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Rothschild Vega Sicilia Macan Rioja 2018 £78.21
Rothschild Vega Sicilia Macan Rioja
Macán is a modern and very personal take on the premium quality signature wines of the Rioja DOCa region. It is a commitment to finesse, elegance, complexity, and potency. It is also the standard bearer for Bodegas Benjamin de Rothschild & Vega Sicilia, the project launched by Tempos Vega Sicilia and Compagnie Vinicole Baron Edmond de Rothschild in 2004
Macán is made only from grapes of the Tempranillo variety. The grapes come from a meticulous selection of mature plots found on high terraces with poorly developed gravelly, calcareous clay soils.
The 2017 vintage definitely posed a challenge given the frost on 28 April. We had to adapt, from the configuration of the tanks to being particularly careful with extraction during fermentation, and lastly during pressing operations, whereby we kept them separate and refined them prior to blending in June. The foudre played a very important role in refining the tannin’s texture during ageing and the barrel enabled us to work on the sweetness, using 50 % new barrels.
Macán 2017, a challenging vintage that we are proud of. It is a wine with character, freshness, and depth.
The winter of 2017 was mild and moderately dry. December and January were both cooler and more inclement, but the second half of February saw high temperatures (almost spring-like). 2017 will always be known for the late frosts that affected crops across the northern half of Spain. The BR-VS plots in particular received a light frost in San Vicente de la Sonsierra on 20 April. The advection frost on 28 April (a cold snap from northern Europe) was more serious, affecting areas of the vineyard. Intermittent rainfall and good temperatures during the spring months helped speed up the vineyard’s growing cycle to some extent. Rainfall increased again in June, with over 70 litres per square metre. July saw storms with some hail damage, although the good wind and temperature conditions over the next few days meant that the damage and impacts healed correctly and quickly. Subsequent precipitation in late August and early September helped to mitigate water scarcity in the medium and deep radicular areas. The rainfall during those months favoured both plant growth and the normal development of the grape’s ripening process. Harvesting was normal, running from 15 to 27 September, with good weather conditions.
93 Points Robert Parker
2017 was a very challenging year, as most of their vineyards in San Vicente de la Sonsierra in Rioja were affected by frost, unlike others in nearby Laguardia. Not only was it frost, but they also had hail later on in the season. Quantities suffered—they told me they lost 70% of the crop in Rioja that year—but they were happy about the quality of the 2017 Macán, being very careful with the fermentation and separating the press wine by quality. The 4,000-liter oak foudres helped to polish the tannins, and they used 50% new barrels. The élevage lasted 16 moths. It's a little riper than the Clásico from 2018 that I tasted next to it, with a little more alcohol (14.5%) and mellow acidity. It's clearly a weaker vintage, and the wine shows it: the fruit is a little ripe and shows some tiredness, like it's evolving at a faster pace. It has abundant, slightly rustic tannins. 40,400 bottles, 2,566 magnums and some larger formats produced. It was bottled in September 2019. Quantities reflect the low yields