As winter continues to roll on now is the perfect moment to heat things up with two precious allocations of Spain’s hottest estates: Raul Perez and Comando G. Beloved by wine geeks everywhere, both of these young, critically buzzing estates are on fire with collectors, the press and us humble retailers alike. If you haven’t cracked a bottle, do yourself a favor and experience them.
Success stories have abounded in Spain in recent years but none may be more important than that of Daniel Landi, Fernando Garcia and Raul Perez. Together they represent the new generation of “cool” Spain. Their wines, which can be some of the most riveting in Europe, inject a special excitement in a Spanish category already crowded with surprise and thrill. So, what makes them special? A common thread between both estates comes from their inspiration from Burgundy. Instead of aiming for saturation, oak, ripeness and impact, both estates have pursued the opposite: striving for freshness and pure, elegant expressions of place. Mr. Perez accomplishes it with a native grape named Mencia, Comando G captures it with Garnacha.
To say this approach has been wildly successful is a complete and total understatement.
Mr. Perez has assumed the mantle of being the most exciting and talked about winemaker – not in Spain – but on Earth. His cult following has officially gone global. One third artisan wine maker, one third mad scientist and one third Lord of the Rings character, Pérez, commonly referred to as the “Master of Mencia” has hit the jackpot with his Burgundian approach that has made him a critic’s favorite.
With their label “Comando G” (cheekily named after 80’s Japanese cartoon), Mr. Landi and his partner are redefining what was previously viewed as Spain’s workhorse variety, Garnacha, into something that can rival the seduction and finesse of Pinot in Burgundy or the dark elegance of Syrah from the Rhône. Like many from this new generation, Mr. Landi and Garcia met at university, learned from some of the best in Spain, then branched outside of their native country concentrating their time on Burgundy and the Rhône. With the lessons learned, they returned home searching for abandoned high altitude vineyards in the weathered peaks of the Sierra de Gredos. “Three years ago, many people thought that we were just some crazy university graduates,” explained Mr. Landi. “But now it seems they’re finally beginning to understand”.
Needless to say but we’re huge fans of both estates. These are sensational, fresh, pure and sophisticated wines that reflect their unique terroirs. We guarantee they will become harder and harder to find as the rest of the world wakes up to their magic.
Come and get them while you can!!!
2015 Comando G La Bruja de Rozas
“The affordable 2015 La Bruja de Rozas, still sold as La Bruja Avería in Spain, is a blend of Garnacha grapes from different vineyards in the village of Rozas de Puerto Real, which is in the province of Madrid within the geographical zone of the Gredos Mountains. It's remarkably fresh for the vintage and is mostly from purchased grapes harvested quite early, some ten to 15 days before the average. They used a higher liquid to skin ratio pressing some grapes and had a colder fermentation trying not to extract, and they produced a very balanced, elegant and impressive wine for the natural conditions. It's juicy, with unnoticeable tannins and no oak whatsoever, floral and elegant. Some 50,000 bottles were filled in August from large oak vats where the wine matures; they do not use any barriques for this wine.” 92 Points, Wine Advocate
2015 Comando G Rozas 1er Cru
“The 2015 Rozas 1er Cru is their Garnacha village selection from the village of Rozas de Puerto Real. This is produced with biodynamically farmed vineyards (from 2015 all of the vineyards are biodynamic, even though they started earlier), and all of them are in the same zone of the village at some 950 meters altitude, with some 5.6 hectares in total. When I tasted this, I hadn't realized it was a 2015 and assumed it was a cooler vintage (2014). It talks about the superb vineyard work, a mini-Umbrías, with subtleness and elegance. This has to be the finest vintage to date for this bottling. Super recommended. 8,200 bottles were filled in November 2016. Talking to Comando G, they believe this wine really shows the vineyard work in this third vintage better than the previous one, improving irrespective of the conditions of the year. Bravo!" 94 Points, Wine Advocate
2013 Comando G Tumba del Rey Moro Vino de Parcela $80 NET
“Also in its second vintage, the 2013 Tumba del Rey Moro is already a favorite of many. This half hectare of ungrafted vines at some 1,100 meters altitude is located in a very austere place, full of granite boulders, cold and north-facing, so even colder. The vinification and upbringing of these single plot wines is all the same, so what you see in the bottle is the differences in the vineyards, the climate, altitude, soil and so on... The nose is intoxicating: dry flowers, wild berries, spices, wet stones, rock rose, something citric... The palate is sharp as a knife, even when figures might not show very high acidity. Again this is much more concentrated and powerful than it seems. Deciding between these micro cuvées is splitting hairs. This is fantastic, but in 2013 I also like the Las Umbría's very much.” 96 Points, Wine Advocate
2014 Raul Perez Ultreia de Valtuille
“The red 2014 Ultreia is Mencia from various vineyards in the environment of Ponferrada, where the soils are rich in slate, complemented by some 20% of grapes from the zone of Valtuille. It follows the same modus operandi as all the reds: fermentation with full clusters and indigenous yeasts and aging in used, well-seasoned, neutral barrels for one year. There is a mix of floral, spicy and balsamic aromas, subtle with an earthy background. The palate revealed some earthy tannins and fine, focused and subtle flavors. Some 7,000 bottles produced.” 92 Points, Wine Advocate
2015 Raul Perez Ultreia St. Jacques
“The 2015 Ultreia St Jacques is the entry-level red for the Ultreia range and is amazingly good for the price. Produced from old vines, this is a serious wine, with juicy fruit, a fine palate and good freshness for the conditions of the year. They have included new vineyards that they have been working for the last four or five years, so they are able to bottle a little bit more wine. This is a great value. 24,000 bottles produced. It was bottled in January 2017.” 93 Points, Wine Advocate
2015 Raul Perez Los Arrotos del Pendón
From Importer: Sandy clay soils, 890 meters above sea level in Castilla Y Leon. Whole cluster fermentation in cement followed by 18 months of aging in used 400- and 500-liter French barrels. Bottled without fining or filtration.
2014 Raul Perez Ultreia La Claudina Godello
“The only white in the Ultreia range is the 2014 Ultreia La Claudina, a Godello aged in a 2,000-liter foudre for 24 months, during which time the wine develops a veil of flor yeasts. It started off with some cereal notes, hints of hay and straw, yeasts, spices and a core of white fruit. The palate is medium-bodied, with an austere, mineral sensation, very tasty flavors and a salty finish. 1,500 bottles were filled in July 2016.” 94 Points, Wine Advocate
2015 Raul Perez Bierzo Ultreia Valtuille
“Las Villegas, a parcel in Valtuille de Abajo, was planted at the end of the 19th century. It’s mainly mencía, but, according to Raúl Pérez, who makes this wine, it also includes bastardo and garnacha tintorera as well as white grapes such as godello and doña blanca. He coferments them all to produce Ultreia. The tannins are sharp and wild, their grip yielding to black fruit and herbs that leave a pleasant memory. Delicious with roast rack of lamb.” 92 Points, Wine & Spirits
2011 Raul Perez Vino de Familia
“Quite dark and still marked by the wood at this very early stage. It even has a feeling of Priorat in it, although it doesn’t come from slate but from granite soils.” 16/20, Jancis Robinson