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The Macabeo Grape


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About Macabeo

(Synonyms: Charas Blanc, Lardot, Macabeu, Maccabéo, Maccabeu, Viura.)

Background

Map showing Vilafranca del Penedes in Spain.

Macabeo is an old white-wine grape most likely originating in the Vilafranca del Penedès region of Catalunya in Spain. It is almost equally common to find it called “Viura” as “Macabeo”; we here follow Jancis Robinson in her encyclopedic book Wine Grapes in referring to it as Macabeo. Quite often, the wines will be founbd labelled simply “White Rioja” (or the Spanish equivalent “Rioja Blanco”), but recent changes in Spanish wine laws now allow white Riojas to contain as little as 51% Viura (as it is called there), so if looking at such a bottle, take care to read the back label.

Today, Macabeo is grown and vinified on both sides of the Pyrenees Mountains: in northern Spain and in southern France. The French production is much smaller than the Spanish (which is mostly the Rioja region), but the wines from there (the Roussillon region) are quite well-made.

Stylistically, Macabeo is all over the map. The modern tendency is toward stainless-steel fermentation tanks, producing crisp, fresh floral wines; but there is also a significant amount made in an older fashion, using later-harvested grapes and a deal of oak-barrel aging to produce big nutty/honied wines. It is probably well worth becoming acquainted with both styles.

Factoid: Macabeo is an important ingredient in the famed Cava sparkling wines of Spain.

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Some Descriptions of Macabeo Wines

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Some Macabeos to Try

(About this list.)

The “CVNE” winery appearing twice in the list is, in full, the Compañía Vinícola del Norte de España; that initialism is also very often rendered “CUNE” (pronounced COO-nay). They are a large and important winemaker.


CVNE “Monopole Clásico” Blanco Seco
(Viura and “others”—follow the wine-name link above; not to be confused with their 100% Viura non-Clásico bottling, listed farther below.)

• This wine’s Wine Searcher “Tasting Notes” page.
• This wine’s CellarTracker review pages.
• This wine’s CellarTracker review pages.
  (CellarTracker has two separate listings for this wine.)
• Retail offers of this wine listed by Wine Searcher
• Retail offers of this wine listed by 1000 Corks



Sierra de Toloño Viura/Rioja Blanco
(100% Viura.)

• This wine’s Wine Searcher “Tasting Notes” page.
• This wine’s CellarTracker review pages.
• Retail offers of this wine listed by Wine Searcher
• Retail offers of this wine listed by 1000 Corks



Valserrano Rioja Blanco
(100% Viura.)

• This wine’s Wine Searcher “Tasting Notes” page.
• This wine’s CellarTracker review pages.
• Retail offers of this wine listed by Wine Searcher
• Retail offers of this wine listed by 1000 Corks



Luis Cañas Blanco
(90% Viura, 10% Malvasia—nay vary by vintage.)

• This wine’s Wine Searcher “Tasting Notes” page.
• This wine’s CellarTracker review pages.
• Retail offers of this wine listed by Wine Searcher
• Retail offers of this wine listed by 1000 Corks



CVNE “Monopole” Blanco
(100% Viura; not to be confused with their “Clasico” bottling, listed farther above.)

• This wine’s Wine Searcher “Tasting Notes” page.
• This wine’s CellarTracker review pages.
• Retail offers of this wine listed by Wine Searcher
• Retail offers of this wine listed by 1000 Corks

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For a Splurge

We could find no reasonably available Macabeo wines better enough than those listed above as to justify a “splurge” price.

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This page was last modified on Monday, 23 March 2020, at 3:52 pm Pacific Time.