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Marsanne White Wine: A Handy Guide (10 Great Wines 2021)

By
Anthony Zhang
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April 29, 2021

One of France’s most popular white wine grapes, Marsanne has also attracted a huge following in the US, Australia, and Europe. While traditional Marsanne white wine is dry with earthy notes, winemakers have experimented with exotic blends creating delectable styles packed with fruit and nut aromas. 

It reaches it’s best expression in the Hermitage wine region of France where it is blended to craft elegant whites.

So, what are the different styles of Marsanne wine? Which bottles of this elegant wine should you buy?

Let’s find out more about Marsanne wine, including its history, taste, and the best bottles to buy in 2021. We’ll also show you the easiest way to buy the finest wines.

Further reading:

Calling all wine collectors! Discover investment-grade wines with the help of this Guide To Wine Investing.
Enter the magical realm of exquisite French wine starting with these Château Mouton Rothschild and Guigal wines.

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Marsanne Wine: A Quick Overview

Marsanne Wine: A Quick Overview

This white wine grape variety is believed to have originated in Cotes du Rhone of the Northern Rhône region in France. 

Marsanne wine is sometimes considered a perfect Chardonnay substitute. Though of good weight and structure, the grape is seldom used to make single varietal wines. This is attributed in part to its faint flavor and perfume.

The grape is an excellent blending companion to Roussanne, Viognier and Grenache Blanc. 

In France, Marsanne is often blended with its more aromatic cousin Roussanne, while internationally, its favored companion is Viognier. This Northern Rhône valley wine is also one of the components permitted in Châteauneuf-du-Pape wines. Celebrated Rhone wines like the Hermitage whites are Marsanne blends as well. 

Some of the renowned winemakers that make Marsanne wine include:

  • M. Chapoutier
  • Denis Mercier
  • E. Guigal
  • Jean-Louis Chave
  • John Duval 
  • Tablas Creek
  • JC Cellars Qupé
  • Sine Qua Non
  • Tahbilk

Now, let’s dive into the history of Marsanne.

A Brief History Of Marsanne

A Brief History Of Marsanne

Marsanne blends from the Hermitage appellation became quite popular in the 17th century.      

In 1860, Marsanne arrived in Australia and quickly became a widely grown white wine grape variety across the country. The Tahbilk Marsanne vines are some of the oldest in Australia. 

The advent of Marsanne plantations in the United States began in the 1980s with the Rhone Ranger movement. The oldest Marsanne vineyards are in Paso Robles and the Central Coast in California. The notable California Marsanne winemaker Tablas Creek had a pivotal role in promoting the Rhone blends in the United States.

Besides Marsanne, other Rhone varietals such as Roussanne, Syrah, and Viognier also became popular in the US in later years. 

Cultivation of Marsanne in the Northern Rhone region has accelerated in the last 50 years as growers have begun to substitute Roussanne plantings with it. 

Interestingly, it has only recently gained popularity in the southern Rhône region. 

Now let’s look at all the major regions where the world’s Marsanne vines grow today.


Where is Marsanne Grown?

Where is Marsanne Grown?

89% of the world’s Marsanne plantings is in France with a total of 3665 acres of vineyard lands.

Even though it is native to the Northern Rhone valley in Cotes du Rhone, it is also found in the Languedoc and Savoie wine regions of France. 

In the surrounding areas with cooler climates, the grape is used for still and sparkling wine. Some of these appellations include:

  • Hermitage
  • Crozes-Hermitage
  • Saint-Joseph
  • Saint-Péray

Other varieties like the California Marsanne are also popular. The important Marsanne regions outside France are: 

  • Canada: British Columbia
  • United States: California (Central Coast and Paso Robles), Washington state, New Jersey, and Michigan 
  • Australia: Barossa valley and Victoria 
  • New Zealand: North Island 
  • Switzerland: Valais 
  • Spain: Northeast region

Let’s take a closer look at the nature of this white grape variety.

Marsanne Viticulture

Marsanne Viticulture

Marsanne grapes are small in size and grow in loose bunches. The vines thrive in cooler climates with sparse rainfall. Excessive humidity may cause Marsanne vines to develop mildew while hot summers can lead to a loss of acidity and a muted flavour in the grapes. 

The Northern Rhone Valley vineyard soils are a mixture of clay, granite, chalk, and limestone 

Marsanne vines have great longevity and are high-yielding in their youth. Once the berries reach ripeness, they turn brownish gold in color. The picking time is crucial as overripe grapes are known to have low acidity.

So what does the wine taste like?

