Viura is a white wine-grape variety most often associated with the Rioja region in Spain. Under its more common name, Macabeo, it is grown widely throughout Spain—particularly in Catalunya for Cava production, and the Languedoc-Roussillon area of France.
In the vineyard, the Viura vine undergoes bud break later than many varieties and thus is better protected from the threat of spring frosts. However, it also tends to overproduce. Its bunches can be small and tight, leaving the berries highly susceptible to rot. Quality-minded producers can overcome these issues with meticulous vineyard management, including extreme pruning and early picking. Its berries tend to be large, thick-skinned, relatively low in acidity and somewhat neutral in aroma.
The Viura grape is versatile, offering winemakers many options. Styles of Viura wine vary from dry white table wine to sweet wine and sparkling wine. The grape’s relatively neutral flavor profile makes it suitable for blending with other varieties, including more expressive white varieties or sometimes even red varieties.
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.
Stylistically, white Rioja can range from light and drinkable to richer, full-bodied whites that have spent considerable time in oak. 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 considerable potential for aging.
Viura may also be blended alongside red grapes like Tempranillo or Garnacha to produce red Rioja.
The Viura vine was planted in the Rioja region to replace existing plantings of Garnacha Blanca and Malvasia after the outbreak of phylloxera. The average age of Viura vines is high in Rioja today, so when managed with care, these vines give low yields of high-quality fruit.
Known as Macabeo, the grape is used in Catalunya in the production of the traditional method sparkling wine, Cava. Here, it is blended primarily with Parellada and Xarel-lo. Other permitted grapes include Chardonnay, Malvasia, Pinot Noir, Trepat, Garnacha and Monastrell.
Macabeo can make up as much as 50 percent of a typical Cava blend, and contributes delicacy and aroma to the wine.
Macabeo is widely planted throughout Spain, and produces wines in various styles and at varying levels of quality. Its largest planting is in Castilla-La Mancha, and it is also cultivated in Aragón.
In France, known as Maccabéo (or Macabeu), there are considerably plantings throughout the Languedoc-Roussillon region. It contributes to dry whites such as Corbières and Minervois, as well as sweet wines from Maury and Rivesaltes, among others.
Other than those already mentioned, the Viura grape has many synonyms. These include Alcanol, Alcanon, Charas Blanc, Forcalla, Macaban, Macabeu, Maccabéo, Maccabeou, Maccabeu, Makkobeo, Malvoisie and Viuna, among many others.
No matter what you call it, you’re sure to find a bottle to suit your personal taste. Explore our selection of top-rated wines using the online Buying Guide below.
Obalo 2020 Viura (Rioja)Northern SpainThis wine has a nose of Granny Smith apple, green pear and ...Best BuySee Full Review$20
Bodegas Franco-Españolas 2021 Royal Viura (Rioja)Northern SpainThis light-straw-colored wine has aromas of green apple and lemon zest. It ...See Full Review$36
Larchago 2020 Viura (Rioja)Northern SpainA bouquet of clementine, lemon and honeysuckle sets the scene for flavors ...Best BuySee Full Review$15
El Coto 2021 Viura (Rioja)Northern SpainThis wine has a bouquet of pink grapefruit and sage. Flavors of ...See Full ReviewN/A
Viña Otano 2021 Viura (Rioja)Northern SpainAromas of lemon, pineapple and orange blossom prepare the palate for flavors ...Best BuySee Full Review$13
Marqués de Murrieta 2017 Capellanía Viura (Rioja)Northern SpainLight-straw in color, this wine has aromas of lemon and white chocolate, ...Editors’ ChoiceSee Full Review$73
Cosme Palacio y Hermanos 2018 Reserva Viura (Rioja)Northern SpainThis light-yellow wine has a bouquet of Valencia orange, grapefruit and roasted ...See Full ReviewN/A
CVNE 2021 Monopole Blanco Seco Viura (Rioja)Northern SpainPale-straw to the eye, this wine has a nose of Bartlett pear ...See Full Review$16
Larchago 2018 Estate Bottled Viura (Rioja)Northern SpainAromas of peach, lemon and thyme prepare the taste buds for flavors ...See Full Review$19
Familia Chávarri 2021 Larchago Blanco Edición Fábulas Viura (Rioja)Northern SpainLight-straw colored in the glass, this wine offers scents of pineapple, grapefruit ...Best BuySee Full Review$15
Carlos Serres 2021 White (Rioja)Northern SpainAromas of green pear and lemon zest set the stage for flavors ...Best BuySee Full Review$12
Bodegas Faustino 2021 Art Collection Viura-Chardonnay (Rioja)Northern SpainThis wine has aromas of clementine and dried Mediterranean herbs. It is ...Best BuySee Full Review$12
Finca Allende 2018 Viura (Rioja)Northern SpainAromas of Gala apple and petrol set the scene for flavors of ...See Full Review$35
CVNE 2018 Cune Reserva Viura (Rioja)Northern SpainDeep straw to the eye, this wine has aromas of Bartlett pear ...See Full Review$28
Familia Chávarri 2020 Larchago Viura (Rioja)Northern SpainLight straw in color, this wine offers a nose of green apple ...Best BuySee Full Review$14
Bodegas Lozano 2018 Montes de Leza Edición Limitada Lías Viura (Rioja)Northern SpainMedium yellow in color, this wine has aromas of green apple and ...See Full Review$35
Viña Otano 2020 Viura (Rioja)Northern SpainAromas of pineapple and passion fruit prepare the palate for flavors of ...Best BuySee Full Review$13
Bodegas Faustino 2020 Art Collection Viura-Chardonnay (Rioja)Northern SpainWith a fruit-forward nose of Gala apple and pineapple, this wine has ...See Full Review$13
El Coto 2020 Blanco Viura (Rioja)Northern SpainAlmost clear in the glass, this wine has a nose of green ...See Full ReviewN/A
Bodegas Lacort 2020 Mariano J. Lacort Viura (Rioja)Northern SpainThis wine has aromas of kumquat, lemon and grapefruit zest. It has ...Best BuySee Full Review$10
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