Classic aromas of Macabeo are Orange, Lemon, Apple, Yellow Peach and Almond
Macabeo is a widely grown white grape varietal throughout the South of France and north of Spain. It is Spain where it originated, believed to have been planted in the region since the early 17th century. It was until the early 19th century before vines were carried over to Roussillon, in the South of France, a region where it still predominates. Within France, Macabeo is often spelt Maccabeu, and in Spain it can often be known as Viura. All of these vines are genetically identical.
Macabeo is without a doubt the most planted white grape in northern Spain. It is famous in two regions: Rioja and Catalunya. It is most widely planted in Catalunya as it makes up the fair majority of the white blend that makes up the sparkling wines of the Cava sub-region. Catalunya has 13,718ha of the countries total of 34,401ha. The region of Rioja is mostly known for its sturdy and age-worthy red wines made from Tempranillo, though the white wines, for those in the know, are truly legendary. Here it is known as Viura and will be one of the leading grapes of the blend. One of the most important examples of Viura in Rioja is Vina Tondonia's Reserva Blanca.
In France, Roussillon is still the leading proponents of Macabeo throughout the country, holding onto at least 85% of the countries total. At current census there was 2,628ha planted across France. In Roussillon, like the most of South of France, the Macabeo is featured in a range of blends alongside of Grenache Blanc and Carignan Blanc. Historically these wines have always been aged for a portion in oak to give more flavour but in recent years modern winemakers are making crisp and fruit-forward examples.
Overall, Macabeo produces white wines that are incredibly aromatic. They will have orange, lemon and tree-fruit flavours in their youth along with a low-medium acidity. As they develop in the bottle, especially if they have been oaked, they will develop into toasty and nutty characters.