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.
CVNE 2017 Monopole Clásico Viura (Rioja)Northern SpainAromas of lightly oxidized white fruit open this white Rioja. A full ...See Full Review$30
Finca Allende 2017 Martires Single Vineyard Viura (Rioja)Northern SpainHeavy oak on the nose means aromas of vanilla, fino Sherry and ...See Full Review$260
Finca Allende 2018 Martires Single Vineyard Estate Bottled Viura (Rioja)Northern SpainSmoky oak is the lead aroma on this single-vineyard barrel-fermented white Rioja. ...See Full Review$260
Familia Chávarri 2018 Izarbe Nuestra Seleccion Especial Viura (Rioja)Northern SpainOxidation, heavy oak and funky, fermented white fruit aromas create a nose ...See Full Review$75
Bodegas Muriel 2018 Fincas de la Villa Blanco Viura (Rioja)Northern SpainLight, stony white-fruit aromas lead to a medium-bodied palate, with mild citric ...Best BuySee Full Review$12
Cofrade 2018 Viura-Sauvignon Blanc (Rioja)Northern SpainThis yellow-tinted blend of Viura and Sauvignon Blanc opens with apple and ...Best BuySee Full Review$12
Bodegas Paniza 2018 Viura (Cariñena)Northern SpainMild apple and white-fruit aromas are fresh except for a hint of ...Best BuySee Full Review$9
Baigorri 2017 Blanco Fermentado En Barrica Viura (Rioja)Northern SpainChemical aromas of paint and paint thinner lead this barrel-fermented Viura. An ...See Full Review$30
Bodegas Faustino 2018 VII Viura (Rioja)Northern SpainGeneric white fruit aromas suggest green melon and apple, while this feels ...See Full Review$12
Larchago 2018 Viura (Rioja)Northern SpainSharp, prickly aromas are driven by pyrazines, while this feels like it ...See Full Review$14
Ochoa 2018 Calendas White (Navarra)Northern SpainA tan color and stale, briny aromas get this Chardonnay-Viura blend off ...See Full Review$15
Alonso López 2018 Malvasia-Viura (Rioja)Northern SpainMild white-fruit aromas are clean, common and positive. A plump melony palate ...See Full ReviewN/A
Bodegas Paniza 2017 Campil Blanco Viura-Chardonnay (Cariñena)Northern SpainTerpenes and petrol control the nose on this gritty smelling Viura-led blend. ...See Full Review$10
El Coto 2018 Blanco Viura (Rioja)Northern SpainCitrus and tropical fruit aromas are fit and normal for this variety, ...Best BuySee Full Review$11
Latitud 42 2017 Viura (Rioja)Northern SpainA tan tint and aromas of spiced apple and oak announce a ...Best BuySee Full Review$10
Carlos Serres 2018 White (Rioja)Northern SpainGeneric white-fruit aromas are clean in front of a citrusy palate, with ...Best BuySee Full Review$11
Marqués de Cáceres 2018 Excellens Viura (Rioja)Northern SpainA translucent color is backed by simple but clean aromas of wet ...See Full Review$15
Viñedos de Alfaro 2018 Real Agrado Viura (Rioja)Northern SpainA light color and stony aromas of minerals and green citrus foretell ...See Full Review$15
Palma Real 2018 Verdejo-Viura (Rueda)Northern SpainBriny citrus aromas are a bit sweaty and pyrazinic. This 50–50 blend ...See Full Review$13
Luis Saenz 2017 Viura (Rioja)Northern SpainPeach and nectarine aromas are simple and yeasty. Standard melony flavors rank ...See Full Review$10