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CHEESE PAIRING:
Boucheron
Brie
Emmentaler
Valencay
St. Maure
Saga Blue
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Usually a blending grape in Rhone wines, Marsanne is a noble grape that can and does occasionally stand on it own – mostly in the Northern Rhone regions of Hermitage, Crozes-Hermitage, St-Joseph and St-Peray. Though in the last few years, a smattering of wineries that use Rhone grapes – from the Central Coast of California, the Valais region of Switzerland and the Victoria region of Australia – have been bottling this oft-maligned varietal all by itself. While it can grow just about anywhere, that doesn't mean it will produce juice interesting enough for a single varietal bottling, which is why they are rare to come by. Leave it to the upstart, New World winemakers to try to change that. It's a fine line between lush and flabby and this grape can easily go either way if allowed to ripen too much. While these wines don't always offer up the most complexity, when done well they are great with food and deliver one of the white wine worlds most heavy mouthfeels. Because of their rarity, you will be paying at least $25 for New World versions (found mostly in tasting rooms) and upwards of $50 for those from France. If you get the chance, you should give them a try. Though hopefully it won't be on your dime. A white wine Red-Only drinkers will love.

WHAT TO EXPECT: A lush, full-bodied, golden-colored wine with a moderately aromatic nose of citrus, stone fruit, flowers, honey and almonds. A grape that can be somewhat boring and flabby if not picked at the right time. Most versions see some type of barrel-aging and have an oily texture. Has the ability to age for around 10 years (the French and Australian bottles) as long as it has enough acidity. Mostly made to drink within 2-3 years of the vintage date.

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spacer.gif2008 Beckmen Vineyards Marsanne, Santa Barbara, CARATING: **
spacer.gif2008 Calcareous Vineyards Marsanne, Paso Robles, CARATING: **
spacer.gif2008 Sans Liege Sancha Marsanne, Derby Vineyards, Paso Robles, CARATING: **
spacer.gif2007 Beckmen Vineyards Marsanne, Santa Barbara, CARATING: **
spacer.gif2007 Bernard Faurie Hermitage Blanc, Rhone Valley, FranceRATING: ***



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**** Outstanding | *** Delicious | ** Enjoyable | * Drinkable
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