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Marcassin California Wine Chardonnay Pinot Noir

pin it button Marcassin California Wine Chardonnay Pinot Noir

Helen Turley 300x224 Marcassin California Wine Chardonnay Pinot Noir

Marcassin, California Chardonnay, Pinot Noir producer profile, wine tasting notes, ratings, with a history of the property, plus information on their wine making techniques and their soil, along with wine reviews and links.

Marcassin, which takes its name from a type of young, wild boar, made its debut in 1991 with their Upper Barn Chardonnay. At the time, the owners, Helen Turley and John Wetlaufer were well-known consultants to numerous wineries in Napa and Sonoma. One of their clients was Martinelli Vineyards. Turley rented space from Martinelli for the production of Marcassin. In 2010, Marcassin shifted their headquarters to a large space in Windsor California.

The career of Helen Turley began with a stint at B.R. Cohn, a producer of California Cabernet Sauvignon. The couple gained fame for their consulting efforts with many of the best new, producers in the Napa valley during the initial boom of the California Cult Wine phenomena. Colgin Cellars, Bryant Family, La Jota, Pahlmeyer and Turley cellars, a Zinfandel producer owned by her brother were just some of her clients. Rumored to be difficult to work with, Turley relinquished most of her consulting activities to focus on Marcassin Vineyards.

7 blind sept marcassin 300x217 Marcassin California Wine Chardonnay Pinot Noir

Marcassin immediately caught the attention of the world’s most famous wine critic, Robert Parker. From that point on, there was no looking back. Owned by the husband and wife team, Helen Turley and John Wetlaufer, they earned their initial recognition by working as consultants and wine makers. Helen Turley began her career at Robert Mondavi.

Marcassin started out with 10 acres of vines planted to equal amounts of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir planted near Fort Ross in the Sonoma Coastal areas. The initial plantings for the Pinot Noir took place in 1992. This was followed by another wave of 12 more acres for Pinot Noir vines in 2002. The terroir for the Pinot Noir is mostly volcanic stones and rocky soils.

Today Marcassin vineyards produces wine from their Sonoma vineyards that have continued to grow in size. They also make wine from fruit owned by the Martinelli families planted in the Blue Slide Ridge and Three Sisters vineyards. The vineyards are planted on elevations that range from 80 to 1400 feet. The Chardonnay comes from older Wente clones, along with material from Dijon, Mt. Eden and Hyde. The Pinot Noir clones came from Swan, Martin Ray, Calera and Pommard.

For their Marcassin Chardonnay, the grapes are harvested early in the morning, often before sunrise, to retain the maximum level of freshness. The fruit is moved by chilled trucks to fermentation. The Chardonnay is whole clustered fermented. For Marcassin Pinot Noir, the fruit is destemmed and placed in fermentation tanks that match the size of the harvest parcels. The fruit is cold pressed for several days prior to fermentation. Marcassin ferments with natural yeasts and is kept on its lees for between 6-8 months. The Chardonnay and Pinot Noir is aged in 100% new Francois Freres oak barrels for an average of 12 months. The policy of Marcassin is to age the wines until they are ready for consumption. Marcassin wines are usually available about 5 years after the vintage. All their wines are bottles without fining, filtering or cold stabilization. This means Marcassin Chardonnay can have a cloudy appearance, But this is natural and nothing to worry about. The wines age well. I just wish they lasted long enough in my cellar to find out on my own.

2007 marks the last vintage for the Marcassin Blue Slide Vineyard Pinot Noir and 2008 is the final vintage for Marcassin Three Sisters Vineyard Chardonnay. All that fruit will be placed into wines from Martinelli. On the bright side, due to the increase in size of their Sonoma vineyards, there will be more wine from their top cuvee, Marcassin Vineyard Chardonnay. The entire range of Marcassin wines are sold via a mailing list. 2008 saw another decision made by Marcassin. In a heroic move, Marcassin declassified the entire vintage for Pinot Noir. according to Marcassin, the Pinot Noir wines were declassified due to smoke taint. The taint was caused by some of the fires that struck Sonoma county during the growing season over a 3 week period. 2009 is the next Pinot Noir vintage fans can expect to purchase.

In 2013, Helen Turley and Marcassin hired their first assistant winemaker, Ryan O’Donnell.

Marcassin remains one of the few benchmark producers of California Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wine. It’s well worth the effort to seek out a few bottles to see why these special wines have been coveted for so many years.

Wine Tasting Notes

Displaying 19 vintages | 54127 Views Sorted by vintage

  1. 2009 Marcassin Chardonnay Marcassin Vineyard

    1. Lacking the concentration and intensity found in the 2008 and 2007, the fruit delivers what fans of California Chardonnay seek with its vanilla tinged, floral, citrus, pear, spice and round, soft, fresh lemon peel personality. Enjoy this now, or age it a few years.

      95 points - Tasted
      1664 Views
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  2. 2009 Marcassin Chardonnay Three Sisters Vineyard

    1. Medium bodied, with a fresh citrus, buttered popcorn, vanilla and floral nose, the wine delivers sweet yellow fruits, lift and freshness from start to finish.

