The grape is mostly used to make mildly acidic and young white wines mostly suitable for early consumption or blending with other varieties, both red and white. It is often the main grape of white Rioja and is sometimes blended in small amounts with Tempranillo and red Garnacha, both in unoaked and oaked versions. It was introduced in Rioja after the phylloxera epidemic, where it largely replaced Malvasia and Garnacha blanca, partially because of the ability of its wines to better withstand oxidation. Some producers of white Rioja make superior wines (Reserva and Gran Reserva) subjected to extended ageing that can span decades, resulting in a highly distinctive and aromatic wine.
Macabeo (or Macabeu as it is known in Catalan) is traditionally blended with Xarel·lo and Parellada to make Cava, the best known sparkling wine of Spain. It is also used in the base spirit used to create Obsello Absinthe.
In Roussillon, late picked Macabeo is also used in fortified wine (vin doux naturel).