Wine varietals and styles


By Halliday Wine Companion

22 Mar, 2024

Get to know marzemino [mar-zeh-MEE-no].

Go to section: Marzemino tasting characteristics | What is marzemino? | Marzemino around the world | How to pair food with marzemino | Serving temperature for marzemino | Marzemino to try

Marzemino is a red grape that hails from northern Italy, particularly in and around Trentino. 

Marzemino tasting characteristics

Marzemino is known for red and black fruits (such as cherry, blackberry and plum), along with herbal and spicy nuances akin to serious pinot noir. 

Pinot fans will be drawn to marzemino’s juicy fruit notes and, with soft tannins, so too lovers of gamay. As its genetic lineage suggests, well-made versions sit comfortably alongside barbera, nebbiolo and lagrien.

Trentino in northern ItalyMarzemino thrives in northern Italy, particularly in and around Trentino, which is known for its rugged terrain.

What is marzemino?

Marzemino is a red grape from northern Italy. It has the fabulous claim to fame of appearing in Mozart’s opera Don Giovanni in the lyric: ‘Versa il vino, Eccellente marzemino!’, meaning, ‘Bring the wine, excellent marzemino’.

Genetically related to lagrein and teroldego, it’s a late-ripening variety that produces medium-bodied wines in ruby red hues with moderate acidity. Most often made into a still wine, marzemino occasionally appears in a gently sparkling format labelled ‘frizzante’. 

Marzemino around the world

A challenging variety to grow, marzemino is rarely produced outside of Italy, although Soumah Wines planted a small plot on their Yarra Valley estate in 2018, with their first harvest in 2021 growing an Italianate portfolio featuring nebbiolo and barbera. 

“We believe the Yarra Valley has similar characteristics to northern Italy, short but hot summers and cool nights throughout,” says Soumah owner Brett Butcher. “We fell in love with the bright sour cherry and plum flavours of marzemino, along with its medium-weight qualities. It’s not too dense and heavy, which makes it very much a red of today.”

Gorgonzola being cutPair marzemino with strong cheeses like gorgonzola.

How to pair food with marzemino

Marzemino wines complement traditional Italian fare such as pasta and risotto and can also work with braised meats (think beef or mushroom stew on creamy polenta) and strong cheeses such as gorgonzola.

Serving temperature for marzemino

The ideal serving temperature for marzemino is 16–18 degrees.

Marzemino to try

2022 Soumah Single Vineyard Marzemino
2023 Chrismont La Zona Marzemino Frizzante
2019 Church Road McDonald Series Marzemino, Hawkes Bay NZ

Words: Nola James.