A short distance from Madrid, the rugged, weathered peaks of the Sierra de Gredos serve as a refreshingly cool retreat […]Keep Reading
A short distance from Madrid, the rugged, weathered peaks of the Sierra de Gredos serve as a refreshingly cool retreat from the heat and bustle of the capital. Ancient hilltop towns and cottages dot the tortured landscape of alpine meadows, tumbled boulders, and thick scrub brush. Clustered around this rugged range are several DOs, most notably Mentrida and Viños de Madrid, best known for producing reliably inexpensive and simple country wines to slake the capital’s thirst. But viticulture in Spain is ancient and tenacious, so the adventurous can also find scattered vineyards in the most inaccessible places, including rockfalls and natural amphitheaters high up in the most remote parts of the backcountry.
Daniel Landi and Fernando Garcia, friends since college, found themselves working in the area centered around the Sierra de Gredos: Daniel at his family’s estate, Bodegas Jimenez-Landi, and Fernando at Bodega Marañones. Drawn to the mountains and rumors of small, nearly inaccessible vineyard plots located high in the Sierra de Gredos, over time, they began purchasing and leasing the best sites they could find, creating their own project, Comando G, in 2008. Along with the pioneers of the Priorat, Daniel and Fernando are redefining what was previously viewed as a workhorse variety, Garnacha, into something that can rival the elegance and finesse of Pinot in Burgundy or Syrah in the northern Rhône. Their persistence in the belief of Garnacha and the Gredos and their tireless efforts have them made famous around the world.
The vineyards that Daniel and Fernando have assembled for Comando G are all farmed biodynamically. These vines range from 50 to 80 years old and are planted on sandy soils weathered from granite, slate, and quartz. A combination of high altitude, freely draining soils, and a mild and fairly humid micro-climate – for central Spain – guarantees a long growing season and a modest alcohol level in the finished wines. The resultant wines are startlingly pale, extraordinarily aromatic, and intensely flavorful. Each site is harvested by hand, spontaneously ferment in open-top French oak casks, then aged in concrete, foudre, demi-muids or amphorae.
Dani and Fer have over the years worked out a hierachy of their sites. Most obviously are the top are Tumba del Rey Moro, pictured above, and Rumbo al Norte, pictured below. Not far below are El Tamboril and Las Umbrias. Their 1er cru La Breña and Rozas come from a collection of exceptional parcels while Bruja remains their most accessible wine in terms of style and volume. But everything leaves their cellar is a singular and unique in their expression of Garnacha de Gredos marked bt vibrancy and vitality that effortlessly marries the finest cru Beaujolais to tireless complexity of Château Rayas.
Over the last 10-years, Dani and Fer are refined their work and identified their top sites in DO Cebreros while letting go of sites further away. Some have been sold while others have been transferred to friends. Yields are even more restricted and the demand for their wines is so great that even we, who were some of their first champions outside of Spain, must wheddle and implore for what litte we can get. But at the end of the day, there is no denying that these are some of the finest wines made anywhere in the world.Close