30 Second Wine Advisor:
Today's Sponsor
 Garr Series Wine Club
Seeking your opinion: Would you like a wine club featuring my top review selections?

In This Issue
 Hiding in plain sight The Spanish grape Macabeo may sound obscure, but there's a good chance you've had a taste without even knowing it.
 Legado Muñoz 2005 Vino de la Tierra de Castilla Macabeo ($11)
Simple but appealing, a medium-bodied, fragrant table wine from an unfamiliar Spanish grape.
 Garr Series Wine Club Seeking your opinion: Would you like a wine club featuring my top review selections?
Administrivia Change E-mail address, frequency, format or unsubscribe.

 Learn about our RSS Feed

Hiding in plain sight

Let's wrap up the work week with another of our frequent trips down the wine world's less familiar paths, taking a quick look at the Spanish grape Macabeo.

Macabeo ("Mah-cah-BAY-oh") may be one of the most widely planted white grapes that you've never heard of. It's popular across a wide swath of northern Spain, and it spills over to the French side of the Pyrenees with the soundalike synonyms Maccabeu and Maccabeo Alcanol. It's also grown in Rioja under the alternative moniker Viura ("Vee-OO-dah").

Macabeo, along with the similarly unfamiliar grapes Xarel-lo and Parellada, is a major player in cava, the inexpensive, good-value Spanish sparkling wine that's popular around the world. If you've ever enjoyed a fizzy cava, you've probably tasted Macabeo without realizing that you were doing so.

Macabeo makes a crisp, white wine with fragrant floral aromas, not overly high in acid, a description that encourages wine makers to blend it with other grapes to achieve a more balanced flavor profile.

The Spanish name suggests a possible, mysterious connection with the Old Testament heroes Judah Macabee and his brothers, but I've been able to dig up anything definitive about its etymology. If any of you have information on this, I'd love to hear it and hope you'll post the information on our WineLovers Discussion Group or send me E-mail.

Today's featured wine is the first varietally labeled Macabeo I've seen at retail. It's made by the Spanish producer Legado Muñoz in the Tierra de Castilla region of central Spain, near Madrid. It's an interesting wine at a fair price, a good addition to your "life list" if you enjoy collecting odd varieties as much as I do.

Macabeo Legado Muñoz 2005 Vino de la Tierra de Castilla Macabeo ($11)

Clear light gold; a clear-glass bottle shows off its color on the shelf. Pear and melon aromas, fresh white fruit, lead into a mouth-filling, medium-bodied flavor, dry and tart, with white fruit flavors that follow the nose; crisp lemon-lime persists in a long finish. Simple but appealing, a nicely balanced table wine. According to the importer's spec sheet, there's 10% Riesling in the blend. U.S. importer: Quality Wines of Spain, NYC. (Oct. 15, 2006)

FOOD MATCH: It made a fine match with, and ingredient in, linguine with white clam sauce.

VALUE: Hard to beat as a white-wine value at this price point just over $10.

WHEN TO DRINK: I can't claim much experience with Macabeo, but the conventional wisdom suggests that it's not made for aging, and in my experience, the Cavas in particular don't last. Drink over the next year.

Here's a link to an importer page with information about Legado Muñoz plus further links to the Macabeo and other wines.

Compare prices and find vendors for the wines of Legado Muñoz on Wine-Searcher.com:

Garr Series
Seeking your opinion: Would you like a wine club featuring my top review selections?

One of the most difficult things about writing about wine for a wide audience is that wines aren't distributed equally, and all too often I get frustrated E-mail notes from folks who really want to try a wine I liked but can't find it.

Here's an exciting idea from my longtime friends and associates at The California Wine Club. They've come up with a creative way to make it easy for you to have my top wine recommendations delivered right to your doorstep, and I'd like very much to hear your comments, thoughts and opinions.

The idea is as simple as it is innovative: On a regular basis - perhaps monthly, bimonthly or quarterly, depending on demand - the club's Bruce and Pam Boring would work with me to choose selected hard-to-find wines that I really enjoyed. They would make these wines available to "Garr Series" club members as they do with members of the regular California Wine Club and its Signature Series, Connoisseurs' Series and International Selections.

These selections will usually be selected from a slightly higher-cost "special occasion" range, where quality-price ratio becomes increasingly important. I anticipate that a typical two-wine selection will run $50 to $75 including all shipping and costs; this is the range in which value becomes important and good advice essential.

We'd like to make a decision about launching this club before the holidays, but I need your advice, so I hope as many of you as possible will answer the following questions. You can simply hit REPLY and type your answers right on this page (you can delete the rest of the Wine Advisor, or not, as you wish) and send it back to me. Responding requires no commitment on your part, although I'll assume that your response implies consent for me - and California Wine Club - to write you back with specific, responsive comments, not "spam."

1) Would you be interested in joining a Garr Series Wine Club?


2) Would you prefer international wines, domestic wines or a mixture of both?


3) Would you prefer red only, white only or a mix of both?


4) How often would you like shipments? Monthly, every other month, quarterly?


5) What specific club benefits would you like to receive from a Garr Series Wine Club?


Return this completed survey with the information below, and we'll select a few random respondents to receive an attractive wine-related prize.

Your name:




To read and comment on today's column in our non-commercial WineLovers Discussion Group, click:

Today's article is cross-posted in our Netscape WineLovers Community, where we also welcome comments and questions.

To contact me by E-mail, write wine@wineloverspage.com. I'll respond personally to the extent that time and volume permit.

Here's a simply formatted copy of today's Wine Advisor, designed to be printed out for your scrapbook or file or downloaded to your PDA or other wireless device.


To subscribe or unsubscribe from The 30 Second Wine Advisor, change your E-mail address, or for any other administrative matters, please use the individualized hotlink found at the end of your E-mail edition. If this is not practical, contact me by E-mail at wine@wineloverspage.com, including the exact E-mail address that you used when you subscribed, so I can find your record.

We do not use our E-mail list for any other purpose and will never give or sell your name or E-mail address to anyone. I welcome feedback, suggestions, and ideas for future columns. To contact me, please send E-mail to wine@wineloverspage.com

All the wine-tasting reports posted here are consumer-oriented. In order to maintain objectivity and avoid conflicts of interest, I purchase all the wines I rate at my own expense in retail stores and accept no samples, gifts or other gratuities from the wine industry.

Friday, Oct. 27, 2006
Copyright 2006 by Robin Garr. All rights reserved.

Subscribe to the 30 Second Wine Advisor

Wine Advisor archives