Terra Alta

Terra Alta is one of those hidden places you might never find unless someone takes you there. This is perhaps the region’s appeal. It isn’t exactly inaccessible, but let’s just say that it enjoys a certain anonymity. As the very place name indicates, Terra Alta (High Land) refers to an elevated place above the Ebro River. The very river is in charge of surrounding the mountains of the region and, from a bird’s eye view, of defining the silhouette of this land in the south of Catalonia.

A very young Pablo Picasso was invited to Terra Alta by a friend from the region called Manuel Pallarés. Picasso would pay long visits whilst recovering from an illness, and would learn how to observe rural life in order to paint and draw it. In his biography, written by the French Henry Gidel, Picasso affirmed that he had learned everything he knew in Pallarés’ village. The artists’ first visit was apparently some sort of initiatory journey. According to his biography, Picasso spent weeks living in the mountains, “in the heart of the savage wilderness: thick forests, ravines, frozen torrents. They slept in a cave, on beds of grass, and cooked rice on bonfires.” This didn’t at all prevent him from drawing and painting. His first cubist paintings were a result of this experience.

The village where Picasso would stay is called Horta de Sant Joan. From Batea, a nearby village where all of Casa Mariol’s fields and wineries are, you can see the mountains that Picasso painted on the horizon, known under the name of Puertos de Beceite. That is where the source of the Algars and Matarraña rivers lies. These rivers pass through Batea, all the way to their mouths in the Ebro River.

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Batea is the most extensive village of the region. Around 4,000 hectares of vineyards are cultivated, making an annual production of around 20 million kilos of grapes. Agriculture is mainly grown on dry land, with a low rainfall rate, and long hours of exposure to the sun in the summertime. The vineyards are kept in a healthy state thanks to the combination of two predominant winds: the ‘cierzo’, which is very dry, and the ‘garbí’, a local humid wind.

There are some links of interest about the region at the bottom of this post. You will find recipes and pairings with local dishes by clicking on “pairings”.

When Casa Mariol opened their first shop in Barcelona, the press said: “Casa Mariol, ambassadors of the Terra Alta”. Without a doubt, this local wine and those of us producing it are responsible for representing this unknown land that has plenty be discovered.

Contact

Find us here:

 

OFFICE

CASA MARIOL
Rosselló 442 08025
Barcelona - SPAIN

+ 34 93 436 76 28
+ 34 93 450 02 81

 

 

WINERY

CASA MARIOL
Les Forques 2 43786
Batea - Tarragona - SPAIN

+ 34 977 43 03 03
+ 34 977 43 09 99

 

 

or send us an email:
info@casamariol.com

Shop

Location of our shop in Barcelona:

SAGRADA FAMILIA

Rosselló 442
08025 Barcelona
+ 34 93 436 76 28

Monday to Saturday, 10:00 to 15:00 and 17:00 to 22:00
Sundays, 10:00 to 15:00

Our shop is in the heart of the Sagrada Familia neighbourhood, located between the Sagrada Familia church and Saint Paul’s Hospital. Our customers are mainly made up of locals who drop by our shop to have their aperitif before lunch, or buy some bulk wine. This shop offers table service, where you can drink some MARIOL wines together with some tapas, including, ham, cheese, salted fish, salads, etc.

La Casa

When you’re born in a beautiful mediaeval village of two thousand inhabitants surrounded by vineyards, in the heart of a family that makes wine, you one day wonder (or reaffirm): I was born to do this. That is surely what various generations who’ve been living and working in Casa Mariol for over a century must have thought.

In Batea, the village in question, vineyards and wine are a religion, and Casa Mariol a home to the pious parishioners. The village’s inhabitants live in houses that were built centuries ago to store wine. They take care of the fields as if these were their gardens, and the celebrations of their patron saint, San Miguel, are postponed so as not to coincide with the grape harvest If we were to compare it with a contemporary example, we might say that Batea is a village where the trending topic is the grapevine, and tweets are taken literally.

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When speaking of a company called Casa, terms can be confused. The organisation chart is pure genealogy. As a company, it was born in 1945, founded by José María Vaquer Bes. In his home, they had always made wine, so José María began to sell it using his brand new Opel Blitz car. The Mariol wines from Batea began to reach important markets such as those of Reus and Barcelona, and on the barrels from the city wine merchants it was common to find “Batea” written in chalk, together with the number of José María’s second truck, a Chevrolet with a 77777 number plate which they said was famous in Catalonia.

