A short distance away from Madrid, the rugged, weathered peaks of the Sierra de Gredos serve as a refreshingly cool […]Keep Reading
A short distance away 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 situated 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.
The vineyards that Daniel and Fernando have assembled 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, usually in October, fermented by indigenous yeasts in open-top French oak casks, then aged in a combination of 500-700L French oak barrels, foudre, and clay amphorae.
Each vineyard site, labeled as Vino de Parcela, is expressive of place. Tumba del Rey Moro, one of the newest sites, answers the question, what if Marcel Lapierre made Rayas? While Rumbo al Norte shows a more generous profile where the minerality is hidden by juicier fruit and greater tannin. Finally, Las Umbrias shows incredible poise and balance, weaving together floral aromatics, pure mineral, delicate fruit, and mouth-tingling tannin. Together these wines could aptly be called Grand Cru Garnacha.
The same care that goes into producing the single parcel wines goes into the crafting La Bruja de Rozas – all pretty Garnacha red-fruit and incense. Lest you think that it’s all Garnacha Negre all the time, there is a white wine made by Comando G, El Tamboril, a blend of Garnacha Blanca and Gris when tasted blind is more evocative of Chassagne than the Mediterranean.Close