Comando G Rozas 1er Cru 2018
Rozas 1er Cru comes from several plots, totaling 5 ha, of Garnacha located near the town of Rozas de Puerto Real. Similar to its “little” sibling, La Bruja, Rozas 1er Cru is lithe and winsome example of mountain Garnacha but with a deeper minerality and slightly firmer tannin, hence the Burgundian inspired name.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Dried strawberries and cherries with some bark and pine-needle notes. Black tea leaf and lavender, too. Full-bodied with chewy tannins, but they are fine grained and very pretty. Lots of black pepper. Needs time to open. Best after 2022.
The 2018 Rozas 1er Cru is one of my go-to wines from Comando G, as it delivers outstanding quality for its price. I had already tasted this before, but like the rest of the wines, I wanted to put it in the context of the full 2018 lineup and also against the still-unbottled 2019. The wine has evolved very slowly, keeping the profile—expressive, floral and open, beautifully textured with the granite fingerprint. Beautiful.
Shimmering ruby-red. Expansive red fruit liqueur, cherry pie, licorice and potpourri aromas are complemented by exotic spice and smoky mineral flourishes. Broad and fleshy on the palate, offering deeply concentrated raspberry, boysenberry and bitter cherry flavors, along with a sweetening cola nuance. Slowly firms up with air and finishes with outstanding clarity, even tannins and excellent, mineral-driven persistence. Drinking window: 2024 - 2032.
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 all range in age 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, are 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 florality, pure mineral, delicate fruit and mouth tingling tannin. Together these wines could aptly be called Grand Cru Garnacha.
Known for its bold, heady, rustic and age-worthy red wines, Spain is truly a one-of-a-kind wine-producing nation. A great majority of the country is hot, arid and drought-ridden, and since irrigation has only been recently introduced and (controversially) accepted, viticulture has sustained—and flourished—only through a great understanding of Spain’s particular conditions. Large spacing between vines allows each enough resources to survive and as a result, the country has the most acreage under vine compared to any other country, but is usually third in production.
Most planted and respected is Tempranillo, the star of Spain’s Rioja and Ribera del Duero regions. Priorat specializes in bold red blends, Jumilla has gained global recognition for its single varietal Monastrell and Utiel-Requena has garnered recent attention for its reds made of Bobal.