Bodegas  Pintia

Posted on Aug 3, 2016

Spanish WinePintia is one of the creations of Spain’s (arguably) most famous winery: Vega Sicilia. The lineage of this wine is so important to how it has achieved greatness, that Pintia must be understood in the context of its forebears.

Vega Sicilia, located in the Ribera del Duero, produces some of Spain’s most sought after, most praised and most highly priced wines: Unico and Reserva Especiale. The Wine Advocate scored the 1962 vintage of Unico 100 points and praise has been showered on this winery by critics around the globe, with the winery’s meticulous attention to detail often cited. In addition to Unico, Vega Sicilia releases a blend of back vintages, called Reserva Especiale. The 2012 release contained wine from the 1991, 1994 and 1999 vintages. Unico and Reserva Especiale go for hundreds of dollars upon release and have appreciated greatly with age on the collectors market.

The Alvarez family that owns Vega Sicilia decided that the neighbouring region of Toro, just 100 kms down the Duero River from their existing winery was a region of great quality that had been over-looked by the wine establishment. Toro held a reputation of producing good, but seldom great wines that were rustic and tannic and reflected their more extreme climatic conditions of hot summers and cold winters. The Alvarez family saw potential to tame Toro’s rustic nature and produce high quality wines from there and so purchased their first vineyards in San Roman de Horijna in 1996. The next year additional land was acquired and new vines were planted. Now Pintia is comprised of 96 hectares, all planted to the local clone of Tempranillo called Tinta de Toro. Half of the vines are 40 years old and half are 14 years old. Vineyards are at high elevations (500 – 700 metres) and covered in galets, the round puddingstones that have made famous the regions of Chateauneuf du Pape in Southern France and The Rocks along the Washington/Oregon border.

Pintia WineryPintia now has a beautiful new state of the art winery from which it produces about 250,000 bottles per year. The wine is made from 100% Tinta de Toro (Tempranillo) and like all things Vega Sicilia, the winemaking is meticulous. Vega Sicilia explains the innovation and experimentation that was undertaken in the initial years of creating Pintia. “During the four following years, a whole range of production experiments were carried out to discover the potential of the Toro wines: grapes from different vineyards were made into wine, the ageing was carried out in many different barrels and experimenting with the times that the wine was left in them, with the malolactic fermentation taking place in the barrels themselves or in new barrels. Nearly a hundred options were considered before the final choices were made. After this complicated experimenting had been completed, the conclusion was reached that it is a style of wine where the most important aspect lies in conserving the fruitiness of the gape. The whole wine making and ageing process is focused on preserving it and at the same time, it seeks to provide it with the utmost elegance possible in such an austere region as Toro.”

After harvest grapes are sorted twice: first, imperfect bunches are eliminated, then on the second pass flawed grapes are individually removed the remaining bunches. Elevage takes place in new oak, 70% French and 30% American for approximately 12 – 15 months. Bottles are held back at the winery for a minimum of 12 months before being released to the market place, as the Alvarez have found that amount of time minimally is required to make the wine “blossom”.

Deep CoveThe first vintage of Pintia was 2001 and since then they have been going from strength to strength. There was no 2009 Pintia as they found that once in bottle it developed excess sediment. All of the wine was recalled by the winery and destroyed. Bottles were replaced with either the 2008 or the 2010 vintage. Such is the integrity and dedication to quality of this winery. We at Advinetures have been following Pintia since the 2004 vintage and it has become one of our favourite wines. Rich, robust, full body and increasingly complex with time, this is a sensational wine that delivers high impact without going over the top.  At $74 (before tax) currently at Everything Wine and at BC Liquor stores, it is excellent value when compared to the price of similarly styled wines coming out of California and Italy (it would be interesting to place Pintia in a lineup of Napa cult Cabs and Italian Super Tuscans at twice the price or more).

2004 Pintia

Dark, inky colour. Nose of intense red and black fruits with spice and minerality. This is a huge wine on the palate, but in perfect balance; loads of fruit balanced by decent acidity and plenty of ripe tannin. Oak adds just a bit of creaminess. Herbal notes add complexity but do not come across as under-ripe (as is often our interpretation of herbaceous wines). In our estimation this wine has just begun to hit its stride and will improve for at least a decade and probably two. The wine has already developed tremendous complexity, both aromatically and in its taste. This is a sophisticated wine; the expert touch of Vega Sicilia shows though in the wine-making. While drinking well now, patience will definitely be rewarded. When we re-visit this wine in a few years, I suspect will score will be elevated.

Excellent/Extraordinary (tasted March 2010)

Spanish Wine2005 Pintia

Impossibly dark for an 11 year old wine. Very expressive nose that sends up blackberries, raspberries, baking spices and hints of vanilla. On the palate all of the dials are turned up: dark fruits galore are mixed herbs and spices that continually change as the wine evolves in the glass. Full body, with lots of everything: fruit, oak and tannin. This is big and muscular but wonderfully balanced which keeps it from feeling heavy. Comes across as very youthful with lots of drying tannins, that marry well with the fruit and are not at all harsh. Years, no, decades left in this wine. The finish is long and begs you back for another sip. Very sophisticated and utterly delicious.

Extraordinary (tasted March 2016)

2006 Pintia

Deep red, slight fade at the rim. Raspberries, leather and earthy notes on the nose. Big, mouth-filling and slightly tannic at first. With air the wine smooths out and settles down into a complex, delicious wine. Just entering its drinking window with a long life in front of it.

Excellent (tasted March 2013)

2008 Pintia

Deep colour, almost black, looks like Syrah. Expressive nose of raspberries with subtle notes of vanilla and spice added after time and some swirling. Very plush mouthfeel, full-bodied, unctuous with a slightly youthful feel. An initial tartness fades after about 30 minutes leaving blackberries and raspberries backed up minerals and a slight undertone of leather. Very well-balanced. Sophisticated and age-worthy. Would make for a great ringer in a Napa cult-cab tasting, at 1/3 or less the price!

Excellent/Extraordinary (tasted twice in 2014 with consistent notes)

Spanish Wine2010 Pintia

A classic “iron fist in a velvet glove” this is a big, full-bodied, ripe wine that retains near perfect balance. The nose of plums and black cherry is infused with subtle notes of vanilla, allspice, tobacco and dried flowers. Broad shoulders are sculpted with tannins that provide balance to the ripe fruit. Creamy oak notes help keep those tannins in check and add texture and smoothness. Blackberry fruit flavours dominate at the moment but no doubt time in the bottle will allow the secondary notes to speak with a louder voice and create more complexity. Delicious now but will only improve and should last a couple of decades.

Extraordinary (tasted twice in 2016 with consistent notes)



    Wow! 100 points! What meticulous standards to use – but that’s what is needed to make exceptional wines! Great post!

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    • Thank you Lori! As a winemaker I’m sure you can appreciate the effort and the results are consistently outstanding.

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