Among the rich whites, Marsanne might just be my favorite. It’s a grape that gives rich, powerful, dry wines redolent of nut, earth and heathery honied tones that come with age. In general, Marsanne is rarely bottled on its own, needing some extra acid to keep things well-balanced, though varietal examples do exist.
Marsanne’s home is the northern Rhone Valley in France, where it is typically blended with a bit of Rousanne to add complexity and acidity. Marsanne is a unique character in more ways than one. Not only are these rich wines powerfully built with flavors of quince and apricot, but they go through what is known as a dumb phase. While this, in and of itself, is unusual for white wines, Marsanne is even more complicated, showing oxidized and meek aromas and flavors during its dumb phase before emerging after 10 or 12 years to reveal a leaner, more transparent and reinvigorated fruity wine. A remarkable transformation that moves aged Marsanne out of the rich white category.
So since we’re talking about rich whites, we might as well move on to…
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