Despite attempts by the scientific community to find a wine that cures what ails you, no one in a white coat has been able to so far. The latest news comes out of the Sant Antoni market area, near Plaça Espanya.
Italians Umberto and Francesco have managed to astound researchers with their neighbourhood wine bar. They assure us that even unbelievers, once they spend a bit of time sitting in the bodega, will see their problems fly like paper airplanes.
The recipe at Vino y Otros Remedios ('Wine and Other Remedies') is clear: make the clientele happy with reliable recommendations and easy-to-swallow prices. 'Most wines coss less than 15 euros,' says Umberto, who's originally from the town of Salento, in southern Italy, where his father makes wine. 'Most of our customers are not experts, so we like to be able to give them good advice.' Umberto's eyes sparkle behind his specks when he talks about wine.
You can buy bottles and take them home, but it's worth taking their counsel. A handful of tables flank the shelves bearing a mix of Catalan, Spanish and Italian wines.
There is life beyond chianti and bad Lambrusco. Vino y Otros Remedios guarantees it: Umberto imports the wine from small wine cellars in the heel of Italy. It's one of the few spots in town where you can find varieties of Negroamaro and Amarone.
Big brands aside
Other than one or two prestigious names, Vino y Otros Remedios stays away from the most popular brands and goes their own way. When he can, Umberto packs a bag and goes in search of small wine makers, looking for a story that, once back in the bodega, he'll love telling the customers.
They also offer a good number of cold tapas to pair with selected wines of the week. In addition to the typical local fare, there's no shortage of Italian and French cheeses and other traditional options like frisella, a type of hard bread roll that you soak and eat with anchovies, mozzarella and oregano.