Marsanne & Roussanne are grapes that not a lot of people have heard of but have probably been drinking for years. Both from the Rhône Valley these two grapes are rarely seen apart and are the perfect partners for each other - where one lacks, the other shines - a perfect partnership.
Marsanne & Roussanne are used in very small amounts (5%) in the red northern Rhône wines such as Hermitage and Saint-Joseph although they excel on their own as a white wine from the region of Saint Péray. The US, especially California, offers great examples after being exported by US growers and successfully grown. This was, in part, down to the vision of the Rhône Rangers in the 1980's / 90's, a group pf visionaries who imported Rhône vine clones to the USA and kick started the growth of new varieties and therefore new and different wines.
When aged in oak Marsanne and Roussanne wines are rich, full bodied and powerful. Rousanne is more aromatic than Marsanne but is a fussy grower often succumbing to rot in the vineyard and being a bit astringent. Marsanne is hardier and more dependent. Both grape varieties need a lot of sun and warmth to ripen. Some wines can be aged up to 10 years.
France - Rhône Valley, specifically the northern Rhône, although grown throughout. Languedoc
USA - California - Paso Robles
Australia - Victoria
FLAVOURS / TASTES:
Lemon / citrus / tangerine, dried apricots, baked apple, almonds - marzipan
Waxy, Oily, Mineral - very!
Bergeron - Roussanne in the Savoie/France
Pasta dishes - especially rich and creamy such as Carbonnara Simple white fish in lemon butter sauce Chinese dishes with sesame Simply - with black olives and fresh almonds