“We also make wine for ourselves that we stomp with our own feet. Want to try it?” Nervous laughter and then a resounding silence emanates from the group. It soon becomes clear that ‘no’ was never an option.

Josep Mitjans is walking full steam ahead toward a corner of the Loxarel warehouse. He invites us up into the refrigerated truck carefully, one by one. “Cuidado. The floor is all ice,” he says. Like a gentleman, he grabs my hand and helps me up attentively. The air is freezing inside, a shock after the warm hive of the warehouse. In the corner is a knee-high stainless steel vat, some plastic tubing, and a pipette. He hands us each a glass, draws a small amount of liquid out, and shoots it into our glasses. The color is vivid and pleasing, like the meat of a pale plum. It petals the nose with a waft of rose. Our trepidation falls away with the first sip. It’s juicy and drinkable, and we laugh and forget for a moment where we are.

Loxarel’s tours are all about small surprises. One moment you’re touching dusty cellar walls that once offered shelter from bombs, the next you’ve popped out into a sunny vineyard via a tiny door that makes you wonder if you’ve fallen down some sort of rabbit hole. Or up it, as the case may be. The two donkeys, ever playful, are also a delight.

It’s surprising to find 31 still wines and cavas on the catalogue of a small producer. Yet, from the passion Josep exudes, it’s not hard to understand why. His organic and biodynamic practices reveal a great deal about the focus and energy he puts into his wines. Tasting their pure brilliance reveals the rest.

What to try: If I could, I would encourage everyone to grab a bottle of the impressive 720 Pecats (“Sins”), but it’s not out yet. For now, tuck into a bottle of the amphora-fermented À Pel, from his natural wines collection, a dark, intense beauty with a nose full of black cherries, dried fruits, hazelnuts, and almonds (11,55€) . His EOS Syrah with swirling aromas of licorice, coffee, cacao, cherries, violets, and Mediterranean herbs captivates equally (10,50€).
Where to find it: Nomm (Avinguda del Paraŀlel, 130), Pollería Fontana (Carrer de Sant Lluís, 9), Álava de la Cruz (c/Corsega, 544)