Q & A with Dani Landi winemaking partner and owner at Comando G and Dani Landi Wines in Spain
As part of the 10th edition of Wine Behind The Label we selected 16 highly talented winemakers who have consistently been able to produce five and sometimes, super five star wines for extra recognition. The second of who we profile here, Dani Landi, winemaker and partner at Comando G and making wines under his own label Dani Landi wines at the Vinos de Madrid and Méntrida DOs in the Sierra de Gredos Mountains.
Where and when were you born?
Madrid, in 1977
What was your first encounter with wine?
My memories go back to when I was little, as I was brought up in the family house in Méntrida, with vineyards and a small winery.
When and why did you decide to make wine?
Both my parents, each one in their own way, educated me in the respect of nature and taught me how to appreciate its beauty. These may be the reasons why I make wine. Besides, I’ve been harvesting since I was fourteen, so working in the vineyards is deeply bounded to my life.
Who did you learn your craft from?
Fortunately, I’ve had the opportunity to learn from quite a lot of people. I’m very grateful to all of them. Specially important have been Raúl Pérez, Ricardo P. Palacios and our road trips in the van in which we discovered the great wine-growing regions in Europe. Château Rayas and La Même from the 90’s have always been our references.
How would you describe your winemaking philosophy?
Wine is the expression of a place and a culture, the identity of a village. Wine should talk from the soil, it should talk about geology and history.
For us, the vineyard is equal to a human being, each one has a unique and different personality. We try to be respectful and express this unique character of each vineyard, and to distinguish this character in a glass of wine.
What is your approach to winemaking and your style?
We work with the conviction that the great wines are cultivated and made in the vineyard, not in the winery, where we make grape infusions almost non-interventionist.
All our work is articulated around the search of three concepts that are the backbone of our wines: minerality, freshness and elegance.
How has 2016 been for you/your vintage?
2016 is the dream vintage, the best since I’ve been making wine. I don’t remember any other vintage so complex and fine. These will be great wines to keep for aging.
What do you see as the big opportunities for you and the winery?
Regardless of whether our wines are liked or not, I believe that our work has a further meaning, which is to contribute to the value of our land, to make known Sierra de Gredos and to avoid the loss of its heritage, promoting the social and economic resurgence of the region.
We work with great respect for the history of Gredos, from the Romans who brought the first vines, to the Cistercian monks of the XIIth century who developed viticulture and, of course, all the generations that preceded us, and planted and worked the land before us. Thanks to all of them, now we have the great opportunity to work with old vineyards.
Our wines are the result of the work of many people over time, they are not just ours.
What are the biggest challenges you face?
Someone in Italy once told me that when you have a child, you should plant a vineyard. I think it’s true. We’d like to plant vineyards for our kids and the next generations.
I would also like to explain to them that the most important thing is the road, how things are made, the gesture above all. I’d like to let them know that the only true success in life is to share the road as happiness is not real if it’s not shared.
I’d like to tell them: “Live as if tomorrow was the last day, work the land as if you were going to live for another hundred years”.
And then I hope they are happy and do what they want… jajaja
What are the most important countries for you around the world to sell you wine?
We sell our wine in more than 20 countries and all are important. With some of them there is a relationship of more than 10 years and they are not only clients but also friends. USA, England, Sweden or Australia are very important markets, but also Japan, Norway or France and, of course, we can not forget Spain where, for some years now, there is a growing interest.
In which direction do you see yourself going in the near future?
I see myself working my vineyards…
Normally people say that the earth belongs to the men who work it. And of course I agree with that. But furthermore, I would say that when one works the vineyards, one has the feeling of belonging to that place, to the landscape. Therefore, the land does not belong to men, it’s men who belong to the land.
It’s been a long time since I feel that I belong to my vineyards, I feel that I’ve found my place in the world, a place one cannot leave.