95% Tempranillo, 5% Garnacha. Der Psi ist der neue Wein von Peter Sisseck, dem Schöpfer des legendären Pingus.
The Wine Advocate I Jan 31, 2023 I Luis Gutiérrez
n 2020, he reached the target he set for himself when PSI first started, to produce around 300,000 bottles (it's actually 350,000 bottles). The volume of the 2020 PSI is something that's important, as it has availability and affordability, which is necessary when based on quality, purchasing only grapes from old vines (they use 7,000 plots for this volume!). So, they also started purchasing some of those vineyards in 2022 (they think they need 200 hectares to keep the volume, so the aim is to own maybe half of it). Peter Sisseck remarked that we have to remember 2020 was a warm year, but with the high content of limestone in the soils, the wine has kept very good freshness. They harvested early, before the rain, and they also used some 5% to 10% Garnacha (they could use up to 25%, according to regulations) in the blend to lower the pH of the wine. Below 3.8, he thinks, the wines from the zone are very angular and hard if it's only Tempranillo, so Garnacha (which doesn't have as much tannins as Tempranillo) can help with that; but the difficulty is finding Garnacha grapes, so they are considering planting some Garnacha for the future. The bottled wine has all that the sample promised—clean and healthy aromas, floral and elegant, aromatic and with good freshness. The palate is medium-bodied, with elegant tannins, pleasant and easy to drink.
I tasted the bottled 2020s from Peter Sisseck and the samples from 2021 that I had already tasted last year. 2020 was the year of COVID-29, a very unusual year with circumstances previously unheard of. They had a lot of rain in spring that allowed for wines with finesse (which he compared with 1996 in some things). In 1995, he harvested late (October) with 1,200 kilos per hectare, and the wine did not reach 14% alcohol. If you did those yields and dates today, you'd get 20% alcohol, so there is a need to adjust viticulture. In 2020, they started harvesting on September 10 (which is early, but they started even earlier in 2022, on September 7), but the question is always about lack of concentration and green tannins. They are very careful with extraction, shorter pumping overs, etc. He considers 2012 and 2016 years of change, and the wines are now subtler even if analytics are similar, but the perception is different. The experience is that when the wines are above 15% alcohol, they do not age well. 2020 has fine tannins, but it was a warm year of approachable wines, when they did a slightly longer élevage than he thought at first (they were bottled in July 2022 with some more time in tank because he bought a new bottling line). There will be a new wine from 2021 produced by the next generation, Leonora Sisseck and husband Carlos del Río Jr., from a young vineyard planted with 15% Garnacha, produced in a young and fresh style, quite different. I didn't taste anything from 2022, but he told me the result is better than expected, because he was seriously worried if they were going to be able to harvest any grapes at all!
I tasted the bottled 2019s from Pingus, a great vintage that follows the path of 2016 and 2018 (and continued by 2020). 2020 saw similar yields as 2019, both lower than 2018. 2018 was more challenging, and 2019 was a sunny year when they harvested early to keep the freshness. Sisseck compares 2019 with 2015, a very ripe year; but they managed to get fresher wine in 2019, and the wine overdelivered for their expectations. The bottled 2019 Pingus is truly outstanding. They thought of bottling it earlier but finally did a longer élevage. 2020 is also a warm and ripe year but with more finesse than 2019. As I saw last year, the wines age in oak vats and oak barrels, not only in barrel, and the integration of the oak is getting better and better.