Looking for a great white wine for the Fall? We are here to help! If you have never tried a white wine blend based on the grapes Marsanne and Roussanne, you are missing out! Originally from the Northern Rhone in France, these grapes are blended together - often with other grapes - to create a rich, full-bodied, flavorful, and still acidic white wine that is great for fall foods, holidays, and events. If you are a Chardonnay lover, this is a great wine to add to your repertoire! Marsanne and Roussanne are like us, your podcast hosts Joe and Carmela - we are most often found together, and we complement each other well. And, like Marsanne-Roussanne blends, we are complex. Well, at least we might have a complex of some sort. We taste and review these great, affordable, and relatively easy to find wines from across the world (Australia, France, and Oregon in the US) in this episode: NV Point Ormond White Wine, 2020 Famille Perrin Reserve Cotes du Rhone Blanc, and 2019 Quady North Pistoleta.
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Episode 47: Great Wines for Fall: Marsanne-Roussanne! 00:00
Hello! And welcome to The Wine Pair Podcast. I’m Joe, your sommelier of reasonably priced wine, and this is my wife and my wine pairing partner in crime Carmela! And we are The Wine Pair.
Ok, a quick orientation for those of you who may be new to the podcast - in each episode we learn about, taste and review three wines that are reasonably priced - meaning under $20 - and are, or should be, easy for you to find. And, our reviews are 100% honest and real and use everyday words to describe wine that you can understand, and we are not paid or sponsored by anyone, and we buy all of our own wine so there’s that! Our goal is to have some fun, learn about some new wines you may want to try, and expand your wine horizons while taking some of the stuffy and the boring out of wine. And, we are officially recommended by Decanter magazine in their October 2022 issue, and they describe our Podcast as fun, irreverent, chatty, and entertaining.
So, Carmela, we are back this week, a full week into fall, or is it autumn, and talking again about great wines for fall, and this time we are going to talk about a white wine, or even more precisely a white wine blend that contains two grapes called Marsanne (MAHR-san) and Roussanne (roo-SAHN). We will talk more about those grapes, where they come from, and the wines they make when blended in a little bit, but first, I want to talk about what would make a white wine a good choice for fall.
Before you answer that, let’s go back into our time machine and remind our listeners about the episode we did a few weeks ago where we also talked about a wine that was great for fall, which was a RED wine called Grenache. Do you remember what we thought about what would make a good red wine for fall?
- Goes well with fall foods
- A “warmer” - higher in alcohol
- Flavors of fall - rich, deep red berries and some baking spices
So that all makes sense for what you would look for in a red wine for fall, but what about a white wine? Because a lot of times we think of white wines as light, zippy, acidic, and cold - maybe a wine we would more associate with summer than fall. So, Carmela what would you look like in an autumn friendly white wine?
- Our friends at Decanter say you may look for white wines that are chewier and richer. What do you think chewier means? Certain white wines have more body to them, sometimes almost oily or unctuous, and particularly if oaked, can also have that chewiness. This one of the descriptions from the grapes we are drinking today as well as wines made from other grapes like Viognier
- They also say that you want a wine with some body to it. For that, you probably want to look for wines that are again oaked which can add body and add maybe more savory flavors like vanilla and wood. Chardonnay is an obvious choice.
- We also think you would probably want a “warmer” as well, so a white wine that has more alcohol on it, and for that, you may look for a wine from warmer climates or where the grapes are allowed to ripen longer - these allow the grapes to ripen longer, which increases their sugar content, and it is the sugar that converts alcohol, so the more sugar, the more alcohol. Think wines from California, Australia, South Africa, or other areas where the weather is hot.
- These wines will also go well with the richer foods that we start to make in fall like soups, stews, and roasts.
So, today we are going to again talk about white wine blends made from the grapes Marsanne (MAHR-san) and Roussanne (roo-SAHN) , where they come from, why they are good fits for fall, and then we’ll taste three of them . . .
