There are things in this world that are meant to go together. Classic combinations that compliment each other: Oysters and Sancerre, campfires and s’mores, hotdogs and baseball, peanut butter and jelly, and Marsanne and Roussanne.
Marsanne and Roussanne are two white grapes that have been made famous in the Northern Rhône Valley. Both Marsanne and Roussanne can create beautiful and expressive wines on their own: Domaine Coursodon produces a brilliant St. Joseph Blanc made from 100% Marsanne; Qupé Hillside Estate Roussanne is made from 100% Roussanne, which I am quite partial to the. That said, traditionally these two grapes are blended together and with good reason. Marsanne on its own is often mineral and nutty, with melon and pear notes. Blending Roussanne into Marsanne, even in small quantities, adds body, acidity, and floral and citrus peel flavors. A touch of Roussanne makes Marsanne perk up a little and adds some delightful complexity. Blending the two also makes a more age-worthy wine by adding acidity to the mix. To me, these two grapes compliment each other beautifully and do great things together.
Bob Lindquist, our wine maker, makes several different blends with Marsanne. His most famous is a Marsanne-Roussanne blend from Santa Barbara County. The 2012 Qupé Santa Barbara County Marsanne is 75% Marsanne and 25% Roussanne. This Marsanne is very mineral and shows hints of peach, orange peel, pear, and hay. The wine is well balanced and has a nice touch of acidity. When you drink it, the influence from the Marsanne and Roussanne is apparent and you realize how well these two grapes go together. Like peanut butter and jelly.