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Comando G - Tumba del Rey Moro 2018

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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.

Tumba del Rey Moro is an absurd vineyard resembling an ancient landslide with several small natural terraces irregularly planted with vines. Until a few years ago, the site was nearly inaccessible and overgrown with scrub brush. When Dani and Fer heard rumor of this plot, they spent several months trying to locate it and clear a path so they could farm it. Here you can find similar granitic sands as in their other sites but with pinker-hued granite and more quartz. Like its siblings, it is pale in color but tasting it makes you wonder if this is what Marcel Lapierre could have done at Château Rayas had he the chance.

"The single-vineyard 2018 Tumba del Rey Moro comes from a 0.7-hectare plot of ungrafted vines planted some 70 years ago in the village of Villanueva de Ávila on pure granite soils at 1,100 meters in altitude, a spectacular north-facing ravine with small terraces where the vines share the space with centenary chestnut trees that give shadow to most of the grapes. These cool conditions always make for a vertical, mineral and sharp expression of Garnacha, even in warmer years, that they often describe as liquid granite. 2018 is a cool year of late and complete ripeness of the grapes, with a good crop of very healthy and balanced bunches from the biodynamically farmed vines. These bunches fermented with 100% full clusters in oak vat with indigenous yeasts, with a very soft vinification and extra long maceration, more like an infusion, and an élevage in a 1,400-liter oak vat that lasted 14 months. This is like a mini-Rumbo al Norte—aromatic, floral and herbal with a very solid palate, seamless, more Vosne than Chambolle, stony and vertical. This is a little edgy right now, with big bones, and it will improve with a little more time in bottle. 1,673 bottled and 30 magnums were filled in March 2020. The 2019 was still doing malolactic fermentation when I tasted this in November 2020!" - 98 points - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

Producer: Comando G

Country: Spain

Region: Castilla y León

Varietal: Garnacha

Appellation: Tierra de Castilla y León

Vintage: 2018

Size: 750ml

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