Marsanne – Roussanne is the result of the marriage of two grape varieties thought to have originated in the northern Rhone Valley, a union that been replicated in the United States and Australia, where Viognier is often added to the mix. Marsanne and Roussanne blends vary depending on environment and vine age, but can generally be described as medium-full white wines with honeysuckle, lemon and mineral properties.
Marsanne offers structure and body to the blend. It is also a reliable grape, being hardier and more disease-resistant than its partner. As a consequence, increasing amounts of Marsanne have been planted in the areas around Hermitage, Crozes-Hermitage and Saint-Joseph, and less Roussanne.
Roussanne, however, is more aromatic, and gives the blend lift and herbal spice character, or the characteristics of almonds and pears. Younger Marsanne and Roussanne blends typically show citrus, melon and mineral characteristics, while more aged examples take on more nutty, quince-like fruit flavors. Marsanne and Roussanne wines are easily capable of aging for at least 10 years.