But before we do all that . . . we have to do our shameless plug, right Carmela? If you like what you are hearing, we would love for you to subscribe to our podcast, and we would also really appreciate it if you would leave us a rating and review so that people who may stumble upon us will tune in to our podcast.
If you want to reach out to us with ideas, or thoughts, or just to talk - you can DM us on Instagram at thewinepairpodcast or contact us on our website thewinepairpodcast.com.
And, as we do every week, we’ll tell you someone we think you should tell about The Wine Pair Podcast, and this week we think you should tell someone who likes a rich, buttery Chardonnay - because we may have a wine here that that person will really like and give them a chance to try something new.
ARTICLES AND LINKS
Topic: Why Is a Marsanne-Roussanne Blend a Good Autumn Wine? 09:47
So let's get back to why white wine blends made with Marsanne-Roussanne are good for fall.
I found a ton of great information about this blend online on the interwebs, and one site in particular that was awesome is called Wine Paradigm which you can find a link to in our show notes.
The Marsanne (MAHR-san) and Roussanne (roo-SAHN) grapes are from the Northern Rhône valley in France. It seems that these two grapes are very very often a pair, and they are usually blended together, a lot of times along with several other types of white wine grapes. So, these grapes are like besties. Like twins. Did you ever want a twin, Carmela?
When you hear “Northern Rhone” don’t get fooled that we are talking about the North of France. We are actually talking about an area in the South of France, not too far away from Nice or Northern Italy, and it is also an area not too far from Northern Spain, and so this is a region of France that can get warm, especially in the summer. Some famous wine regions are Condrieu, Cotes de Rotie, Cotes du Rhone, Hermitage, and Saint Joseph (San-zshow-seff)
Now, Marsanne is known as a grape that can bring flavors of stone fruit like peach, also pear, and also spice. It is also described as delicate. Roussanne, on the other hand is said to be a more elegant wine grape that helps drive the acidity of the wine, and can bring in flavors of fruit, nuts, and minerals.
When blended, Marsanne Roussane pulls these different flavors together.
This is going to be a different white wine than your typical Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio white wine. I expect this to be much more like an oakyChardonnay. This is going to be a medium to full-bodied white wine, which is kind of unique for a white wine.
These two grapes are also often blended together to create wines with medium acidity which makes them good with food. And wines made from these grapes are often described as complex. Again, probably something that oaky Chardonnay lovers would like.
These are wines that can be drunk young like a lot of white wines, but well known producers from France can create wines from these grapes that can cellar for up to 20 years. Something relatively unusual for a white wine. And, evidently, these wines are considered some of the best white wines in the world, but we will be the judge of that!
Outside of France, the wine is not terribly common, but more and more wine makers in Australia and the US West Coast are starting to make wines from these grapes, and in fact, we have wines from France, Australia, and Oregon today, so this will be a fun way to see how this white wine blend differs by region - and they will also differ by blend because the blends are pretty unique to each producer.
And, as we mentioned in our last episode, wine blends, whether red or white, can be a little tricky because you don’t always know what you are getting. It’s best to either really try to understand the grapes in the wine blend, or the producer, because you will likely find that there are producers you really like. You will find as we go through our wines today that their blends are different from each other. Even if they use the same, say, three or four grapes, the amount used of each grape matters, as does where and how the grapes are grown.
So, again, this should be a white wine that is good for fall. It is a grape growing region that is warm, which should produce grapes with more sugar which means more alcohol. And it is a blend that creates rich flavors, and it is a wine that has some body to it.
So, let’s take a minute to talk a little about the wines that we chose for this episode.
ARTICLES AND LINKS
A review of the Marsanne-Roussanne wines we chose for this episode 15:57
As I mentioned earlier, we have blends of Marsanne-Roussanne wines that come from all over the world, are blended with different grapes, and are made in different ways as well. I did try originally to see if I could find a single varietal wine made from either Marsanne or Roussanne, but I really could not find any.
