Bodega Benjamin de Rothschild & Vega Sicilia | Rioja Alta
Macán is the result of a unique partnership between two great names of the wine world, Vega Sicilia and Benjamin de Rothschild. It is the culmination of a meeting that originally took place in 2003 between Pablo Álvarez and Benjamin de Rothschild. At that time Benjamin was looking for help to invest and produce wine in Spain and Pablo agreed, not to help, but to become a joint partner in a brand new venture.
The venture was christened BR&VS and the two partners chose Rioja to be its home, as both Pablo and Benjamin recognised its great (still largely untapped) potential and hugely admired many of its wines. It took more than a few years to find and buy the right vineyards, but eventually they bought 80 hectares from a remarkable 70 different owners for their two wines. In the classic style of Bordeaux, there is a “Grand Vin” (Macán) and a “Second Wine” (Macán Clásico).
This is not traditional Rioja, Macán and Macán Clásico are not blends of various terroirs but aim to express one particular terroir – that of San Vicente de la Sonsierra in Rioja Alta. Locals would say that Macán is the sort of wine Rioja used to make in the 1960s and it should not be considered “modern”, as such. Hovever, BR&VS is not following the traditional style of Rioja ageing nor using the Crianza, Reserva, and Gran Reserva scale. The pair wanted the freedom to do what they feel is best for their wines; for instance, they have decided to age the wines in more elegant Burgundian oak (rather than the more traditional American).
Both Macán wines spend 12 months in 50 percent new and 50 percent one-year-old Burgundian oak. Rather than trying to fit Macán into Rioja, winemaker Javier Ausas is looking for an individual expression, but also for Macán to fit clearly within the Vega Sicilia family of wines.