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Marsanne - Biodynamic Wines

Marsanne - Biodynamic Wines

Biodynamic wines are organic wines made following the lunar calendar and the naturalistic beliefs of Rudolf Steiner.

It is a holistic concept - looking at the whole ecosystem through cycles and energy. The goal is to enhance the natural life-flow cycles of the vine and especially its immune system. Memorable processes in biodynamic vinetending include using cow horns to hold the silica which will be buried in the soil and applying specific herbal sprays on precise days.

There is a dose of non scientific magical thinking in biodynamic processes. But as one of my winemakers put it "it doesn't make sense and I feel silly doing some of it, but my vines look healthier"

Whilst being well known in France in the creation of Hermitage AOC, Marsanne is also grown in Valais, Switzerland, where it is known as Ermitage or Ermitage Blanc. It is also found in Savoie where they call it Grosse Roussette.

It is a versatile grape and is made into steely dry and sweet wines (Ermitage Fletri from Valais) with quite a deep colour. Although often blended due to its low acidity this is a plus for the Swiss who are not too keen on much acidity in their wines and they produce an excellent range of single variety wines from this grape. The wines, whether dry or sweet, can be drunk young, but will benefit greatly from being given time to age and reach their full potential.

Marsanne produces deeply coloured wines that are rich and nutty, with hints of spice and pear, aromas of melon and honeysuckle. As Marsanne ages the wine takes on a darker colour and the flavours can become more complex and concentrated with a waxy, honeyed texture. Aromas of nuts and quince can also develop.

It seems likely that Marsanne is named after the village near Montélimar where it is likely to have originated. DNA analysis shows a parent-offspring relationship between Marsanne and Roussanne. Marsanne is one of the eight grape varieties allowed in Côtes du Rhône.

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  • Grain Ermitage Marie-Therese Chappaz

    My special favourite in Marie-Therese Chappaz's range. Stunning year on year

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