Macabeo is a variety of which its geographic origin is located between Catalonia and Aragon, and from this area spread throughout the Iberian peninsula and southern France, although we also find it in California, North of Africa or Mallorca. It is very important in Castile, Navarra and La Rioja, where it is known as Viura; where formerly it was used to soften the tannicity of red wines, even today we find small proportions in some red wines.
Although we find it all around Catalonia, it concentrates mainly in Penedès and Terra Alta, and it is also common in Empordà and Tarragona.
Other denominations for Macabeo are Maccabéu and Charas Blanc (France), Alcañón (Aragon) and Macameu in Terra Alta, where this variety thanks to its resistance to oxidation has traditionally been mixed with Garnacha Blanca (sensible to oxidation).
Together with Xarel·lo and Parellada, it is one of the basic wines for the production of Cava, although we find other applications for monovarietal wines, to make blends, wines with aging and also for sweet wines.
In the countryside:
Compact and large grapes.
Round grain, golden color and fine skin.
Very sensitive to Botrytis Cinerea (rotten).
Relatively early maturing.
Good yield of must.
Moderate alcohol graduation.
Pale color, straw yellow with greenish hues.
Medium intensity aromas, floral notes and slightly fruity (grapefruit, apple); notes of honey and nuts in elborations with wood passage.
Although we find Macabeo in many DO Terra Alta wines, especially as NOT dominant wine in a blend, we have chosen two wines where we believe we can appreciate the traditional use of Macabeo in Terra Alta:
Vinyes del Grau Blanc from Celler Josep Vicens.
Clot d’Encís Clàssic de Sant Josep Wines.