Pronounced mahr-sahn. A grape varietal, used in the production of white wine, originating in the Rhône region of France. The grape is also grown in Australia, Switzerland, and the United States. Austria and Australia produce Marsanne as a 100% varietal. It is a blending partner of Roussanne and Viognier, and the primary white wine varietal used in the production of Crozes-Hermitage, Saint Joseph, and Hermitage (high quality white wines). Marsanne is also sanctioned as a varietal for Hermitage reds.
Also known as: Ermitage, Hermitage Blanc, and Grosse Rousette.
Characteristics: Produces full bodied, rich, moderately dry whites with minimal acidity. Flavor includes notes of spice, pear, orange, peach, and lemon, with a hint of toast.
Ageing: Marsanne varietal that have been vinified with modern techniques should be drunk young to taste at best. Marsanne varietal that have been produced traditionally should be aged or they may be somewhat dull.
Serving temperature: Serve at a temperature of 50º-55º F.
Food pairing: Shellfish, white meat, risotto, cannelloni with ricotta, crab cakes, escargots, Greek spanakopita, hummus, poultry/vegetable Pâtés, potato salad, scallops, spinach soufflé, and Thai with beef.