Episode 45: Viura (Macabeo) Same Grape, Different Names

Episode 45: Viura (Macabeo) Same Grape, Different Names

This week we are talking about a very important Spanish white grape, Viura aka Macabeo. Though lesser known, Viura is a principal grape in Rioja white wines, as well as an addition to traditional Rioja reds.  Or maybe you know it as Macabeo in your favorite Cava. 

Pop Some Bottles: 

2023 Azul Y Garanza Viura

Viura / Macabeo's Origins:

Macabeo, or Viura as you’ll also see it referred to, is Spain’s fifth-most widely-planted grape. You’ll find it used in lots of Spain’s wine-growing regions (with the exception of Galicia).

Spain is unquestionably Macabeo's homeland, most obviously the northern regions. It is the principal grape in white wines from Rioja, where the locals call it Viura – as they do in neighboring regions, including Navarra. The Viura grape has been part of the wine culture in La Rioja for centuries. In the past, it was added in small quantities to red wines to enhance their acidity and freshness.

Viura is the key ingredient in white Rioja wine. Rioja Blanco is made from a majority of Viura and may be blended with some other varieties including Malvasia and Garnacha Blanca, and international varieties like Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

Under the name Macabeo, grapes can be used on their own but are most commonly combined with other local varieties; in Rioja with Malvasia and Garnacha Blanca and in Catalonia alongside Parellada and Xarel-lo.

Viura / Macabeo Tasting Notes: 

Viura wines can be fresh, floral, and aromatic when harvested early and aged in stainless steel, but weighty, honeyed, and nutty when aged in oak and harvested slightly later. The more youthful style is generally refreshing with flavors of lemon and citrus fruits and floral aromas. Viura responds very well to oak aging and can produce white Rioja wines with great potential for aging.

Viura / Macabeo Food Pairing: 

Common food pairings for the light crisp style of Virua are simply grilled fish and shellfish, garlicky prawns or grilled squid, gazpacho, and light bright salads with sharp or citrus dressings. For barrel-aged heavier styles, it pairs well with roasted meats, Spanish ham, and a great pairing with paella. 

Listen now for more info! 

We cover more of the history of this grape and then we get into a discussion of wine trends and how what we drink and how we spend our money has a direct impact on wine laws and what type of wines get grown in certain regions. Grab a glass of your favorite Spanish white wine and listen in for all of the details.


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