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Bodegas Benjamin Rothschild and Vega Sicilia Macan 2012

Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
  • D96
  • WE94
  • RP93
  • WS90
14% ABV
  • WS90
  • RP93
  • WS91
  • W&S91
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14% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Critical Acclaim

All Vintages
D 96
Decanter
After the 2010, this is the finest release yet from this no-expense-spared operation. Super-aromatic and dense, it’s a very ambitious wine aimed at the top end of the market. Made for the long haul, with a core of black fruits, bright acidity, stylish oak and ripe, integrated tannins.
WE 94
Wine Enthusiast
This young, massive Rioja smells of raspberry, plum, char and tar. The mouthfeel is chunky, rich and deep, with manageable tannins. Blackberry, mocha, char, clove and chocolate flavors announce generous oak, while the finish is spicy, peppery, toasty and ripe. Drink 2018–2034.
RP 93
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2012s had somehow escaped me in my previous visit to Rioja, so I took the opportunity to taste them now so there is a reference about them in the database. I also had the chance to taste the 2012 Macán in the context of the 2013 and 2014 vintages, so it's good to provide context. 2012 was a dry and healthy vintage that produced ripe grapes. I'm glad I tasted it, and I think I saw it in a very good moment of its evolution, where the oak seems better integrated, still keeping its primary flavors, with very good balance and polished tannins but already developing some complexity and nuances. 54,889 bottles, 1,689 magnums and some larger formats produced. It was bottled in June 2014.
93+ points
WS 90
Wine Spectator
Licorice and graphite notes frame black cherry and dried herb flavors in this polished red. Not exuberant, but balanced, with harmony and depth. Drink now through 2024.
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Bodegas Benjamin Rothschild and Vega Sicilia

Bodegas Benjamin Rothschild and Vega Sicilia

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Bodegas Benjamin Rothschild and Vega Sicilia , Rioja, Spain
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.

MACAN is the name chosen for the wines, derived from a traditional name for the people of this sub-region of Rioja. Each year, they aim to produce two wines, MACAN and MACAN CLASICO, "a first and a second wine following the Bordeaux tradition of classification by tasting the different lots and bottling a first wine with more potential and a second wine more expressive and easy to drink when young." This is perhaps the most notable influence of the Rothschild family on the project, because otherwise all viticulture and winemaking is in the hands of the Vega Sicilia team.

The style of the wines is certainly not ‘traditional’ Rioja – after trials, they decided against American oak – but the style is not modern “alto espreccion” either. Perhaps the term Neo-Classical is most apt, with complex mineral-infused fruit and discreet oak influences, underpinned by a fine but firm structure. These are definitely “fine wines” in the grand European tradition, and sure to generate serious media, trade and consumer interest.

Highly regarded for distinctive and age-worthy red wines, Rioja is Spain’s most celebrated wine region. Made up of three different sub-regions of varying elevation: Rioja Alta, Rioja Alavesa and Rioja Baja. Wines are typically a blend of fruit from all three, although single-zone wines are beginning to gain in popularity. Rioja Alta, at the highest elevation, is considered to be the source of the brightest, most elegant fruit, while grapes from the warmer and drier Rioja Baja produce wines with deep color and higher alcohol, which can add great body and richness to a blend.

Fresh and fruity Riojas labeled, Joven, (meaning young) see minimal aging before release, but more serious Rioja wines undergo multiple years in oak. Crianza and Reserva styles are aged around six months to one year in oak, and Gran Reserva at least two (plus three years in bottle), but in practice this maturation period is often quite a bit longer—up to about fifteen years.

Tempranillo provides the backbone of Rioja red wines, adding complex notes of red and black fruit, leather, toast and tobacco, while Garnacha supplies body. In smaller percentages, Graciano and Mazuelo (Carignan) often serve as “seasoning” with additional flavors and aromas. These same varieties are responsible for flavorful dry rosés.

White wines, typically balancing freshness with complexity, are made mostly from crisp, fresh Viura. Some whites are blends of Viura with aromatic Malvasia, and then barrel fermented and aged to make a more ample, richer style of white.

Tempranillo

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Notoriously food-friendly with soft tannins and a bright acidity, Tempranillo is the star of Spain’s Rioja and Ribera del Duero regions and important throughout most of Spain. Depending on location, it takes on a few synonyms; in Penedès, it is known as Ull de Llebre and in Valdepeñas, goes by Cencibel. Furthermore in Portugal, known as Tinta Roriz, it is a key component both in Port and the dry red wines of the Douro. The New World regions of California, Washington and Oregon have all had success with Tempranillo, producing a ripe, amicable and fruit-dominant style of red.

In the Glass

Tempranillo produces medium-weight reds with strawberry and black fruit characteristics and depending on yield, growing conditions and winemaking, can produce hints of spice, toast, leather, tobacco, herb or vanilla.

Perfect Pairings

Tempranillo’s modest, fine-grained tannins and good acidity make it extremely food friendly. Pair these with a wide variety of Spanish-inspired dishes—especially grilled lamb chops, a rich chorizo and bean stew or paella.

Sommelier Secret

The Spanish take their oak aging requirements very seriously, especially in Rioja. There, a naming system is in place to indicate how much time the wine has spent in both barrel and bottle before release. Rioja labeled Joven (a fresh and fruity style) spends a year or less in oak, whereas Gran Reserva (complex and age-worthy) must be matured for a minimum of two years in oak and three years in bottle before release. Requirements on Crianza and Reserva fall somewhere in between.

DBWDB7956_12_2012 Item# 202657