      93 points - Tasted
      842 Views
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  3. 2008 Marcassin Chardonnay Three Sisters Vineyard

    1. Lacking the concentration or depth of flavor found in the 2008 Marcassin Vineyard Chardonnay, this is still a winner with its fresh citrus, vanilla,and buttery lemon dominated personality. Fleshy, rich and filled with sweet, fresh citrus fruits with a hint of vanilla on the back end, I often wonder how these wines will age. Sadly, I do not get enough bottles to find out. They are so good now, they do not last long in this house.

      95 points - Tasted
      1595 Views
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  4. 2008 Marcassin Chardonnay Marcassin Vineyard

    1. I still prefer the 2007, even with all the vanilla, citrus, stone and fresh grapefruit notes going on. The wine is rich, silky, long and balanced, but at least for today, the 2007 seems to offer more of an exotic quality. Regardless, both are about as good as California Chardonnay gets.

      97 points - Tasted
      1812 Views
    2. Packed and stacked with layers of ripe citrus, lemon rind, vanilla, stone and flowers, this was is intense, mouth filling and rich. Yet, everything is in balance and focused. The long finish continues for at least 40 seconds. Popped and poured, the wine softened and came together with 30 minutes of air. At this stage, I prefer the 2007, but with another year or 2 in the bottle, the results could be quite different.

      98 points - Tasted
      2296 Views
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  5. 2007 Marcassin Chardonnay Three Sisters Vineyard

    1. If this was not compared against the completely off the charts Marcassin, Marcassin from the same vintage, this could have been mind blowing with its fresh lemon, lime, honey uckle, butterscotch and mineral notes. Full bodied and concentrated with layers of polished, ripe, soft, citrus, apples, pears, spice and vanilla, this is a great example of California Chardonnay at its best

      95 points - Tasted
      2032 Views
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  6. 2007 Marcassin Chardonnay Marcassin Vineyard

    1. This is about as good as California Chardonnay gets. Rich, fat, incredibly concentrated with sweet, ripe, juicy citrus fruits, vanilla and rocks in the perfume, the wine has calmed down since it was initially released, ending with a long, fresh, blast of sweet citrus peel and oak in the ostentatious finish.

      98 points - Tasted
      1086 Views
    2. Thrilling to taste and effortless to drink, this is the best bottle of California Chardonnay I have ever tasted! The wine is not over oaked, overdone or hot. Everything is in balance and harmony. The velvet, drenched, luxurious texture, feels like every berry was polished one at a time. The perfume is amazingly complex. The wine is incredibly concentrated. Your palate is coated with sweet, ripe, delicious fruit. But there is no sensation of heaviness. The is fresh and refreshing, with the perfect amount of acidity. This is a unique wine for Marcassin, that lovers of Chardonnay (and that includes fans of White Burgundy) need to taste. I'm a long time fan of Marcassin. This is streets ahead of any other vintage of Marcassin yet produced. It's a very, special wine. I'm not sure how long Marcassin ages. Part of the reason is, the bottles in my cellar are always consumed far too quickly. If I can keep my hands off a bottle or two, I'd like to see how this shows at 15 years of age. This could end up being the reference point wine for Helen Turley and Marcassin. It's also the final wine the young assistant winemaker, Matt Courtney was involved with from harvest to bottling and marketing. Matt Coutney left Marcassin in December 2012.

      100 points - Tasted
      2640 Views
    3. If you're seeking an incredibly rich, dense, full bodied Chardonnay that offers fresh citrus, apple, minerality, vanilla and honeysuckle notes, coupled with waves of intense, silky, ripe, lush, pure fruits, look no further. This is packed and stacked with all the right stuff. One of these days I'm going to lay down a bottle or two and see how well these wines age. Sadly, or happily, they are so delicious, I just keep drinking them!

      98 points - Tasted
      2117 Views
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  7. 2006 Marcassin Chardonnay Marcassin Vineyard

    1. Lacking the depth and concentration, as well as the sweet layers of fruit found in the best vintages of Marcassin Chardonnay, this is still a treat. The soft textured layers of ripe citrus, apple, pear and tropical notes are further complicated with oak, stone and floral notes.

      95 points - Tasted
      2222 Views
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  8. 2005 Marcassin Chardonnay Marcassin Vineyard

    1. Vanilla, minerality, lemon rind, citrus, spice and floral aromas get your attention. Full bodied, thick and intense, this concentrated California Chardonnay keeps everything in balance and harmony with its plush, big, deep, rich, mouth filling, intense style.

      97 points - Tasted
      2417 Views
    2. Deep yellow in color, with notes of honeysuckle, stone, lemon, apple, flowers and smoke, this concentrated, buttery California Chardonnay is rich, intense, focused and balanced, ending with a long, citrus oil and minerality finish. I am not sure more aging will add additional complexity, but the 2005 Marcassin should remain at this level for at least another decade.

      97 points - Tasted
      2493 Views
    3. A powerful perfume filled with brown sugar, stone, roasted pears, apple, butter, coconut and toffee notes grabs your attention. Thick, rich, lush and sassy, this stunning California Chardonnay finishes with a blast of ripe, juicy tropical fruit and citrus. This is still young, fresh and vibrant.

