Definition - What does Marsanne mean?
Marsanne is a white grape variety originating from the region of Rhône Valley in France. It is most commonly from the northern region of Rhône and blended with another white variety, Roussanne. It thrives best in temperate climates where it is not too hot or too cool and is mainly cultivated for its acidity and harvested before its full ripeness.
WineFrog explains Marsanne
If left to ripen to full maturity, Marsanne can make a very bland wine. This is why it is only picked just before it fully ripens. However, in some countries like Australia, they leave the grape to hang for long periods in order to increase its potential alcohol and aging potential, a process known as hang time.
Just as with Roussanne, Marsanne is one of the main blending grapes used in the AOC regions of Hermitage, Crozes-Hermitage and Saint-Joseph. According to AOC regulations, only 15% of Marsanne base wine can be added to the red wines of AOC Hermitage.
Outside of the Rhône Valley, Marsanne is cultivated in the Savoie and Languedoc regions. It is also grown outside of France in Australia, Switzerland, British Columbia, Washington State and California.