Marsanne rhymes with Roussanne - and these two grapes have been in the same sentences since ancient times in France’s Northern Rhone. Marsanne is a white grape with real weight and presence - and some nutty spice and pear/melon character - but perhaps less obvious/expressive fruit than most successful single varieties. Hence Marsanne makes serious wines mostly according to the traditional Hermitage blend, with Roussanne adding the fruitiness and acid lift. This recipe is usually followed in California and Australia, the latter boasting Marsanne’s oldest vines (1927). Cool Switzerland allows Marsanne (aka Ermitage) to retain fragile acid levels, making age-worthy varietals in both lean/dry and dessert styles.
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