The French have been growing grapes and producing wine in the Western Cape since 1688 – When the Huguenots fled religious persecution in Louis XIV's France. Marianne Wine Estate represents a 21st Century enterprise to produce French-style wines that honour both the South African terroir, and the 2000-year-old heritage of Bordeaux winemaking. Marianne is a young, vital woman, a fictional character who personifies the French Republic and its ideals: Liberty, Brotherhood, and Equality. She is the face on European Union Euro coins, French postage stamps, and New York City's Statue of Liberty.
Marianne's red wines exist within a contemporary space that many consider a shift away from winemaking of old, with Michel Rolland's global influence regarded as a contributing factor, who is a close friend to the owner Christian Mauriac.
A little about the winemaker...
Francois was born in Cape Town, and grew up exploring Wine Cellars. He has spent the last two decades in Stellenbosch, earning his degree in Viticulture and Oenology from Stellenbosch University.His philosophy is focussing on the only using the best fruit and ensuring artisanal wines are consistently good.
Francis has experience in working in different countries, gaining different perspectives on winemaking and practices from different schools of though. His initial winemaking stint was at Neil Ellis. He then headed over to the US, where he worked at Dry Creek Vineyard in Sonoma. He then left sunny California and headed to New Zealand at Jackson Estate in Marlborough. Home then called him back and he was offered the position at the prestigious Waterford Wine Estate before moving over to Marianne Wine Estate.
Marianne - Floreal 2009
This is the wine estate's flagship blend. These grapes were handpicked separately at phenolic ripeness. The wine then went through cold-soaking to get maximum flavor and color extraction. Upon crushing, a temperature of 50ºF was maintained and both skins and juice were left in contact in French oak tanks for 10 days for optimal color and flavor extraction.
On the nose are aromas of canned fruit, cherries, christmas cake and a hint of watermelon. The palate is well structured and complex with a nice backing of acidity and oak characteristics with elegant finish. The wine is ready to drink now but will benefit from cellaring over the next few years.
ALC: 14.5% RS: 2.5 g/l TA: 6g/l pH: 3.84
Marianne - Merlot 2009
Similar to the their flagship lend, this grapes were also handpicked. The grapes were handpicked. The grapes were cold-soaked at 50ºF and upon crushing the temperature was maintain and both the skins and the juice were left in contact in French oak tanks for 10 days. The wine was matured in 40% new French oak barrels for 16-22 months. The use of only 40% new oak, the fruits within the wine are respected ensuring the wine is complex, yet settled.
The wine is a beautiful deep crimson color, with a fruity nose reflecting ripe plum and strawberries with a hint of vanilla and spice. This is an elegant Merlot with fruity flavors of red cherries and red berries with medium-soft supple tannins. A well rounded wine that carries some good levels of acidity, and thus is perfect to drink now.
ALC: 14.5% RS: 2.5g/l TA: 6.2g/l pH: 3.9
Marianne - Cape Blend 2009
A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (39%), Pinotage (30%), Shiraz (23%), and Merlot (8%). The wines were hand picked and were stored at 50ºF to ensure the finest flavor and freshness. The temperature was maintained upon crushing and both the skins and juice were left in contact in stainless steel tanks for 10 days for optimum color extraction. The wines were aged in third filled French oak barrels for 16-22 months. The use of third filled allows the winemaker to enhance the fruit flavors within the wine without destroying them.
A medium bodied red wine infused with South African and French Varietals. The wine demonstrates fruit driven aromas of black berries and blackcurrant. An intense well-rounded taste with distinct fruity elements.
ALC: 14.5% RS: 2.6g/l TA: 6g/l pH: 3.85
Marianne - Pinotage 2009
The wines were picked at phenolic ripeness and the grapes were cold soaked to ensure optimal ripeness. The winemaker used cold maceration to get maximum color and character extraction. The wine was aged in third fill French oak barrels for 16 to 22 months. The reason why the winemaker chose to use third fill barrels was to allow the oak to enhance the fruit flavors within the wine without destroying them.
On the nose there are notes of blackcurrants, violet and hints of tobacco. The wine is well-structured with soft tannins and the palate is bright and delicate with remarkable black fruit. The wine has a long smooth finish.
ALC: 15.09% RS: 2.9 g/l TA: 6.5 g/l pH: 4.23
Marianne - Rose 2016
The Rose is made from a blend of Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc and Cinsaut grapes. The Merlot grapes were picked early from the cooler South facing block to ensure that the optimal berry aromas shine through while maintaining a good balance between acidity and freshness. The Chenin and Cinsaut grapes were sourced from the warmer Darling wine region. The red grapes were fermented using cultured yeast, while wild yeast was used to ferment the white varietals.
The wine is soft pink in color and has an intense strawberry flavor. The wine has great balance of acidity and fruit.
ALC: 12.87% RS: 1.7 g/l TA: 12.87 g/l pH: 3.52