Despite its youth, Comando G is key to understand the current success of Garnachas from Gredos, a region which spreads across three valleys (Alto Alberche, Alberche and Tiétar), three provinces (Ávila, Madrid, Toledo), three autonomous regions (Castilla y León, Madrid y Castilla-La Mancha) and three appellations (Vino de la Tierra Castilla y León, Vinos de Madrid and Méntrida).
Two men have been instrumental in the rebirth of Gredos: Dani Landi, who also runs his own project in the area after leaving Jiménez-Landi, his family's winery in Méntrida, and Fernando García, who works as a winemaker for Bodega Marañones (Vinos de Madrid). Both defend that Gredos should be an appellation in its own right and have joined forces with local wineries to launch the Garnachas de Gredos Association. Their commitment is unequivocal: “We want to know how far we can go with the variety and the terroir”, says Fernando. As a testament to their words, they are making wines in the three valleys mentioned earlier in two different DOs: Vinos de Madrid and VT Castilla y León. They have recovered some very high and hard to reach vineyards and are trying to extend the growing cycle in order to slow down ripening. Fermentations are carried out with stems, extractions are soft to “intervene as less as possible” and aging is done with lees in large wooden vats or fudres. Their approach is clearly Burgundian in style and France is their model in terms of terroir definition (regional, village and cru wines) and the search for minerality in their wines.
The name Comando G goes back to the winemakers' childhood and refers to a well-known cartoon series in which five youths defend planet Earth from outside threats. The letter G, from Gredos and Garnacha, fitted perfectly and their debut came in 2009 with La Bruja Avería (a cult children's TV programme from the 1980), a fun, fruity and juicy entry-level red (€13, 28,000 bottles). It is really a village wine, from Rozas de Puerto real, at the entrance of Valle del Tiétar (Madrid), where the grapes that make Las Umbrías (€60) are grown.
Other cru-like wines are the fresh, supple and breezy Rumbo al Norte (€90), from a vineyard in Navarrevisca (Valle del Alto Alberche, Ávila) at 1,150 metres of altitude, where vines grow among large rocks, in a difficult area to work. On the other side of the river and at 1,200 metres of altitude lies the north-facing vineyard which produces El Tamboril (€32), made from white and grey Garnacha. Tumba del Rey Moro (€60) is an almost vertical 70-year old north-facing vineyard with vines planted among oak, chestnut and fig trees in Villanueva de Ávila, in the same valley which produce a bright, long-lasting Garnacha.