Maccabeau is also known as Macabeo or Viura in Spain and has become popular in France’s Languedoc Roussillon area. It's widely used in the making of White Rioja and in Cava. The Spanish name suggests a possible, mysterious connection with the Old Testament heroes Judah Macabee and his brothers, but it's thought that the grape originated in Spain and spread to France over the Pyrenees.
Maccabeau makes a crisp, white wine with fragrant floral aromas, not overly high in acid, with flavours of citrus, apples, pineapples, almonds and blossom. It thrives in hot and dry climates and is the most popular white grape in Northern Spain. Not much has been written about this wonderful grape variety probably because of the confusion surrounding its name. I can’t think of any grape that is known by 3 different titles – do you? I hope next time you see Maccabeau, Macabeo or Viura on a bottle you will be less confused and surprise your friends with you knowledge of this humble grape.
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