Friday, April 10, 2020

Grape Spotlight: Rioja Viura or Macabeo Elsewhere in Spain

DOC Rioja is primarily red wine centric, however, on the white wine side of the house, Viura has supplanted Malvasia as the most widely planted white grape variety.  Elsewhere in Spain, the grape is called Macabeo, but Rioja vintners are especially keen because of its high levels of antioxidant resveratrol monomers. This brings it a little closer to a red wine grape and barrel aging as the higher percentage of resveratrol equates to higher resistance to oxidation. And barrel aging inevitably results in higher exposure to oxygen. In the vineyard, there are risks; Viura is susceptible to disease and in particular to downy mildew and grey rot.

In the winery, Viura is very versatile and can be vinified into multiple styles from still or sparkling, dry or sweet, or steel or barrel fermented. The wines are generally fresh with floral and white fruit aromatics using stainless steel fermentation and more weighted and nutty when oak treatments are used.

If you want to try a Viura wine then you should start with Monopole, the oldest white wine brand in Spain, and first produced by CVNE in 1915. The current vintage is the Monopole 2019 White Rioja ($15) where only free-run juice was fermented in order to maintain the inherent fruit and floral aromatics. This also creates a freshness that is consistent from start to finish weaving through surprising layers of depth.

Disclosure: We received samples from CVNE in order to share our opinion about their products, but this isn’t a sponsored post.

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