Marselan • Exclusive Tasting 25 November 2023

When Decanter asked last April what tasting I would like to conduct for them at FoodHotelAsia ProWein Singapore 2023, I had no hesitation to say “MARSELAN.

We can attend tastings of most varieties, regions, and countries quite regularly. It is, however, very rare to taste Marselan. That was last April.

On 25 November 2023, for the first time in Singapore, an unprecedented event will take place at International Congress of Chinese Cuisine & Wine held at The Tower Club.

The proprietors of seven Chinese wineries will be on stage to speak about their Marselans (and one Riesling).

Tasting 7 Chinese Marselans has never been done before in Singapore.

Don’t miss this exclusive opportunity!

Paul Truel (left) photographed in 1999 on the 50th Anniversary of Domaine de Vassal, the research vineyard of France’s National Agronomy Insitute or INRA. To his left are research ampelographers Jean-Michel Boursiquot and Thierry Lacombe. Photo by courtesy of GiESCO

Marselan was created in 1961 by Paul Truel (1924 – 2014 ) by crossing Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache. The French ampelographer named it Marselan, after the seaside town Marseillan (50 km south of Montpellier) near where he worked at Domaine de Vassal, the research vineyard of France’s National Agronomy Insitute or INRA.

The original hope was for the new crossing to be resistant to diseases and produce bountiful bunches of big berries to give high yield. Marselan succeeded in being resistant to diseases but did not give high yields because it produces relatively small berries. Those berries, however, are capable of producing wine of character and quality.

As a result, Marselan fell out of favour in its birth country and, if still grown in France, is used mainly to blend with other varieties.

Ironically, China adopted Marselan with enthusiasm.

Professor LI De Mei (left) planted China’s first Marselan in 2001. The original joint Sino-French vineyard and winery in Hebei is today known as Domaine Franco Chinois. Together with CH’NG Poh Tiong, the duo gave a presentation on Chinese wine at ProWein Dusseldorf on 19 March 2023

Marselan was first planted in China by LI Demei in 2001.

Li had been sent by the Chinese Government to study oenology in Bordeaux. Today a professor at the Beijing Agricultural College, Li Demei was the original winemaker of the joint experimental Sino-French vineyard and winery in Hebei Province outside Beijing.

That winery later became a private enterprise and is today called Domaine Franco Chinois which will be showing its 10-year old Marselan of the 2014 vintage, the oldest wine on 25 November 2023.

Be among the only people in Singapore to taste that and six other Chinese Marselans on Saturday 25 November 2023.

Click here to reserve your seat!

Visiting Domaine du Mas de Rey on 23 June 2023. The vineyard outside the ancient Roman city of Arles in the south of France has the world’s oldest Marselan vines planted in 1962. Mas de Rey is just a handful of French wineries that produces a 100% hand-harvested Marselan. CH’NG Poh Tiong is a world authority on Japanese Koshu, Chinese wine, and Marselan. He contributes on China and Japan to Hugh Johnson Pocket Wine Book. He is also Decanter World Wine Awards Asia Regional Chair, and Chair of Koshu Expert Committee of Japan.

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