Description 1 of 2
Common synonyms: Maccabeo, Macabeu, Viura (as well as, but less commonly, Alcañol, Alcañón, Blanca de Daroca, Charas Blanc, Forcalla, Gredelín, Lardot, Listan Andaludschii, Listan Andaluzskii, Lloza, Macaban, Macabeo, Macabeu, Maccabeo, Maccabeou, Maccabeu, Makkobeo, Malvoisie, Provensal, Queue de Renard, Rossan, Subirat, Tokay, Ugni Blanc, Viuna, Xarello)
Parentage of the grape: None available.
History of the grape: Macabeo is Spain’s most widely planted grape. From there, it has made its way to southern France’s Roussillon region, which is located just over the Pyrenees mountains. Though a text from 1854 suggests that it originated in the Middle East, its history is rather murky.
The variety must make up at least 51% of white Rioja, where it is prized for its ability to resist oxidation and to provide the acidity that Malvasia and Garnacha Blanca lack. However, it is being slowly edged out by international varieties such as Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, as well as Verdejo. Macabeo was first embraced here when Rioja’s vineyards were replanted after phylloxera because it is very prolific and resists disease well, but these very characteristics have begun to turn quality-minded producers against it. It is increasingly perceived as a characterless workhorse grape. However, traditional producers such as Lopez de Heredia continue to make world-class wines from this variety.
Characteristics of the grape: Pretty neutral floral character; medium-low acidity. Belies the quality and variety of the wines produced.
Regions where the grape currently is important: Languedoc-Roussillon, Rioja, Penedes (Cava)
Type or types of wines the grape produces: Traditional white Rioja is still dominated by Viura, as it’s known there. At their best, the wines are long-lived and complex. White Rioja is traditionally aged in American oak, which lends flavors of vanilla and dill. Some producers now use French oak instead. Old white Rioja tends to have some oxidative character.
The second most important wine made from Macabeo is Vin Doux Naturel in the Roussillon in France. These are amazing dessert wines that are also very long-lived.
Macabeo is also part of the typical blend for Cava, the sparkling wine from Spain’s Penedes region.
It can also be used in white Minervois and Corbieres.
Description 2 of 2
The most planted white grape in northern Spain, Macabeo is also known in that country under the pseudonym of Viura. Macabeo has also become popular in France’s Roussillon area. The grape is used to produce mildly acidic and young white wines, suitable for early consumption, or is incorporated into other appropriate blends. In Rioja, Viura has surpassed Malvasia as the main component of White Rioja. Here, it is produced with varying degrees of oak aging. Although some question the cellaring potential of Viura, Marques de Murrieta has proven that extremely pleasurable and age worthy Viura can be made using new wood.
You are among the most popular of Spain's
Euro-pop stars. Your fresh and lively act
has popularized the name "Macabeo". But your
youthful act lacks stamina. This may be a
blessing in disguise, as your modern
interpretation of the traditional Spanish
ballad known as 'La Rioja' appeals to a wider
demographic and will keep you on the charts. – Description from Appellation America (view original content)
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