Jordi Aixala is a native of Torroja del Priorat and former mayor of the gorgeous mountain-top village, perched in the center of the sweeping panorama of swirling slopes and valleys for which the Priorat is famous. Despite the rising profile of the region's wines in the 1990s, young people in the Priorat were encouraged to move to cities and seek professional careers as farming was not considered a viable career path. Jordi was undeterred and began caring for his family's vineyards and olive groves in 1995. Together with his wife, Sussi Alcait, and their budding winemaker daughter, Alzina, Jordi makes just 15,000 bottles of wine per year. The family's micro-production is disproportionate to their exciting range of wines and their importance to the village. Aixal� i Alcait's vineyards and olive groves are certified organic as a matter of principle: protecting the health of the land is non-negotiable and a long-term mission they are vocal about. In order to defend his family's heritage, Jordi has opted to buy land and establish new vineyards (since buying existing, old vineyards is much more expensive). The Priorat's ancient slate soils, known as 'llicorella', are often more like rock than soil, which makes planting vines and carving out terraces a dangerous and backbreaking (and tractor-destroying) job. The way Jordi sees it, there's no other choice. "Natural" wine is not a stylistic category to speak of in the Priorat, where the wines tend to be classically built for aging. Aixala's wines would certainly qualify, however, due to the absence of additives other than strategic and low additions of SO2. Aixala i Alcait's red wines transmit the power of Torroja's rocky slopes and plenty of familiar Priorat intensity and mineral depth, but with a nuanced, vintage-expressive touch.
"Destrankis" is a Catalan term referring to contraband trafficked by smugglers during the fascist Franco dictatorship, and an affectionate nod to lawlessness from the confines of one of the wine world's most rule-governed DOs! The wine is an approachable young Priorat, made of Grenache and Carignan from vines planted between 1983 and 2014, fermented with native yeasts in stainless steel and 10 days of maceration, then aged for 9 months in used French oak.