Marsanne Wine Taste and Food Pairings

Marsanne Wine Taste and Food Pairings

The wine has crisp acidity and primary flavors of honeysuckle, quince, and melon. When blended, it develops a fuller body with notes of pear, roasted nuts, and spice. The white Rhone blends are usually aged in oak barrels to lend them more body.

At the Californian winery Tablas Creek, Marsanne grapes are fermented in stainless steel tanks to enhance the wine’s minerality. 

A young Marsanne sweet wine has delicious fruity and floral flavors. The older vintages tend to develop honey and caramel tasting notes. The alcohol by volume (ABV) is in the range of 13.5 to 15%. 

To enhance the wine’s flavors, serve it slightly chilled at 7-12°C. 

Marsanne is an excellent complement to rich seafood dishes like lobster, crab, salmon, and shrimp which highlight the citrusy notes of the Marsanne grapes. It also pairs well with cream sauces, spicy dishes, and cheese platters.

Do Marsanne Wines Age Well?

Do Marsanne Wines Age Well?

Marsanne and Marsanne-Roussanne blend wines are known to age well. They usually reach their peak maturity 10 years after the vintage. The White Hermitage blend is an exception and can age in your cellar for over 20 years.

The younger vintages have a pale yellow color while the older ones acquire dark golden hues. 

Now, here are the best Marsanne wines you can buy this year.

Best Marsanne Wines to Buy in 2021 (Including Prices, Tasting Notes)

Some of our favorites are:

1. Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage ‘Vin de Paille’, 1990 

Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage ‘Vin de Paille’, 1990

Coppery orange in color, this sweet wine has notes of apricot, tangerine, flowers, and honeysuckle. This Hermitage wine has hints of roasted nuts offset the tropical fruit flavor. 

This sweet but balanced wine improves as it sits in the glass for some time.

Price of  Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage ‘Vin de Paille’, 1990: $1,315

2. M. Chapoutier Ermitage 'L'Ermite Blanc', 2016 

M. Chapoutier Ermitage 'L'Ermite Blanc', 2016

This young vintage has a brilliant yellowish straw hue. The gentle aroma reveals complex notes of vanilla, dried fruits, almonds, and linden tree. The palate has a subtle flavour of melon, white peach, and apricot.

This vintage has a well-rounded elegant balance and a gorgeously long finish.

Price of  M. Chapoutier Ermitage ‘L’Ermite Blanc’, 2016: $808

3. M. Chapoutier Ermitage ‘Vin de Paille’, 2010 

M. Chapoutier Ermitage ‘Vin de Paille’, 2010

This blend has an exuberant, bright gold color. The wine has pear, peach, and honey aromas, accompanied by a palate of anise, ginger, and nutmeg. 

It projects excellent depth and clarity, with a note of orange peel at the back-end. 

Price of  M. Chapoutier Ermitage ‘Vin de Paille’, 2010: $539

4. E. Guigal Ermitage ‘Ex-Voto Blanc’, 2009 

E. Guigal Ermitage ‘Ex-Voto Blanc’, 2009

The Ex-Voto Blanc is a stellar white Hermitage blend. This is a true specimen of richness and intensity married to buttery tropical fruit with hints of spice, oak, honeysuckle, spring flowers, and orange marmalade. 

The wine has a greenish hue, unique to this vintage.

Price of  E. Guigal Ermitage ‘Ex-Voto Blanc’, 2009: $420

5. M. Chapoutier Ermitage ‘de l'Oree Blanc’, 2017 

M. Chapoutier Ermitage ‘de l'Oree Blanc’, 2017

The exceptional Ermitage ‘de l’Oree Blanc’ combines aromas of struck flint with honey, pear, and baking spices. It is a full-bodied but balanced Marsanne with layered fruit flavors. This blend will reach its peak maturity after aging for a couple of decades.

Price of  M. Chapoutier Ermitage ‘de l’Oree Blanc’, 2017: $400

6. M. Chapoutier Ermitage ‘Le Meal Blanc’, 2010 

M. Chapoutier Ermitage ‘Le Meal Blanc’, 2010

The 2010 Ermitage le Meal Blanc is a concentrated and thrilling white. It is an elegant combination of crème caramel, caramelized peach, crushed rock, and smoke. 

Unlike other vintages, it offers a surprising medley of fruit and nut flavors. This exquisite Ermitage has crisp acidity and longevity of over 50 years.

Price of  M. Chapoutier Ermitage ‘Le Meal Blanc’, 2010: $349

7. M. Chapoutier Hermitage ‘Chante-Alouette’, 2015 

M. Chapoutier Hermitage ‘Chante-Alouette’, 2015

The appearance of brilliant green gold in the bottle makes this an attractive vintage. On the nose, it has a subtle but complex aroma of quince and honey with a hint of ginger.

