Your Wine IQ

Marsanne


International Varieties: Chardonnay   Gewürztraminer   Muscat   Pinot Gris   Riesling   Sauvignon Blanc

Major Varieties:   Airén    Chenin Blanc    Grüner Veltliner    Müller-Thurgau    Pinot Blanc    Sémillon    Silvaner    Trebbiano    Viognier

Regional Varieties:   Albariño    Aligoté    Amigne    Arneis    Chasselas    Colombard    Cortese    Fiano    Grechetto    Grenache Blanc    Malvasia Istriana    Marsanne    Muscadelle    Muscat of Alexandria    Ortega    Palomino    Parellada    Petite Arvine    Prosecco    Rieslaner    Roussanne    Savagnin    Scheurebe    Seyval Blanc    Tocai Friulano    Torrontés    Vermentino    Welschriesling


Marsanne is one of the main white wine grapes of the French Rhône Valley. Its ripe, nutty flavor comes to perfect fruition in the cooler regions of France, but despite its finicky nature it is also planted elsewhere. The wines are spicy and are often high in alcohol. Unlike most other white wines, they become more intense and complex with age. The longer Marsanne is allowed to hang on the vine, the better aging potential the wine will have, although sweet late-harvested Marsanne is rarely of interest.

In the northern Rhône, Marsanne is best blended with similar grape Roussanne. A triumvirate of AOCs give the best examples of Marsanne: the Hermitage, Crozes-Hermitage, and Saint-Joseph. Hermitage, with its scenic slopes, is considered one of the best places for Syrah, but the small amount of white wine produced is considered world-class.

Marsanne wines can occasionally be found in the Côtes-du-Rhône. In other regions of France, Marsanne has been planted in Savoie and the Languedoc-Roussillon. The three other places that produce a lot of Marsanne are Switzerland (where it is known as Hermitage), Australia (in Victoria) and Washington.