Like its Rhône counterpart Roussanne, Marsanne is a hard grape to get right. Extremes of temperature are its main enemies, though it is also susceptible to several common vine diseases. However, winemakers persevere - because the results from a good harvest are simply delicious.
Marsanne's traditional heartland is in and around Hermitage, and it is one of the principal varieties in white Châteauneuf-du-Pape. It has also taken very well to vineyards in Australia, where it arrived in the Yarra Valley via the Swiss retinue of the first Governor of Victoria. Aussie Marsanne often possesses greater citric fruit than its French cousins, with a honeysuckle flavour reminiscent of Viognier.
Marsanne wines take well to oak, which results in some very long-lived wines. As time goes by, these wines take on a dark, honeyed color and viscous texture, and gain strong nut and quince flavors.
Pronounced pear, melon and nut flavors. With age, hints of honey, spice and butter.
Wines to Try
Château de Beaucastel Blanc, Chapoutier Chante Aloutte, Peche de Calade
Northern Rhône, Languedoc, Victoria
Grosse Roussette, Marsana
- Though famous for its wonderful white wines, a very small amount of Cassis liqueurs are made using Marsanne.
- In Australia, the famed Tahbilk vineyard has Marsanne vines which date back to 1927.