Vega Sicilia set themselves an ambitious challenge when they started purchasing vineyards in Toro in 1997. This region was well-known for wines of great character, but little finesse. For 4 years they perfected their style in secret, before finally releasing the 2001 under the name Pintia.
Toro is located further along the Duero river from Vega Sicilia, in hotter, wilder territory as one approaches the Portuguese border (after which, the Duero becomes the famous Douro of Port fame). Altitudes are slightly lower than in the Ribera del Duero, making for very hot days, but 500-700m altitudes stil mean big day-night temperature changes, so acidity and fruit are preserved.
The grape here is 100% Tinta de Toro, a thick-skinned local clone of Tempranillo. The Vega team carefully vinify the wine to extract only the finest tannins and maintain aromatic purity, and age one year in the highest quality French and American oak barrels. Pintia displays the style and class of a Vega Sicilia Group wine, but with the extra spicy, forceful presence of a Toro. Early critical reaction has been ecstatic, and pricing remains eminently reasonable for a wine of this quality. Pintia 2017 has a juicier, sweeter balance, achieving harmony and a silky texture.
95 Points - James Suckling Lots of spices and bright fruit for such a ripe, hot vintage. Some orange peel undertones. Full-bodied and layered with beautiful fruit and length. Really nicely done.
94 Points - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate Toro didn't suffer the frost of 2017 that decimated Ribera del Duero, and in that early harvest, the grapes for the 2017 Pintia were picked between September 6th and 17th trying to keep the freshness and acidity. They also did a softer extraction, reduced the percentage of wine that went through malolactic in barrel and used less American oak for the élevage, trying to achieve a more elegant wine. Still the wine is ripe, juicy, round and powerful at 15% alcohol, with a mellow palate with a pH of 3.9 and 4.5 grams of acidity. The wine matured in new and used oak barrels for 12 months. It feels quite fresh and harmonious, not showing any heat, not as fresh and atypical as 2016. It keeps the poise and the balance and has abundant but fine tannins. These wines repay time in bottle, and even if approachable now, it should get better with time. It's like a refined version of the 2015. A triumph over the adverse conditions of the year.