Daniel Landi, Las Uvas de la Ira, Castilla y León, 2014
If there's been a revolution in Spanish winemaking Dani Landi is one of the chief rebels. He grew up in a family of viticulturists in Méntrida, and made his name with Bodegas Jimenez Landi before setting out on his own projects. The rugged peaks and hilltop towns of the Sierra de Gredos, covered with patches of thick scrub and large granite boulders, were mainly known for producing simple, country wines. Vines cling to scree-slopes like mountain goats, many of these sites were abandoned decades ago, but a new generation of growers is rediscovering them. Dani works around seven hectares of 60-80 year-old vines. The combination of high altitude, free draining soils, and a long growing season gives a unique micro-climate. The winemaking is low intervention: he uses a proportion of whole bunch, large old oak barrels, and minimal extraction, really just steeping the grapes. He makes a 'village' wine called Uvas de la Ira, but also bottles three vineyards separately which each aim to capture the specific landscape and place. “We make landscape wines from the vine without any make-up. Three basic ideas guide our work: minerality, freshness and elegance.” Along with the pioneers of the Priorat, he is redefining what was previously viewed as a workhorse variety into something that can rival the elegance and finesse of some of the world’s most sought after reds.
Meaning literally “The Grapes of Wrath”, this wine is made from old-vine Garnacha sourced from four different sites near the village of El Real de San Vicente. True to Dani’s style, this is miles away from the typical concentrated style many people associate with the grape. Rather, it is lifted and elegant, with savoury yet fresh red fruit, spice, and dry, chalky tannins. An ambitious yet equally lovely wine from a very promising young winemaker.
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