck also makes wine in St Emilion at Château Rocheyron.

Like Alvaro Palacios, he dreams of making wine in Jerez. “Sherry is the great Spanish wine and one of the greatest in the world. Fino and manzanilla are very interesting expressions of white wine,” he muses. Sisseck would also like to make a white in Ribera and is experimenting with barrel-fermented Godello.

One Response to “Top 10 winemakers to watch in Spain”

  1. nate houston says:

    How is Raul Perez not a part of this list???? Or Alberto Orte???

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