Marsanne - Printable Version

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- misterjive - 02-01-1999 10:43 PM

I would be interested to know if anyone has had good Marsanne from Australia.

- Jerry D Mead - 02-01-1999 11:31 PM

This is another grapes (not unlike Viognier) that I just do not understand the excitement about...from here, there or anywhere.

I think there are solid reasons it almost died out.

Truthfully, I'm no expert on them, but what experiences I've had failed to move me.


- Bucko - 02-01-1999 11:42 PM

Mitchelton used to make a quite nice one. I have not had one in a couple of years.


- Joe Schmoe - 02-14-1999 08:20 AM

Thomas Mitchell Marsanne 1996, lightly oaked is a remarkably good drink at the moment, with some nice limey, Semillon characters about it. This, I believe is the second label from the aforementioned Mitchelton winery .I drank this at Roscoff in Belfast.(If you want to try the best 'Pacific Rim meets Classic French' food in Great Britain, go there.)

I am however, a great fan of good Marsanne.

After all, Hermitage Blanc can be sensational, but (and its a big but), Marsanne really only shows its true colours with age. The largest planting of Marsanne in the world is in Goulburn Valley in Victoria, where Mitchelton (only set up in the seventies) and Chateau Tahbilk (one of the most picturesque and certainly one of the oldest wineries in Australia (circa 1860) do most of the growing. I believe they grow 250 ha between them of Marsanne, far out-growing what remains in the Rhone. Largely I agree with WC's comments.
However, if you buy a bottle of Tahbilk Marsanne (92/96/97 all highly recommended) you will be buying a wine made from vines a large proportion of which are well in excess of 100 years old. It is never oaked, although gives the impression that it is, through concentration, I guess. In youth, it has a slightly leesy, sea fresh lemon and apple aroma, as if it were some sort of New World Chablis (I mean this in the literal sense). With age (5 -10 years) it develops into a haunting honey, lemon and lanolin aroma rather like old Hunter Valley Semillons or White Graves. The palate goes through a similar development, starting tight and intense with glacial acidity, but turning mellow after a couple of years, but never losing its citric edge. I know they are not for everyone, as I'm sure readers of R.Parker will know, but they make for some of the most intriguing food pairings that I can remember.

There you go. I've done my bit for Marsanne. I can shut up now....


- Jason - 02-15-1999 09:21 AM

MisterJive - Marsanne is a tough one to track down indeed. The Tahbilk that was suggested is a great one, but unfortunatley it will be tough to find as the importer Donald Hess, has severed ties with his Aussie properties. To my knowledge, no one has picked it up yet.Another alternative would be Cotes du Rhone Blanc which is generally blended with Roussane but will give you a good idea. Vidal Fleury make a good version. Some folks in Cali play with these grapes (Zaca Mesa?) but I have never tried them.

- MoreWines - 02-15-1999 09:57 PM

Concannon in the Livermore Valley, Ca, USA produces a Marsanne.

- Bucko - 02-15-1999 10:00 PM

I had a Marsanne/ Viognier 40/60% mixture from France tonight that was pleasing - need to go find the bottle if anyone is interested.


- Karena Shannon - 02-16-1999 10:13 PM

I don't have any experience with Aussie Marsanne, and my very limited experiences with Wht Hermitage have not been good, but I can wholeheartedly recommend some US producers of Marsanne. I agree with Jancis Robinson's take that the wines do give off a "glue-like" character; this doesn't bug me, but it might bug you. Some tasty US producers that make a varietally labelled Marsanne include Qupe (have had an excellent '89 and '93 from them) and Preston (his '96 was very good) Most other U.S. Rhone Rangers blend the stuff with Roussanne, a la White Hermitage and CdP.

Hey, at least the stuff doesn't taste like Chardonnay :-)

- misterjive - 02-17-1999 02:53 AM

Appropriately, given the names, one Joseph (Robert) halfway agrees with another (Scmoe) and writes, "Marsanne can make wines which are wonderfully flowery in their youth, and nutty, lemony, and rich after a decade or so--but very dull in between."

Karena's response (at least . . . not a chard) strikes a chord, somehow.

The overall response to my inquiry is impressive and most appreciated. I believe the response speaks to a desire among the wine community to seek out more idiosyncratic varietals (whatever that means).

Again, thanks for the tips....