d'Arenberg The Hermit Crab Viognier Marsanne 2011
Rhone White Blends from McLaren Vale, Australia
Contrary to a lot of what was written about the 2011 vintage, sound fruit, particularly from white grapes benefited from the cooler conditions, producing wines of grace and finesse. The Hermit Crab is a great example of this. Stylistically it is sitting in the white peach and nectarine zone accompanied by a hedonistic ginger and spice character. Florals abound.
The palate is slightly more restrained than what we would normally associate with McLaren Vale Viognier and Marsanne and again those crunchy, white stone fruit characters are at the fore. An exotic pistachio, green almond character (thank you Marsanne), draws the wine back in, leading to a long savoury and mineral finish. Not a hint of fatness.
Decanter - "This winery’s story began in 1912 and its red stripe label is as distinctive as the flamboyant, fourth-generation winemaker Chester Osborn. There’s great intensity of elegant aromas and flavours here, with a zesty blend of lime, apple and apricot fruit, plus a long finish. "
Wine Spectator - "Fresh and lively, with a definite spicy edge to the pear and pineapple flavors, lingering with a hint of apricot on the open finish."
Wine & Spirits - "Chester Osborn named this blend for the creatures on the beaches of McLaren Vale where he likes to drink it. And it tastes like the beach, combining the heat of McLaren Vale with spice and salt, the pungent citrus scent of viognier tamed by the nuttiness of marsanne. It tastes like it would get along with critters from the sea, particularly crab.
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One of the undisputed kings of Australian Shiraz and Rhone varietals, d'Arenberg has managed to turn individuality into an art form by doing a whole lot of little things differently. The original vineyards were established by Joseph Osborn in 1912 in the McLaren Vale region of South Australia. A century on, the estate has grown to 345 acres, and the mantle now rests with fourth-generation winemaker, Chester Osborn. By maintaining a focus on traditional winemaking and nurturing their old-vine material, the Osborn clan has successfully established themselves as one of the country's leading producers of concentrated wines that are full of character. View all d'Arenberg Wines
About McLaren ValeView a map of McLaren Vale wineries
McLaren Vale is home to the oldest Australian vineyard, with grapes planted in 1838. It's a coastal area with the Indian Ocean bordering the west, which contributes a cooling factor that prevents the grapes from getting too hot. In all, the climate is a perfect one for the vines.
Notable FactsIn McLaren Vale, there are vines as far as the eye can see. As in other parts of Australia, Shiraz and Grenache are the most-planted grapes of the region. While red rules, whites are able to hold their own here too. With the warm yet reasonable Mediterranean climate, white grapes like Chardonnay, Semillon and even some Sauvignon Blanc grow well. The wines are round and smooth and the producers in the region are excellent.
About AustraliaLike the United States, which is about the same size, Australia's winemaking regions are huddled into one or two pockets of the country. The state of South Australia, which produces about 60% of the country's wine, also has the most wineries and sub-regions, including McLaren Vale, Clare Valley, Coonawarra and Barossa Valley. New South Wales is home to the Hunter Valley, while the smaller, southern state of Victoria is best known for theYarra Valley. Head way west to the very large state of Western Australia and you'll find the tiny region of Margaret River at the southern tip.
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