In the 60s, the production of wine ceased to be made in Casa, and a modern winery was built. By then, José María’s sons were already adults and he could count on their help. Josep Vaquer Aguiló, the middle child, not only inherited the name, but also his dedication to the company. In 1971, José María died in a work accident in the middle of the grape harvest. Four months later, Josep married Emilia Llop, from Casa Rams, another family of peasants and winemakers from Batea. With them, a new era would begin at the winery, with Josep taking care of management, and Emilia in charge of production.

In the 80s, the Mariols used to watch Falcon Crest on TV, which was a fiction like any other. Their great challenge was to install the first bottling plant of the region in Batea and to begin to make wines for new channels such as the catering trade. With the bottling plant, the first foreign varieties were made, such as Cabernet, Merlot, or Chardonnay. But it wasn’t until the mid 80s that Casa Mariol decided to launch the first varietal Syrah wine aged in Spain.

In the 90s, the winery expanded and began to commercialise the new bottled wines in their local market -the Costa Dorada and Barcelona-, where Casa Mariol would open their first two shops in 1997. During these years, their facilities expanded, but it wasn’t until the year 2,000 that Casa Mariol opened a new winery exclusively for the reception of grapes and the production of wine.

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The decade starting in the year 2,000 also brought about a new generation to the winery. Josep María and Maria Vaquer Llop, grandchildren of the founder, had just finished their studies in oenology. Josep María would later be in charge of viticulture and oenology, whilst his sister Marta would take care of production.

With their children’s help, the Mariol family, almost in its entirety, opened a new bottling plant in Móra la Nova -a pioneer in bottling plants of the region-, which would be key for them to offer quality wine at more competitive prices and therefore begin to export all over Europe.

In 2,007, Marta and Josep María, together with Miguel Angel -the youngest brother and latest addition to the company-, launched JO! Catalonia’s first Verdejo wine, and Casa Mariol’s first experimental product. With this curious product, the Mariols caught the attention of the whole Spanish wine industry, clearly illustrating their company philosophy and pointing to a new wine culture.

For the new millennium, the Mariols have great challenges to meet. Among others, to continue to be a family dedicated to their vineyards and their wine. They have inherited the knowledge for making quality wine at a good price, and have the desire to spread their new wine culture everywhere; theirs is a religious love of wine, of what they do, and of who they are.

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Distribution

Currently you can find our products in:

SpainSpain

EE.UU.USA

ChinaChina

PolandPoland

AndorraAndorra

DenmarkDenmark

Sweden

United Kingdom

If you want more information about Casa Mariol distribution or you can't find our products in your country, contact us to:

info@casamariol.com

(3D flags by http://www.crossed-flag-pins.com)

 

 

 

 

Bulk wines

Bulk wine shops in Barcelona are perhaps some of the most genuine local spaces in town. In a city ruled by design, where franchises, designer shops and bars are increasingly common, traditional wine shops offering bulk wine are now an emblem of the traditional, historical, and original Barcelona.

To enter a shop of bulk wine in the city is quite an olfactory experience. The perfume that impregnates these spaces is hard to explain. It is a communion of fresh wines and oak, aromatic herbs from the vermouth, and sweet aromas -with a musty touch- from the more mature wines and liqueurs.

Bulk wine is clearly an alternative to the huge offer of bottled wine on the market. Bulk wine is for daily consumption. It is sometimes called tranquil wine, and is less refined than bottled wine, but belongs to pure tradition, as we cannot do without it if we are to understand each region’s idiosyncrasies and elaboration processes. On the other hand, this wine is less costly, and the reusable containers used to buy it makes this product the most eco-friendly one on the market.

In MARIOL’s Barcelona based shops, we offer a broad variety of bulk wine: white, rosé, and red wine of different varieties -sweet or dry-, as well as liqueurs such as vermouth, mistelle, muscatel, and mellow wine. We also age natural wine vinegar.

The public that regularly comes to buy bulk wine gives the shop its peculiar style. They are people with daily routines, and also often young people who have recently started consuming bulk wine; who always have wine on their table. In Casa, we will continue to offer and safeguard this tradition. We cannot imagine our shops without that characteristic smell, nor can we imagine a Barcelona without its bulk wine shops.

Remember that if you bring your own recipient, you won’t have to buy one.