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d'Arenberg The Hermit Crab Viognier Marsanne 2011

Rhone White Blends from McLaren Vale, Australia
  • D91
  • WS90
  • W&S90
0% ABV
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Winemaker Notes

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.

Critical Acclaim

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D 91
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.
WS 90
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.
W&S 90
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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d'Arenberg

d'Arenberg

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d'Arenberg, Australia
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d'Arenberg is one of the undisputed kings of Australian Shiraz and other Rhone varieties that have historically defined the region. A century on, their vineyards have grown to some 450 acres in McLaren Vale, including Shiraz dating back to d'Arenberg's first plantings in 1912, and nearly one-third of McLaren Vale's old bush-vine Grenache. Fourth generation winemaker, Chester Osborn, recently converted all of the family's vineyards to organics and biodynamics and moved to solar energy in the winery. All the while, in terms of winemaking, not much has changed--all the wines are basket-pressed, the reds foot-trodden during fermentation; everything is done in small batches, leading to an impressive array of bottlings every year, each showing a different facet of McLaren Vale terroir. Having been inducted into Wine & Spirits Magazine's Hall of Fame for earning a place on its Top 100 Wineries nine times, this accolade is a reflection of d'Arenberg's revered reputation worldwide

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McLaren Vale

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Known for opulent red wines with intense power and concentration, McLaren Vale is home to perhaps the most “classic” style of Australian Shiraz. Vinified on its own or in Rhône blends with Grenache and Mourvèdre, these hot-climate wines are deeply colored and high in extract and alcohol with signature hints of dark chocolate and licorice. Cabernet Sauvignon is also produced in a similar style. Whites, often made from Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc tend to be opulent and full of tropical, stone and citrus fruit.

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Rhône White Blends

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Full-bodied and flavorful, white Rhône blends originate from France’s Rhône Valley. Today these blends are also becoming popular in other regions, proving most successful in Spain, Australia and California. Typically some combination of Grenache blanc, Marsanne, Roussanne and Viognier form the basis of a white Rhône blend with varyiong degrees of flexibility depending on the exact appellation.

In the Glass

Each variety contibutes something unique and different. Round, textural Grenache blanc gives green apple and white stone fruit flavors; weighty Marsanne adds structure and honeysuckle aromas; russet-colored Roussanne lends intriguing herbal, tea-like notes while Viognier provides a creamy texture and elegant aromatics. The flavor of the final wine will depend on the chosen components of the blend and their respective proportions.

Perfect Pairings

White Rhône blends are quite versatile food pairing wines and can work with light to medium rich meals that might often be matched to red wines. Heavier fish dishes with bold seasoning like grilled swordfish with caper butter or baked, herb-crusted mahi mahi are natural allies for these flavorful wines. Other ideal dishes include roast pork in mustard sauce, poached lobster with beurre blanc, or a rich and savory vegetable quiche. `

Sommelier Secret

In the Northern Rhône, blends of Marsanne and Roussanne are common in the appellations of St.-Joseph, Crozes-Hermitage, Hermitage and St-Péray. Condrieu and Château-Grillet can produce single-varietal Viognier only. The Southern Rhône, on the other hand, has much more variety, with many more permitted grapes including the ones named above as well as Bourboulenc, Clairette, Picpoul and Ugni Blanc.

GZT6879615_2011 Item# 124237