The worst-kept secret in European wine circles for the last 2 years has been Vega Sicilia’s expansion into Rioja. Vega Sicilia and Benjamin de Rothschild began the project 10 years ago, with the discreet but steady acquisition of multiple vineyard plots from smallholder 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. In the true style of Vega Sicilia, their purchases concentrated on the very best ‘terroir’, with stony calcareous clay soils, complex warm and cool mesoclimatic influences, and deep-rooted Tempranillo vines of 25 to 80 years in age.
I have the second wine in their collaboration with the Rothschild family as both wanted to expand into Rioja and combined their knowledge and resources to attempt to make the best Rioja on the planet. This 2018 ‘Macan Classico’ was particularly successful, garnering 97 points from Wine Enthusiast, who called it a: “dark garnet-colored wine has a nose of black currant, raspberry and milk chocolate. Deep fruit flavors of cassis and dark plums fill the mouth, joined by notes of cocoa powder, tobacco leaf and espresso bean.” Parker’s Wine Advocate echoed the sentiment chiming in with their own 94-point review in which they called it, “one of the finest vintages for this wine; it is round and nicely textured.”
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97 Points, Wine Enthusiast
This dark garnet-colored wine has a nose of black currant, raspberry and milk chocolate. Deep fruit flavors of cassis and dark plums fill the mouth, joined by notes of cocoa powder, tobacco leaf and espresso bean. Fleecy tannins dissipate into a lingering, fruit-filled finish. Drink now
94 Points, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate
Their second wine in the Bordeaux sense is the 2018 Macán Clásico, which in the cooler and late year (they picked between October 2nd and 14th) fermented in stainless steel and matured in 50% new French oak barrels, 10% American oak barrel and 40% used ones for 12 months. The wine has moderate ripeness and alcohol (14%) in a fresher, subtler and more elegant year with good freshness (a pH of 3.75) and balance. It’s young and creamy, a baby that will improve as it burns down that fat. Separating the press wine by quality and aging it separately seems to have increased the precision. It has to be one of the finest vintages for this wine; it is round and nicely textured.
94 Points, James Suckling
Aromas of blackberries and crushed stones with some black licorice and violets, following through to a medium body with a solid core of fruit and such attractive fruit and fine tannins at the finish. Really attractive now.
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