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Marsanne is a white wine grape, most commonly found in the Northern Rhône region. It is often blended with Roussanne. In Savoie the grape is known as grosse roussette. Outside France it is also grown in Switzerland (where it is known as ermitage blanc or just ermitage), Spain (where it is known as Marsana), Australia and the United States.

Tastes and Flavours

Marsanne produces deeply colored wines that are rich and nutty, with hints of spice and pear. Often Australian Marsanne has aromas of melon, honeysuckle and sometimes glue. The wines can be high in alcohol and can be oak aged to develop more body. As Marsanne ages, the wine takes on an even darker color and the flavors can become more complex and concentrated with an oily, honeyed texture. Aromas of nuts and quince can also develop.

Wine and Food Matches

Most Marsanne is designed to be drunk young, and as a result is equally good with and without food. It pairs particularly well with chicken, lobster, pork, smoked trout, pâté, risotto, braised endive, fennel, curry, rich cheese. It can also taste fantastic with some buttery and cheesy sauces. But beware chilli lovers, the high alcohol content in Marsanne,  means that spices and chilli should be used sparingly, unless you a rather unpleasant taste.

Australian Wine Regions

In Australia, the grape was first planted in Victoria in the 1860s. The Victorian vineyard of Tahbilk has Marsanne vines which date back to 1927 and are some of the oldest in the world.

Notable Wines

  • All Saints Victoria Marasanne
  • Cranswick Estate Nine Pines Marsanne
  • Mitchelton Goulburn Valley Reserve Marsanne
  • Tahblik Goulburn Valley Marsanne

*Sources used include various information sites online, Grapes & Wines - Oz Clarke & Margaret Rand, James Halliday’s Australian Wine CompanionVinum Vitae’s Essential Wine Tasting Guide & Le Nez Du Vin.