Aixala i Alcait - Les Clivelles de Torroja 2018
Jordi Aixalà and Sussi Alcait farm a few small plots in Torroja, and their story mirrors many of Spain's soulful producers in their desire to revive special vineyards and the ‘truth’ of place after a period of abandonment.
After several years of doing it hard following Spain's crisis, basically selling their fruit for no return, in 2012 they moved to a tiny cellar in Torroja and went all-in on releasing wine under their own label. These wines are organic, low sulfur, and farmed according to the lunar cycle. They smell and taste beautifully of the Torroja valley.
Torroja Valley, Priorat
Torroja is a picturesque, pebble-paved little hillside village, home to about 150 folk. It's bang in the middle of DOQ Priorat. The village itself is at 330 metres, sitting above the valley of Riu Siurana. The coastal Gabrinada breeze, the more dominant inland Serre breeze, the soft, crumbly llicorella soil, and the variant very hard soldó form of licorella contribute to the profile of these wines. The best Torrojan wines are wild, free, earthen and strikingly mineral, but lean (in glycerol terms), herbal, and easy.
Clivelles is a vineyard on the high ridges of Torroja, in Partida ‘Ferral’, with very soft slate. It’s Jordi’s oldest vineyard, planted to Carinyena. ‘Clivelles’ is from clivellada – broken lands, indicating the steep gulleys typical here. Fermented in steel, then 10 months ageing in chestnut and French oak.
Round and full flavoured, but equally nimble, fresh and free. Notes of black strawberries, rose-hip and sage combine in a deeply herbal wine built on the truffly-honey smell and the fresh black minerality of the llicorella.