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.
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.
We happened upon the estate after having our attention drawn to a plot of vines that stood out from its neighbours – vines that were clearly cared for meticulously. After enquiring and tasting the wines, we started importing as much as we could.
Today the property is run by Jean-Claude – the third generation of the family – although his daughter Clémence is now working alongside him. The family farms almost 10 hectares of vines, the majority of which is in Saint-Joseph, with some in Crozes-Hermitage and some classified as IGP Ardèche. Their parcels are mainly old vines, with some 120 years in age.
Production is low, with the property only making around 2,000 cases a year. The wines are very traditional in style, built to age (reaching their peak only after six to eight years), and very reasonably priced for the quality on offer.