Quinta Sardonia, a biodynamic luxury by Peter Sisseck
August 2, 2016
Quinta Sardonia is the brainchild of Peter Sisseck, owner-creator of Dominio de Pingus and one of the finest, most particular intellects operating on the Spanish scene. QS is a relatively new project of Peter’s, which I have been following since its inception. Biodynamic and organically grown, it is a high altitude ridge-andvalley site which Peter has planted and nurtured from scratch. The vineyard incorporates all that Peter has learned in both his old vine project Dominio de Pingus and also from his experiences managing Hacienda de Monasterio. Peter was hired to run Hacienda de Monasterio in the early 90s, but the estate never really quite worked out. Nevertheless, it facilitated his discovery and re-interpretation of the wonderful old vines that became Pingus, and has now led full-circle to this exciting new estate.
Situated about 8 kms west of the Pingus winery, QS is located just outside the western border of Ribera del Duero, at around 850m altitude above the town of Sardon del Duero. Thus, the wines are labelled Vino de la Tierra de Castille y León, effectively a ‘country wine’ appellation. The Quinta Sardonia estate is 17 hectares and features three solid profiles, gypsum, loam and limestone and was planted in 1998 with the local clone of Tempranillo from the Pingus vineyards, with significant portions of French varietals: Cabernet, Merlot, Syrah and Petit Verdot. Planting of the estate: 52% Tinto Fino (local Tempranillo), 26% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Merlot and small amounts of Syrah, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec. The estate wine, Qunita Sardonia, is a Tempranillo blend with Cabernet and friends. The makeup of ‘QS2 varies each year – little ‘QS2’ is made, with the focus almost entirely on QS itself.
Quinta Sardonia is run by winemaker Jerome Bougnaud, who worked with Peter at Dominio de Pingus from the start. Vineyards are picked over with at least 3 passes, and the fruit is first bunch and then berry selected! Varietal blending takes place prior to fermentation; winemaking commences with spontaneous natural yeast fermentations of whole fruit, with temperature-controlled maceration. A gentle elaboration seeking finesse and integration, with sensitive use of oak.
Deep, cherry red in colour with intense aromatic perfume. Notes of cassis, floral and rosemary reveal a fine and delicate nature, while notes of cherry, ripe plump fruit and pepper reveal a concentrated and powerful wine; well-rounded with subtle French oak vanilla. The duality of aromas is also apparent in taste; dark fruit and black pepper flavours give way to cassis wrapped in soft, long tannins. The wine shows a well-integrated acidity, with a warm aftertaste and lingering reminders of minerals, chalk and pepper.