      97 points - Tasted
      2434 Views
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  9. 2005 Marcassin Chardonnay Three Sisters Vineyard

    1. Vanilla, tropical fruit, citrus rind, honey and floral scents pair well with the rich, soft textures. Lacking the level of intensity or minerality of the Marcassin Vineyard, the wine ends with a fresh, lemon, orange and spice sensation.

      93 points - Tasted
      1855 Views
    2. Straw colored with scents of vanilla, citrus, butter and pears that required some coaxing. This full bodied Chardonnay ended with sensations of lemon, mango and minerality.

      91 points - Tasted
      1526 Views
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  10. 2004 Marcassin Chardonnay Marcassin Vineyard

    1. Fully mature, or perhaps slightly past its best days, the honeyed fruit in this medium bodied wine was clearly starting to fade.

      91 points - Tasted
      1304 Views
    2. Pungent scents of pears, apples and citrus oil coupled with flowers and toasty oak. Intense, fat and concentrated, the wine finished with a ricly textured, lush, fresh sensation that is filled with ripe furit yellow fruits.

      96 points - Tasted
      3537 Views
    3. The best California Chardonnay to share with visitors from other countries. They never see the wine in Bordeaux. They are very aware this is our benchmark Chardonnay. Deeply colored, with powerful notes of aromatics of ripe tropical fruit, vanilla, pears and floral scents. This very concentrated, fresh wine fills your palate with lush, ripe, pure fruit and ends with a long, clean, balanced finish. Everyone from Bordeaux remarked how much they liked the wine and that it did not show any heat, even with its high alcohol levels.

      97 points - Tasted
      3573 Views
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  11. 2003 Marcassin Chardonnay Marcassin Vineyard

    1. With about a decade of age, this outstanding wine remains fresh, young, vibrant and alive, with layers of ripe citrus, vanilla, honeysuckle and stone. Rich in texture and full bodied, I wish I owned a few bottles in my cellar.

      95 points - Tasted
      1073 Views
    2. Thick, rich, plush opulent and spicy. Some oak. But, the layers of ripe, apple, citrus and pear fruit were exciting to taste

      96 points - Tasted
      1616 Views
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  12. 2002 Marcassin Chardonnay Marcassin Vineyard

    1. At close to 14 years of age, which is ancient for most California Chardonnay wines, this tasted years younger than its actual age. With vibrant citrus flavors, minerality, lemon peel and hints of vanilla, along with refreshing acidity, polish and length, it's a perfect ringer in a flight of white Burgundy.

      97 points - Tasted
      1023 Views
    2. This slightly green tinted wine offers stunning levels of ripe fruit with a perfume featuring lemons, apples, species and flowers. Massive concentration with a rich, thick, balanced texture backed up by refreshing acidity

      97 points - Tasted
      2019 Views
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  13. 2001 Marcassin Pinot Noir Marcassin Vineyard

    1. This full throttle style of Pinot will never be confused with Burgundy, but, perhaps that’s why I liked it! This is not a wine of finesse, but one of powerful, ripe red fruits.

      94 points - Tasted
      2336 Views
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  14. 2001 Marcassin Chardonnay Marcassin Vineyard

    1. Grapefruit, lemons and flowers made for a nice perfume. Concentrated, full bodied and with touches of minerality, the wine ends with a blast of sweet, ripe citrus flavoirs.

      95 points - Tasted
      1222 Views
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  15. 1999 Marcassin Chardonnay Gauer Upper Barn

    1. Initially very tight for the first 20-30 minutes. A trait shared with the 97 Indigene. With time, notes of honeyed fruit and caramel. Very ripe and full bodied, almost dense. The fruit filled, finish was amazingly clean and pure.

      95 points - Tasted
      774 Views
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  16. 1999 Marcassin Pinot Noir Blue-Slide Ridge Vineyard

    1. Black cherry, truffle earth, spice and coca aromatics led into a big, lush, powerful, high alcohol Pinot Noir. This is not a wallflower of a wine.

      94 points - Tasted
      2081 Views
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  17. 1999 Marcassin Pinot Noir Marcassin Vineyard

    1. Mint, truffle, licorice, black raspberry, earth, spice and citrus notes open to a long, suave, mouth feel. The wine ends with licorice, black cherry and a note of fresh citrus. Tasted blind, this was an impressive Pinot Noir.

      96 points - Tasted
      1723 Views
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  18. 1999 Marcassin Chardonnay Marcassin Vineyard

    1. Soaring lemon, pear, apple, mineral aromatics. Depth, concentration and complexity. Mouth filling thick, rich and long.

      97 points - Tasted
      1649 Views
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  19. 1994 Marcassin Chardonnay Gauer Upper Barn

    1. The Marcassin blew everyone at the table away! I do not drink much white wine, but I would drink this anytime, anyplace, anywhere. It had it all! The wine had a rich, oily, unctuous texture and a palate filled with ripe summer fruit with flavors and sensations that lasted on your palate.

      95 points - Tasted
      1166 Views
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