Wine Grapes: Marsanne


Pronunciation: Mahr-Sahn

Planted in: France, Italy, Portugal, Switzerland, USA, Australia,

Flavourful and potentially very high-quality light-skinned Rhône variety with notable outposts in Australia and the US. Marsanne is a traditional variety from the Vallée du Rhône, where it was first mentioned in 1781 in a description of the white wine from Hermitage (Rézeau 1997).

Late budding and mid ripening, vigorous, fertile, and productive. Best pruned short and suited to poor, stony soils. Susceptible to powdery mildew, mites, and botrytis bunch rot. Large bunches but small berries.

Marsanne is often blended with Roussanne, and occasionally Viognier, especially in the Rhône, France, although it has effectively taken over from its blending partner Roussanne in northern Rhône appellations such as Saint-Péray, Saint-Joseph, Crozes-Hermitage, and even Hermitage. It is one of the six principal varieties permitted in white Côtes du Rhône – although, unlike its north Rhône blending partner Roussanne, Marsanne was unknown in Châteauneuf-du-Pape in the 1930s, when its rules were drawn up, so is not permitted in Châteauneuf. Alone it produces wines that are generally deep-colored, full-bodied, occasionally positively fat, and scented with only moderate acidity and flavors ranging from honeysuckle to rich almond paste via pear.


Source: Wine Grapes 
A complete guide to 1,368 vine varieties, including their origins and flavors
Jancis Robinson, Julia Harding, and Jose Vouillamouz
Published by the Penguin Group

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