Spain’s “Greatest Wine” and the Lafite Family
When the legendary Vega Sicilia and a scion from the Lafite-Rothschild family team up for a new project, you pay attention. Robert Parker has called Vega Sicilia nothing less than Spain’s “Greatest Wine.” Lafite-Rothschild, meanwhile, has been a global benchmark for quality fine wine for centuries, racking up five perfect 100-point scores from Parker, to say nothing of the many, many high 90s. Since 2003, the families have united to bring their nearly five centuries of collective winemaking experience to bear on a very specially curated slice of Rioja’s terroir. Best of all, while bottle prices for Lafite-Rothschild and Vega Sicilia’s top reds run well into the four-figure range, this collaboration is much more affordable. Drawing upon both of their proud legacies, the 2013 Macán Rioja produced by Vega Sicilia winemaker Javier Ausas,, earned 93 points from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate. Just $85 per bottle and only 20 cases for the United States. They will go quick.
When Benjamin de Rothschild and Pablo Alvarez were venturing into the vaunted Rioja Alta subregion, two criteria informed their careful composition of what has grown into a 300-acre estate. They looked for and found mature vineyards, with this Macán resulting from vines an average of 40-50 years old, with some blocks as old as 80 years. And they also selected for high percentages of calcareous clay (chalk), which infuses the wines with a particular, racy elegance, even in a climate as warm as Rioja, crucial to Vega’s particular style of Tempranillo.
Javier Ausas, technical director for Vega Sicilia since 1998, crafted the 2013 Macán with his characteristically deft touch. Neither ultra-rustic and old school (like López de Heredia, La Rioja Alta) nor flashy new-wave (like Torre Muga, Remírez de Ganuza), the Macán house style is one of impeccable balance, elegance, and longevity. The completion of the new estate’s winery means Ausas has been able to ferment and age all the wines on a plot-by-plot basis, ensuring only the highest quality wines go into the finished product.