By Chloe Earl, senior winemaker

There are many wines that are made from varieties that we all recognise immediately. However, if you dig a little deeper, there is a whole world of alternate varieties that make incredible wines, which you don’t even know you are missing – Marsanne and Cabernet Franc are two such varieties.

 

Marsanne originated in France and was part of the white blends made from Marsanne and Roussane. However, as a straight varietal, Marsanne’s potential is underestimated and can produce an incredible wine. We think Marsanne is so special that we make two very different wines from the variety, both within All Saints Estate.

 

The All Saints Estate white label is made in a very fresh, vibrant, aromatic style and is fermented at cool temperature in stainless steel tanks to really highlight the aromatics and flavours of the variety. The 2018 All Saints Estate Marsanne is a crisp, refreshing wine, which is packed with flavours of lemon, peach and honey. Light to medium bodied, the fruit flavours are balanced with a minerally character and crisp acid on the finish.

 

The All Saints Estate Family Cellar Marsanne is a very different style in comparison. The wine is matured in French oak with the yeast lees stirred through over 18 months prior to blending. This technique creates a lovely texture along with aromatic fruit and acid on the palate, balanced with the oak spice and structure.

 

The 2017 All Saints Estate Family Cellar Marsanne is medium bodied and has aromas of ripe pear and quince. On the palate, these are combined with layers of creamy texture and savoury spice from French oak and yeast lees. It is an incredibly complex wine with many layers, which shows the richness that the variety can produce when made in this style.

 

Cabernet Franc is not commonly seen as a straight varietal wine. The St Leonards Vineyard Cabernet Franc is an unoaked wine that is released in the same year as picking or early the following year. The lifted aromatics, which we get from the fermentation technique of incorporating some whole berries and gentle plunging, being careful to have a softer tannin finish, makes this a lovely light red wine. The 2017 St Leonards Vineyard Cabernet Franc is a great example of this wine, with aromas of bright red fruit and dried herbs. This carries through on the palate with subtle tannins and balanced acid.

 

The variety, however, is most famously known for being used in the Bordeaux blend, where it is combined with cabernet sauvignon and merlot (these varieties make up the All Saints Estate Pierre blend). This combination creates a balanced, complete wine, with each variety making its contribution to the blend – resulting in a wine with great colour and intense, aromatic flavour and complexity. Cabernet Franc adds a savoury element to the wine both on the nose and palate, cutting through the intense sweet black fruits of the cabernet sauvignon and lingering with the oak spice on the finish. The 2016 All Saints Estate Pierre has dark purple colour with black fruit aromatics, which continue on the palate with savoury spice and a lovely fine tannin structure to add great length on the finish.

 

So, for your next wine purchase, don’t go for that familiar bottle – branch out and try something new and discover what you have been missing out on.