Spain's first cult wine of the modern age, Dominio de Pingus actually owes its origins to a Danish cartoon, James Lawrence discovers.
1. It's all in a name
Pingus may be an icon of modern Spanish winemaking, but many still have issues with the slightly idiosyncratic title. According to its Danish owner Peter Sisseck, Pingus was his childhood nickname, bestowed upon him by a formidable aunt. "She got fed up of trying to differentiate between me and my uncle Peter in her home, so I was christened 'Pingus'. It was her favorite cartoon character – Peter and Ping," he explains.
2. The virgin sip
Dominio de Pingus was founded in Ribera Del Duero in 1995 by Sisseck, a man who has been enjoying wine from a very young age. "I had my virgin sip at the age of eight – the first wine I really remember liking was a 1961 Château d'Issan," he says. Yet, most of his family had no connection to the industry at all; their wealth came from running a company that manufactured equipment for the printing industry. But with an indefatigable passion for wine – temporarily put on hold during his compulsory military service – Sisseck went to Bordeaux in the 1980s to study with his enologist uncle, Peter Vinding-Diers. Then, fortune would take him to Spain; in 1990, friends of Vinding-Diers purchased the Sherry producer Bobadilla. Part of the deal included a small vineyard in Ribera Del Duero and it was suggested that Sisseck would be an ideal candidate to manage the estate, today known as Hacienda Monasterio. He hasn't looked back since.
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