This Marsanne wine has a final note of almond with a good lengthy finish.

Price of  M. Chapoutier Hermitage ‘Chante-Alouette’, 2015: $126

8. Domaine du Colombier Hermitage Blanc, 2007

Domaine du Colombier Hermitage Blanc, 2007

This golden-hued vintage has a distinct peppermint note over yellow peach, quince, crystal fruit, and nut flavors. Once brought to room temperature, floral, honeysuckle notes emerge from the wine. Secondary flavors include hints of mandarin with honey and almond notes.

Price of  Domaine du Colombier Hermitage Blanc, 2007 ($100)

Surely, Marsanne wines are a great accompaniment to your dinner and some of them can age beautifully in your cellar.

Now, if you’re searching for collectible vintages that can bring you attractive returns, be prepared to scour through endless wine websites, critics’ reviews, tasting notes, and so on. Besides that, you’ll have to handle the shipping and storage woes yourself!

So is there an easier way to add some of the finest wines in the world to your wine portfolio?

Vinovest is the answer to your quest!

Here’s why:

How to Buy Fine Collectible Wines Through Vinovest 

How to Buy Fine Collectible Wines Through Vinovest

Vinovest is a wine investment firm that buys, sells, authenticates, and stores investment-grade wine bottles for you. You can also access your wine online or in real life anytime, hassle-free.

How it Works 

Getting started with Vinovest is pretty easy:

  1. Sign up with an email address and password on the Vinovest platform.
  2. Answer a questionnaire to assess your investment preferences and risk appetite.
  3. Add a minimum of $1,000 to your Vinovest account.
  4. Vinovest will select the best wines for you based on your investment preferences.
  5. Watch your wine portfolio grow while sipping on a glass of red wine like a fancy Syrah or a California Marsanne varietal.

Benefits

Vinovest comes with many benefits:

1. Easy Buying and Selling Using AI-driven Technology

Vinovest is an Artificial Intelligence-driven online platform that helps you buy fine wines from all over the world with just a few clicks. If you want to profit from your wine portfolio, you can also sell your white or red wine to any buyer anywhere in the world.

2. Best Prices

You get the best possible prices on your favorite southern Rhone or white Rhone blends and other great wines. That’s because Vinovest buys its wines directly from winemakers, wine exchanges, and wine merchants and eliminates any retail mark-up and middle-men fees.

3. Curated Portfolio by an Expert Wine Advisory Team

Vinovest has an expert team of sommeliers and data scientists who can assist you in building a high-performing wine portfolio. So you don’t need to be a wine specialist to begin investing in world-class vintages!        

4. Authenticity and Provenance 

Vinovest ensures that the wine you buy is authentic and traces its provenance before you make your purchase.

5. Optimal Storage and Safety

Your wines are safe with Vinovest. They store your wine collection in secure, bonded warehouses located near the best wine-growing regions in the world. The storing facilities maintain optimal temperature, light, humidity, and vibration levels at all times. 

This way, you have easy access to a wine cellar without the monetary hassle or stressful logistics of maintaining it yourself. 

6. Comprehensive Insurance and Security

With Vinovest, you get a full insurance policy at market value. Additionally, round-the-clock security cameras ensure your wine bottles’ safety. 

Vinovest also has power backups to always maintain optimal climate control at their storage facilities.

7. Low Overall Costs

You may think such premium services come with extra costs. But Vinovest charges lower than most wine investment companies. 

The annual fee is 2.85% (or 2.5% for portfolios over $50,000) and it covers buying, storing, and selling your wines as well as a full insurance policy, fraud detection, and portfolio management.

8. Tax Advantages

Vinovest charges no excise duty and VAT for its world-class wine storage facilities. As a result, the substantial tax benefits are passed on to you.

Step Into the Exciting World of Wine E-Commerce

Marsanne wines are one of a kind, with delicious fruity flavors and enchanting floral aromas. These blend wines are a great celebratory drink for any special occasion. 

If you’re looking for a long-term wine investment there are many other Rhone-Valley wineries and more that you should look for.

Vinovest can help you start a winning wine portfolio of collectible wines and guide you through your wine investing journey. So, take the first step and sign up with Vinovest today!

Further reading

Step into the world of fabulous Red Wines in This Incredibly Useful Red Wine Guide!

Written by

Anthony Zhang

Anthony is a repeat entrepreneur who has previously founded and sold two companies, EnvoyNow and KnowYourVC. He has also held leadership positions at Blockfolio and is a board member at RateMyInvestor.
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