Comando G is the inspiring tale of two close friends united in a mission: to rediscover the terroirs of the Sierra de Gredos mountain range, and to nourish and protect the old vines rooted there. It may sound idyllic — and indeed the views are — yet this is also difficult and at times back-breaking work. With most slopes being so steep that mechanisation is simply impossible, this is a true labour of love.
Not only is this about the conservation of old vines and the landscape, but this duo has also been creating wines that entirely reimagine what the region is capable of. For almost two decades, they have been travelling together across Europe, taking inspiration from what they learn, and applying their newfound knowledge to their own fruit, soils and climate.
The results are nothing short of spectacular. These are some of the most soulful and simultaneously elegant examples of Grenache found anywhere in the world. Comando G has mastered finding power in lightness.
LITTLEWINE spoke to Fernando García and Dani Landi for this article
People: Fernando García and Dani Landi
Place: Sierra de Gredos, Spain (near Madrid)
Varieties: Grenache (Garnacha), Albillo, Grenache Blanc (Garnacha Blanca) and Grenache Gris (Garnacha Gris)
Farming: Organic and biodynamic for the single vineyards
Hectares: 14 hectares
Did You Know? Already certain they wished to work organically, it was while travelling in France that they began to gain an interest and knowledge in biodynamic farming. They learnt about the Maria Thun biodynamic calendar, and also took inspiration from Australian techniques regarding seaweed and algae preparations. They took a course with the renowned Jura-based geologist, Yves Hérody, who is very focused on the link with biodynamic farming and soil health, and they also learnt from biodynamic pioneer Pierre Masson. Pierre has sadly since passed away, but they continue to follow his teachings.
Their significant differences in varieties, climate and soil types meant they needed to reflect on what the best techniques in the cellar would be.
“We have an entirely different type of rock model, and a different climate. So, since the beginning we understood that although we love Burgundy, we must adopt a different philosophy and style of winemaking to achieve freshness in our wines. Here, it wouldn’t work for us to do two or three-week fermentations at 30 degrees.”
Instead, they do much longer periods of maceration (typically a minimum of 30 days, often 45 days), but approach extraction as gently as possible, choosing to work with a winemaking style that is more like infusion — like making tea. The wines are aged in large oak tanks of between 15hl and 100hl in size, which impart no oaky flavours, simply allowing the fruit to speak for itself. They also reflected on how to achieve the freshness in their wines they desired, and discovered that they had a simple secret ingredient to do so: the stems of the bunches. Dani explains,
“Grenache works better here when we ferment with 100% stems, as it brings freshness. Our biggest challenge in this region is acidity, and all our work in the vineyards and in the winery focuses on that. Acidity and freshness is the key, and we love the elegance the stems bring.”
It is a true minimal intervention approach; disturbing the fruit as little as possible, hence allowing it to express itself in a pure manner.
“We do as little as we can in the winery. If you rack [racking is the process of moving the wine from one barrel to another] many times, for example, you lose the finesse.”
They emphasise that this is simply their vision and way of doing things; they are always humble: