Domaine Jean-Claude Marsanne

The little-known Domaine Jean-Claude Marsanne, based in the heart of Saint-Joseph in Mauves, makes some of the Northern Rhône’s best-value wines.

About Domaine Jean-Claude Marsanne

About the producer

The Marsanne family has long been farming vines in the Ardèche, but for a long time it sold its fruit. In fact, it used to sell the majority of its fruit to Chave. The family bottled their first wines in 1970, and only a fraction is exported – with much of it sold to the on-trade, appearing on the wine lists of local and Michelin-starred restaurants.

In total, the Marsanne family farms 9.5 hectares: 7.3 hectares in Saint-Joseph, spread over 30 different parcels in Mauves, Tournon and Le Berceau; an additional 0.8 hectares in Crozes-Hermitage; and 1.5 hectares in the IGP Ardèche. The Syrah in St Joseph is planted on granite soils facing south-east, while the Marsanne is on south-facing argile and loess soils. The Viognier in the Ardèche sits on free-draining granite and fine, sandy soils. 

Everything is farmed lutte raisonnée, with organic fertiliser and minimal sprays. The steep, terraced slopes preclude mechanisation, so work is done almost entirely by hand. The property has been awarded the highest level (3) of Haute Valeur Environnementale (HVE) in recognition of their efforts to encourage biodiversity, manage water and reduce their use of sprays.

Everything here is hand-picked, with each parcel vinified separately. For the white Saint-Joseph, the Marsanne is pressed, fermented naturally in barrel and it then spends 12 months in oak before bottling. The Ruisseaux Viognier is pressed, with the fermentation of the must starting in tank, then half of it is put into barrel to finish fermentation and mature.

For the reds, all the fruit is de-stemmed, crushed and fermented in open-topped tanks for between three to four weeks with indigenous yeasts. It’s foot-trodden twice a day to submerge the cap and extract colour and flavour. It’s raised in a combination of pièces and demi-muids for between 12 and 18 months, with around 30% new oak.


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