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One of the star whites of the Rhône Valley and ubiquitous throughout southern France, historically vignerons have favored Marsanne for its hardy and productive vines but it is not merely a workhorse variety. It actually produces some of the finest and most age-worthy whites available in the world today. Marsanne can make a fruity and delicious single varietal wine as well as a serious, full-bodied version with amazing aging potential. Its best examples come from the northern Rhone appellations of Hermitage, Crozes-Hermitage and St.-Joseph, where it is also blended with Roussanne. Throughout the south of France, Marsanne is often found in blends with Viognier, Rolle and even Chardonnay.
In the Glass
Marsanne has a great deal of depth and texture. Common characteristics include sweet pear, white peach, roasted nuts, white flowers and spice. When aged well it can have an attractive, silky and somewhat oily texture.
Lobster, Alaskan King Crab, grilled shrimp, any pork, chicken or veal will be delicious with Marsanne or Marsanne blends. You can also try it with cream sauces and spicy dishes!
Some of the oldest Marsanne vines in the entire world exist not in France but in Australia, in the Victoria region (in southeast Australia where the climate is relatively cool). Settlers called the grape “white Hermitage” and planted it in the mid to late 1800s.
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Tahbilk 1927 Vines Marsanne 2008Marsanne from Australia
Cave de Tain Marsanne 2016Marsanne from France
Qupe Marsanne 2017Marsanne from Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Barbara, Central Coast, California
Cave de Tain Crozes Hermitage Grand Classique Blanc 2015Marsanne from Crozes-Hermitage, Rhone, France
M. Chapoutier Saint-Joseph Blanc Les Granits 2015Marsanne from Saint-Joseph, Rhone, France
M. Chapoutier Ermitage de l'Oree Blanc (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2014Marsanne from Hermitage, Rhone, France
Cave de Tain Hermitage Blanc 2015Marsanne from Hermitage, Rhone, France
M. Chapoutier Ermitage de l'Oree Blanc 2015Marsanne from Hermitage, Rhone, France