Unconventional White Wine Varietals: A Spotlight on Macabeu

Unconventional White Wine Varietals: A Spotlight on Macabeu

Unconventional White Wine Varietals: A Spotlight on Macabeu

When it comes to white wines, many of us are familiar with popular varieties such as Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Riesling. These grapes have long dominated the market and are well-loved by wine enthusiasts worldwide. However, hidden among the shadows of these mainstream options lies a treasure trove of unconventional white wine varietals, each with its own unique characteristics and flavors. One such hidden gem is the Macabeu grape, and it is well worth traveling to Roussillon for.

The Macabeu Grape: A Brief Introduction

Macabeu, also known as Macabeo or Viura in Spain, is a white grape variety native to the Catalonia region in the northeast of Spain whose culture and influence extends across the border into the South of France. It is often used in the production of Cava, a Spanish sparkling wine made similarly to Champagne, however Macabeu is also found in the Rioja, Priorat, and Roussillon Regions where it is typically blended with other grape varieties to create distinctive white wines.  Here at Res Fortes, we use it in our award winning French white wine where it is blended with Grenache Gris and Grenache Blanc.

Aromatic Profile and Flavor Characteristics

Macabeu wines are celebrated for their aromatic qualities and delightful flavor profile. On the nose, these wines can exhibit a range of scents, including floral notes like jasmine and honeysuckle, complemented by fruity hints of green apple, citrus, and melon. Some variations of Macabeu may even showcase a subtle herbal undertone, adding complexity to the overall aroma.

When it comes to taste, Macabeu wines often deliver a fresh and crisp experience. They have a pleasant acidity that provides a lively zing on the palate, making them incredibly refreshing and ideal for warm weather sipping. The flavor profile can vary depending on the region and winemaking techniques, but it generally includes a mix of citrus fruits like lemon and lime, along with ripe pear and sometimes a touch of almond.

Food Pairings with Macabeu Wines

Due to its vibrant acidity and fruity nature, Macabeu wines are versatile when it comes to food pairings. They make an excellent aperitif and pair beautifully with an array of dishes. Here are some delightful food pairing ideas to try with Macabeu:

Seafood Delights: The crisp acidity of Macabeu makes it an excellent companion to various seafood dishes like grilled prawns, ceviche, or lemon-buttered fish.

Light Pasta Dishes: Pair Macabeu with light pasta dishes, such as spaghetti aglio e olio, pesto pasta, or lemon-based sauces.

Sushi and Sashimi: The wine's refreshing nature complements the delicate flavors of sushi and sashimi, creating a harmonious dining experience.

Vegetarian Fare: Macabeu pairs well with vegetable-based dishes like grilled vegetable platters, salads, and risottos.

Soft Cheeses: Enjoy Macabeu with soft cheeses like Brie or Camembert, as their creaminess complements the wine's acidity.

Discovering Macabeu Wines

While Macabeu might not be as widely known as other white wine varietals, it is worth seeking out for its unique characteristics and surprising versatility. Look for bottles labeled as "Macabeo" or "Viura" in wine shops or consider exploring wines from the Roussillon region in France. Additionally, don't hesitate to ask your local sommelier or wine merchant for recommendations and tips on discovering the best Macabeu wines.

The world of white wines is rich and diverse;

Offering an array of varietals that extend beyond the traditional favorites. Macabeu, with its aromatic allure and lively flavors, stands as a testament to the wonders waiting to be explored in the realm of unconventional white wine varietals. So, the next time you want to venture beyond the usual, uncork a bottle of Macabeu and embark on a delightful journey of taste and discovery. Cheers!