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Wine Tasting: Marsanne, Roussanne, + Viognier

from Church & State Wines in British Columbia, Canada

Marsanne, Roussanne and Viognier are three white grapes that appear often in wine blends together. It’s a tradition that originates from the Rhône Valley of France.

These whites tend to be beautifully textured and rich. And although dry, sometimes the wines can resemble dessert for their unctuousness. (Unctuous means oily textured when used to describe wines.)

Here I try a Marsanne, Roussanne and Viognier from Church & State Wines in British Columbia, Canada. This winery is famous among BC wine judges for their TreBella – a wine that is a blend of all three of these grapes.

I visited the tasted room of the Brentwood Bay location in July 2021 to see if I could purchase some the rare TreBella nectars. They were sold out. So instead I tasted the three grapes that make up the TreBella blend.

See my tasting notes of Church & State Roussanne 2017, Viognier 2018 and Marsanne 2018 at the bottom of this post…

Church & State Winery in a nutshell

Church & State Winery in Oliver
Church & State Winery in Oliver
Feature Winery template

Where: Brentwood Bay and Oliver, BC:

There are 2 winery locations.; one is in Brentwood Bay in Victoria on Vancouver Island and the other is in the town of Oliver in the Okanagan Valley. Both of these wineries are in beautiful British Columbia, Canada.

Winemaker icon

Winemaker:

Winemaker Arnaud Thierry is from Normandy, France. He trained in Champagne and has been with Church & State since 2017. He is also the chief viticulturalist.
vineyards

Vineyards:

Church & State has vineyards in both winery locations. They grow white varieties on Vancouver Island where they make their sparkling wines.

They grow red Bordeaux varieties and their white Rhône white varieties featured in this post in Oliver in the Okanagan Valley.

The Coyote Bowl Vineyard is the name of their top vineyard near Oliver, BC.

Winery owners

Winery owners:

Yue Cai Liao of Sunocean Wineries and Estate Inc. recently purchased the winery.

For more information, John Schreiner wrote an update on Church & State Winery here.

[Protect yourself and stop drinking faulted wines! Here’s how to detect the Most Common Wine Fault out there called lightstrike]

 

[Read our series on the history of French Wine Law and learn why French wine labels are written as they are]

 

Arnaud Thierry is the winemaker and chief viticulturalist at Church & State Wines

Wine Tasting Notes of Church & State's Marsanne, Roussanne, and Viognier:

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Church & State Roussanne 2017

Upon first glance, you can see this wine has some gold hints in the rim.

And then you sniff it! Scents of honeycomb, dried chamomile flowers, lime blossoms, hay and slight musk. The fruit is all in the backdrop, it’s lemon custard and oh, there’s freshly baked cheesecake coming out of the oven. I left this open for a day and came back to it when marshmallow clouds appeared. (Seriously, I smell marshmallows in this wine!)

This wine is sexy and round! I picture myself in a black spaghetti strapped dress, but it’s not nighttime. The sun is just sinking under the horizon where oranges and pinks and more gold rest upon a calm ocean.

I hope this black dress still fits after I finish the cheesecake.

 

Church & State Viognier 2018

With this Viognier, we’ve entered the flower garden. Elderflowers, daffodils and jasmin tingle my nose.

Taking a sip in the warm sun, this wine is mouth-filling and the alcohol is warming and generous. A tree bulging with sweet, ripe peaches provides some shaded reprieve.  And look, a fawn statue and water fountain affords us a mouthwatering end to my garden dream.

Church & State Marsanne 2018

After the 2 voluptuous wines above, this Marsanne seems like the awkward little sister who sprouted 2 feet in height in a very short time. She’s not in command of her movements.

Aromas of honeysuckle, slightly candied pear and quince are present with a lift of volatile acidity that is softened slightly by spring white flowers. Poor thing is just so light and wonky compared to her smooth big sisters, Roussanne and Viognier.

SommWine Tip

  • staff informed me that the TreBella white blend will be available again in Spring 2022. Get ready to snatch it up as it sells out fast!
  • Church & State only sells the TreBella through online shipping only.

What are your favourite white blends made with Marsanne, Roussanne and Viognier?

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