Macabeo variety is original from the Penedés appellation in Cataluña. Its clusters are big and packed with middle-sized grapes of thick skin. It has late budding and ripening. Its productive sprouts might be damaged by the wind. Macabeo doesn't acclimate well to cool and humid areas. It is very sensitive to botrytis cinerea and the ring rot, but it endures better the downy mildew. Macabeo vineyards have high performance and an early harvest is recommended.
In France, Macabeo variety is far less cultivated than in Spain, but it has win some respect over the past few years, particularly in Roussillon, where it is blended with Garnacha Blanca for oak-fermented wines.
Macabeo variety prevails in Cataluña, Castilla La Mancha and Aragón, though it is also present in La Rioja, Valencia and Extremadura. Its success in Cataluña is due, basically, to the rol played in Cava wines, where it is blended with Parellada and Xarel.lo. In La Rioja, Macabeo replaced Malvasía Riojana and Garnacha Blanca after the phylloxera pest. Even though many producers have not much respected this variety, they have obtained good productions, and there are a few excellent barrel aged white wines such as Viña Tondonia Blanco and Marqués de Murrieta Capellanía, elaborated with Macabeo.
Macabeo wines are slightly floral and fairly aromatic when young, but acidity is usually low and they can lose the aroma soon and develop some bitter almond taste. Despite this, if a short pruning is done and the output is low, interesting oak fermented wines can be obtained with style that range from oxidation to modern wines as Finca Allende, who make a Macabeo wine with good ageing potential. Other recommended wineries in La Rioja are: Beronia, Palacios Remondo, Remírez de Ganuza and Benjamín Romeo.