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Marsannay


Wine By Region Right Europe Right France Right Burgundy Right Côte de Nuits Right Marsannay


The most northerly appellation in the Côte d'Or, Marsannay encompasses three villages almost to Dijon, the northern regional center of Burgundy. The main one, from which the appellation takes its name, is Marsannay-la-Côte, but the vineyards are also sourced from Couchey and Chenôve. The villages encompass 12.72 square miles, of which about 560 acres is used to make wine. There are no Premier or Grand Cru terroirs here. The vineyards yield about 100,000 cases of wine each year, most of which is red.

The red wines, which are dry and sometimes austere but often ripe and ageworthy, are a rare good value in Burgundy. Whites are fairly undistinguished and uncommon. The rosé wine actually gives the village most of its fame; in fact, Marsannay is the only Côte d'Or appellation allowed to make rosé. Almost entirely made from Pinot Noir, it is rarely serious but can be inexpensive and enjoyable. None of these wines can be expected to have the same complexity or depth as any of the top Côte de Nuits villages, but offer a way to get similar style for much less money.

History

Created in 1987, the AOC did not rule out rosé wine. It is made from Pinot Noir; Pinot Gris is allowed to be blended in but this rarely occurs. The red wines can include Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris, while the whites can also include Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris (although they must be made from a majority of Chardonnay.) Marsannay is effectively a newcomer, among villages that were granted status as early as 1936, but it has quickly made a name for itself in the less exclusive part of the Burgundy market.

Climate and Viticulture

Marsannay has typical Côte de Nuits soil, with limestone, granite, and clay making up a large part of the vineyards. Certain parts of the vineyards are sloped, but few have enough soil concentration to make for truly great wine; as a result, the appellation does not contain any Premiers Crus or Grands Crus. Part of the reason could be the slightly cooler climate, which perhaps makes wines of an overly lean and dry style in some bad scenarios. However, this tends to favor rosé production.

Grape Varieties

Major Producers

Red wine from Pinot Noir is the primary wine in Marsannay, despite the village's reputation for its rosé, and as such the overwhelming majority of wines with a very good pedigree here are red. They are monopolized by three main producers; intriguingly, none of these are négociants. Since there are no Premiers Crus, producers take on a more important role here than in other villages.

Rosés generally have a good pedigree, as they make a good quaffing wine, but there are at least two clear leaders that make truly quality-oriented rosé from their Marsannay vineyards.

For white wines, the Château de Marsannay is one of the best, making Chardonnay of a good pedigree, although it can be overpriced.

Subregions

The AOC board never found any of Marsannay's vineyards to be worthy of Premier Cru or Grand Cru status. However, there is one lieu-dit that offers great wines made by both Domaine Bruno Clair and Domaine Denis Mortet. This is "Les Longeroies"—considering the wines that are being made there, the authorities should probably consider bumping it to Premier Cru.