The first wine we have is a wine called Point Ormond and is from the Victoria region of Australia which is in the south east area of Australia, and the city of Melbourne is in this region. In fact, the specific area the wine is from the Tallarook district of the Upper Goulburn in Central Victoria - which sounds like it is directly from Lord of the Rings, but this palace is basically 100 kilometers due north of Melbourne.
I got some information on the interwebs that you can see links to if you come to our website, but here are some interesting facts about this wine:
- It is blend of 40% Roussanne, 35% Marsanne, and 25% Chardonnay
- The wines are fermented from wild yeast
- The wine is fermented in French oak - so this will be an oaky white with some richness expected.
- It is also aged for 12 months, and it is kept on the lees - the lees are the sediment in wine making, and I will say that the wine we have looks to have some sediment in it
- This is a white wine that can be aged, in no small part because of the way it is made - with oak, etc.
From the wine.com description of Point Ormond wines:
- Point Ormond is everything that’s exciting about Australian wine today: delicious, high acid, not big on the alcohol, versatile, bursting with personality, sometimes quirky, and always affordable. In a nutshell: these tasty wines hugely over-deliver for their price.
Point Ormond, like all of our wines today, is a screw cap! But this will be a really interesting wine, and I think will be a wine for people who like oaky Chardonnay.
The second wine is from the Rhone Valley in France, and this is going to be a bit of a different wine. The wine is called Famille Perrin Cotes du Rhone Blanc and it is a blend of Grenache blanc, Marsanne, Roussanne, and Viognier.
Now Viognier is a wine we have tasted and talked about before, and it is a wine that tends to be richer and adds body to wine - almost an oiliness, but Grenache Blanc, which we mentioned in our previous fall wine episode which was about Grenache, is a wine I don’t think we have had before.
Without going into too much detail about Grenache Blanc, Wikipedia says this: Its wines are characterized by high alcohol and low acidity. Its vigor can lead to overproduction and flabbiness. However, if yields are controlled, it can contribute flavor and length to blends, particularly with Roussanne
The website for Famille Perrine says the wine is a “remarkably fresh and deep wine.” And, as far as how it is made, it is fermented in stainless steel and it is aged in stainless steel, so this will not be a wine that will have that oaky bite of a Chardonnay or what we expect from the Point Ormond.
The last wine we have has a really cool label, and is from a winery called Quady North, and their wine is called Pistoleta. This wine was actually an Editor’s Choice pick from Wine Enthusiast.
Quady North is from a winery in Southern Oregon, so a warmer area of the state, not too different from Northern California, that makes a lot of Rhone style wines.
Their Pistoleta wine, which they claim is a favorite, is also a blend of Roussanne, Marsanne, Viognier and Grenache Blanc. So, I am really curious to see how similar or different it is from the same blend that is actually from the Rhone in France.
They are also a certified Organic winery and are also focused on Sustainable wine making which is really cool.
I can’t tell if they put their wines on oak or not, but going to their website I was THRILLED to find that they actually sell their wine not only in bottles, but you can order a 3 liter box of this wine, and you can order this wine in cans! I love seeing that sort of modern or non-snobby way of packaging their wines.
I just kind of like this winery’s style. We’ll see if we like their wines!
So, this will be fun. Three wines with different blends and wine making styles from different parts of the world, all of which are centered around the Marsanne-Roussanne white wine blend.
Enough of this jibber jabber, what do you say we get to tasting!
ARTICLES AND LINKS
Marsanne Roussanne blend wine pairing tasting and review 23:39
Wine: Point Ormond White Wine (Click here to buy this wine - affiliate link)
Region: Australia, Victoria
Producer: Point Ormond
Grapes: 40% Roussanne, 35% Marsanne, 25% Chardonnay
What we tasted and smelled in this Marsanne Roussanne blend: Oaky, apple, apple cider, Martinelli’s sparkling cider, pear, peach, stone fruit, apricot, sweet, urine, bitterness at the end. Rich, fruity, sweet, delicious.
