- Rioja Alta, Rioja, Spain
Vega Sicilia and Benjamin de Rothschild began the Macán project 10 years ago with the steady acquisition of parcels in Rioja, purchased from small farmers. In this way, they quietly built up what is now a sizeable holding of 120 hectares, all within 10 km of the village of San Vicente in the Rioja Alta. (The name “Macán” is derived from a traditional name for the people of this sub-region of Rioja.) We are in prime Rioja territory here: near the foothills of Sierra Cantabria, at the northerm limit of the region's vineyards. This cooler zone produces small berries with fresh acidity, bringing structure to offset the power of the fruit.
Each year, the winery aims to produce two wines, Macán and Macán Clasico, in a tradition they took from Bordeaux, where it is standard to produce a “first” and a “second” wine; the first is made with lots that show more potential, and the second is more expressive and easy to drink when young. This is perhaps the most notable influence of the Rothschild family on the project, because otherwise all viticulture and winemaking is in the hands of the Vega Sicilia team. The style of the wines is certainly not ‘traditional’ Rioja– for example, after trials, they decided against American oak. Perhaps the term Neo-Classical is most apt, with complex mineral-infused fruit and discreet oak influences, underpinned by a fine but firm structure.