Marselan is a recent crossing between two famous red grape varieties, Grenache and Cabernet Sauvignon. The highly regarded crossing is now found in niche pockets across the globe from China to Uruguay with its roots firmly in the Languedoc and Provence regions of southern France. Wines made from Marselan are medium-bodied with fine tannins, good color, and characteristics of cherry and cassis.
Marselan was bred in 1961 by the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) at their Domaine de Vassal station in Marseillan, after which the grape is named. The objective in this breeding program was to create high-yielding varieties with large berries. Despite its natural resistance to mildew and botrytis, Marselan’s small berry size meant that it was shelved at this time, and revisited in the 1990s as producers began to look to quality over quantity.