Food to pair with this Marsanne Roussanne blend: fish tacos with a spicy sauce, pumpkin ravioli, filled pasta, pasta with cream sauce, Cuban sandwich, ham.
As a reminder on our rating scale, we rate on a scale of 1-10, where 7 and above means that we would buy it, and 4 and below means that we are likely to pour it down the sink, and in-between we are likely to drink it and finish it, but we are probably not going to buy it.
Wine: Famille Perrin Reserve Cotes du Rhone Blanc (Click here to buy this wine - affiliate link)
Region: France, Rhone Valley
Producer: Famille Perrin
Grapes: Grenache blanc, Marsanne, Roussanne, Viognier
Professional Rating: TP 91
What we tasted and smelled in this Marsanne Roussanne blend: Light smell, apple, peach, crispy, river rock, salty, perfume, flowers, tart, citrus, lemon, dry at the end, nectarine, red plum, bitterness at the end like a grapefruit. Good acid balance, not as complex. Fresher, maybe not a fall wine.
Food to pair with this Marsanne Roussanne blend: Cheese, Happy Hour wine, crudite, ranch dressing, Caesar salad with shrimp, stuffed spinach and ricotta phyllo, white pizza.
Wine: Quady North Pistoleta (Click here to buy this wine - affiliate link)
Region: Oregon, Rouge Valley
Producer: Quady North
Grapes: 51% Viognier, 26% Roussanne, 16% Grenache Blanc, 7% Marsanne
Professional Rating: JS 91, WE 91 Editor’s Choice
What we tasted and smelled in this Marsanne Roussanne blend: fruity, bright, kiwi, citrus, flowery, vanilla, apple cider, dried apricot, grapefruit, lemon curd. Vibrant, juicy.
Food to pair with this Marsanne Roussanne blend: grilled foods, pasta with cream sauce, stuffed ravioli, squash soup, fried foods, spicy foods, fish tacos. Chicken, turkey. Could be a Thanksgiving wine.
Which one of these are you finishing tonight?
- Joe: Quady North
- Carmela: Point Ormond
Do you think a Marsanne Roussanne blend is a good wine for Fall?
Yes, especially the Point Ormond.
Taste profiles expected from Marsanne-Roussanne blend: 44:43
- Marsanne-Roussanne taste profile
- Floral aromas and a complex structure with delicate flavors of peach, pear, nuts and spice, along with mineral notes
- From wine searcher: Younger Marsanne and Roussanne blends typically show citrus, melon and mineral characteristics, while more aged examples take on more nutty, quince-like fruit flavor
- Point Ormond description
- honeyed flavors of citrus and peach, this features notes of spice and toast lingering in the background, accented by hints of lanolin. Strikes a good balance between richness and acidity
- Famille Perrin description
- This wine shows an expressive nose with notes of white flowers, buttercream and apricots. With great freshness, the mouth opens up nicely, revealing seductive citrus aromas, well balanced with a good acidity. Its mineral purity is punctuated on the finish by a touch of delicate bitterness.
- Quady North description
- Stone fruit flavors, including apricot and nectarines predominate, with notes of honey and citrus. The wine runs the edge of crispness and unctuousness, with a lip smacking quality. Consumers will find that over time, this wine will lose its fruit character, but gain in texture.
- Reviews of Quady North: Aromas of golden apples, sliced nectarines, apricots, lemon curd and honeysuckle. It’s medium-to full-bodied with a round, oily palate, balanced by fresh acidity. Juicy, ripe and fresh.
- Reviews of Quady North: Citrus aromas lead into a potent palate loaded with tangerine, lemon-lime and pineapple fruit.
Outro and how to find The Wine Pair Podcast 47:30
As always, thank you so very much for listening to us, The Wine Pair, and you know, while you’re thinking about it, we think you should subscribe and give us a nice rating!
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Thanks for listening to the Wine Pair podcast, and we will see you next time. And, as we say, life is short, so stop drinking shitty wine