How is the 'Podium' of the Peñín Guide defined? 

13 July 2021

We tell you what the Recata is all about, which defines the best rated wines of the year.

This week the tasting team of the Peñín Guide faces one of the most difficult tasks of the year: to reach a consensus on which wines will obtain 95 points or more in the new edition of the guide, what we know as the "Podium" wines of the Peñín Guide. On this occasion, the best wines of the year will face this "second exam" which, in the words of Carlos González, director of the Peñín Guide, is "a real challenge in the evaluation of the most complex and sophisticated wines of the year. It is a unique exercise in the prescription and a fair way of determining the Podium wines of an entire country"..

Which wines make it to the recata

The wines that make it to our recata are those that in the first "evaluation", that is to say, in the tastings we have been carrying out since last January (along with the rest of the wines from their growing area), have obtained a minimum score of 94 points. Sometimes the tasting team also includes a wine of 93 points, when they understand that time will favour the tasting of this wine again and above all if they want to see if the wine can stand up to a comparative tasting with wines of 94 points and above.

La Recata is a unique event of the Peñín Guide that arose from the need to taste comparatively wines of similar score and style on the same day. Many of these wines have been tasted within months of each other, and bringing the best together in a single tasting exercise allows for an almost millimetre-perfect adjustment of the scores of wines that are already outstanding.

Recata Guía Peñín

There is an added complexity in Recata wines. The difference between a 94 and a 95 is very important. 95 points means that the wine will be part of the elite of the Spanish wine of the year, the so-called Podio. All the 94 wines are compared again to see if they have the capacity to compete with the 95. At this level, each step, 96, 97, 98, is a whole new world and has to be justified in a democratic exercise in which the price of the wines tasted is not taken into account. Javier Luengo, editorial director of the Peñín Guide describes it as follows "over the course of three days we are engaged in a very complex and tense deliberation, in the vast majority of the wines there is unanimous agreement, although there are also interesting debates that make us move around the tables seeking to argue our impressions of a wine. In these cases, the majority determines the final assessment".

What steps the tasting team follows

First of all, the wines are sorted by styles and scores. Boris Olivas, head of the Tasting School and taster, defines the preparation as "a ritual where the magnitude of the exercise is felt and experienced with anticipation. The tasting is a unique occasion that we enjoy very much, but at the same time requires us to give the best of ourselves".

Normally, the tasters start with the red category. On the first tables, the 94-point wines are placed, ordered from the lowest to the highest intensity and also sorted by growing area and climatic influence. It is common to see a taster sniffing four or five wines at a time, before entering into a discussion with each wine.

Recata Guía Peñín

At each tasting, the team deliberates on the score obtained and assesses whether the wine could improve its score. If the wine upgrades, it is physically moved to the 95-point table and placed next to wines of a similar style, waiting for the tasters to return to it and confirm that it is clearly consolidating its position at 95 points or even higher.

This comparative exercise ends when the wine ceases to stand out from the rest at a quality level, at which point the final score is decided.

This exercise lasts several days, given the large volume of wines and above all the level of the wines. Throughout these days the tasters go from glass to glass, looking for wines to compare, debating and arguing. The comparisons and the experience of our tasters end up creating a highly elite ranking. The best of an entire wine-producing country, a responsibility that the Peñín Guide has assumed every year for more than 30 years.

After the tasting exercise, which, as you can imagine, requires quite a lot of concentration, we have the definitive list of the wines that make up the Podium of the Peñín Guide. Find out which were the wines that reached the highest place last year.

Launch of the new Peñín Guide

There is very little time left to know the results of our tasting. In a few days, we will make public not only the scores of the Podium wines, but also those of all the growing regions that have not yet been published in our online search engine. The physical Guide has other deadlines and it will still take a few months to see the light of day, probably in October 2021.

    Written by Redacción