It’s always nice to have wine with a side of rock n’ roll. Need a pairing for Garnatxa Negre? “All I Want Is You” by U2 and a side of olives, says Casa Mariol. A young Macabeu? Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On” and a paella will do. Samsó (aka Carignan) calls for none other than Neil Young’s “Rockin’ in the Free World” and a slice of jamón. Of course. To choose a wine from Casa Mariol, you really can let the label be your guide.

Terra Alta’s Casa Mariol – best known, perhaps, for their vermouth and their pioneering approach to labeling – has set about making wine more drinker-friendly through eye-catching graphic design and a delightfully lowbrow approach to wine appreciation. At Casa Mariol, vino es vino. Wine is simply wine, nothing more. They like their grapes organic and ecological, their philosophy stripped down.

The only thing they like dressing up, it seems, is their bottles, which have been slapped with award-winning labels designed by Bendita Gloria.
They eschew pretention, embracing a rare combination of traditional and contemporary, which refuses to cave to elitist consumers. Gone is the discriminating language of wine. Words like bouquet, nuance and nose are banished. Instead, they label their wines with terms that make sense for the everyday consumer. A “fun, floral and tasty” Garnatxa Blanca strikes a chord, as does “light, easy and delicious,” words that call to mind a perfect moment with a glass of wine more than a serious tasting session. And isn’t that what we’re here for anyway?.

What to try: With an impressive lineup of 15 wines and cavas, you’re sure to find something for any occasion, and at exceptionally reasonable prices. Garnatxa Blanca from Terra Alta always impresses. Casa Mariol’s crianza (9€), aged 12 months, is no different. It’s round and full, but still fresh and lively, and an easy pairing with summer foods. One of their most unique cavas is a rare 100% Trepat (10€), aged 36 months, breathing a rustic flavor into an otherwise refined wine with fine bubbles and notes of fresh red fruits. And don’t miss the vermouth –it’s their house gem.

Where to find it: Casa Mariol (Carrer del Rosselló, 442), Vila Viniteca (Carrer dels Agullers, 9).

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