Marsanne is the most widely planted white grape in Northern Rhone, but is a rare find with it only taking up roots in three other countries, Australia, America and Switzerland. What you may not realise is that Australia’s Tahbilk holds the largest and oldest single holding of the variety in the world. Although you won’t find a lot of this variety sitting on the shelves at your local bottle shops, it’s growing in popularity and is slowly building a name for itself in Australia.
You will often find Marsanne blended with Rousanne, but it is the Marsanne that adds character and depth to this richly coloured wine. This wine has flavours of honeydew melon, spice, nuts, pears and a silky exotic mouthfeel.
Marsanne is made for your wine cellar and will improve distinctly over time. While not many of today’s white wines are made to stand the test of time, Marsanne has a special place in your cellar right beside your Chardonnay and Riesling.
Add another 5-10 years age and this wine develops a beautiful golden colour and a flavour of baked apples.
Here are my picks for Australian Marsanne’s to drink now or put away in your cellar;
Tahbilk 2016 Marsanne – $17.95
Tahbilk’s history with Marsanne is traced back to the 1860’s with the sourcing of ‘White Hermitage’ cuttings from the ‘St Hubert’s’ Vineyard in Victoria’s Yarra Valley. The grape was Marsanne and although none of these plantings have survived, the Estate still produces Marsanne from plantings dating back to 1927.
Tahbilk Marsanne has a dedicated worldwide following due to its marvellous character and complexity and ability to team wonderfully with food at all stages of development. When young the nose and palate exhibit intense aromas and flavours of lemon, peach and tropical fruits with a dry mineral raciness; whilst with bottle age these will complex and develop into the familiar honeysuckle fragrance and character traditionally associated with Marsanne.
All Saints Estate Marsanne 2015 – $24.99
Made from estate grown Marsanne grapes hand-picked in the cool of the morning, destemmed and crushed into the press on arrival at the winery. The juice is cold settled for 36 hours before being racked and then inoculated with yeast. The wine is fermented to dryness in stainless steel tanks before its transfer into premium French oak barrels which had aged the previous vintage of Family Cellar Marsanne. The wine matures on full lees for three months adding texture and complexity. Marsanne is a native of the Côtes du Rhône appellation in Southern France where along with Viognier and Rousanne it is one of the main white wine varieties of the region.
Yeringberg Marsanne Roussanne 2013 Yarra Valley – $56.00
Yeringberg Marsanne Roussanne 2013 is a pale yellow coloured wine showing light green tinges. This Rhone styled white wine is a delight to consume, with its appealing bouquet giving off melon, green apple, dry apricot and spice aromas along with undertones of smoke, honeycomb and wisps of lees. The palate shows a great length and smooth texture, with juicy fruit flavours and supple tannins adding depth to the wine. This wine can be popped open now, or be cellared for about 5 to 10 years. Pairing this delightful Rhone blend with hard cheeses can be a rewarding experience.