We reckon d'Arenberg are not only the masters of great wine names, but of having some of the best value/quality around. There are no shortcuts taken in the production of any of the wines – low yields, foot trodden, basket pressed all make for seriously good wines.
Crawl out of your Chardonnay, Sauvignon or Gris shell and try something a little off to the side. This Rhone blend from the McLaren Vale is just thing to keep you comfortable moving out of your comfort zone. It has delicious flavours, wonderful texture and makes for a cracking glass of wine.
The two white Rhone grape varieties marry together very well here, with the apricot stone fruit, ginger peel flavours of the Viognier being balanced by the lemon/orange pith flavours added from the Marsanne. Medium bodied with a touch of juicy acidity adding freshness.
Winery notes (2021 Vintage)
"Many of McLaren Vale’s vineyards are on free-draining soils underlain with limestone, formed by the calcareous remains of the local marine fauna. One such creature was the Hermit Crab, a reclusive little crustacean that inhabits the cast-off shells of others. The Osborn family thought the name appropriate for this, McLaren Vale’s first ever blend of Viognier and Marsanne. “Hermit” is also an abbreviation for the French appellation where the Marsanne grape variety dominates.
Small batches of grapes are crushed gently and transferred to stainless steel basket presses. Fermentation is long and moderately cool to retain fresh fruit characters. About 4% underwent wild fermentation for extra complexity. 14% of the Viognier is fermented in aged French Oak to add mouth feel and support the subtle Viognier tannins. The Marsanne component received similar treatment, but was not blended until the final stages of the winemaking process.
Pale straw in colour. A lovely perfumed orange and citrus blossom, green papaya, tropical pineapple and grapefruit notes. A slight whiff of almond kernel and hazelnut presents itself the more you swirl the wine in the glass, add a sneaky complexity. Some ginger flower spices thanks to the Viognier component. Refreshing style with great vibrancy, mouth filling generosity and lovely long finish."
92/100 qwinerevews.com (2021 Vintage)
"Get around this bargain lovers. Freshly picked apricots, apricot nectar, cashews and nougat. A ribbon of cinnamon spice weaves its way through the mouth. There's a suggestion of sourdough bread and mandarin peel too. Plump and rounded, it has a great mouthfeel as it rolls around joyously. Those fine spices just continue to tap away – there's some serious gravitational pull here for those who enjoy their white wines with a little weight and presence. A no brainer for the money."
Huon Hooke, The Real Review, March 2022 (2021 Vintage)
"For many years, this blend has been a byword for great value in affordable, medium-bodied, soft dry white wine. With a very light yellow colour, its bouquet is spicy and layered with almond-like touches. The wine is rounded, rich and slightly grippy on palate with notable tannins and a quite generous, ample and lasting flavour. There’s a tickle of sweetness in perfect balance and an enduring aftertaste and a clean dry finish thanks to the gentle tannins. Top value."
Reviews for previous vintages below…
Trophy for Champion Other White – New Zealand International Wine Show 2021 (2020 Vintage)
Double Gold Medal – New Zealand International Wine Show 2021 (2020 Vintage)
NZIWS Judges Comments (2020 Vintage)
"A blend of Marsanne and Viognier the bouquet has notes of fresh stone fruits and honeysuckle flowers followed by a palate bursting with fresh fruit – pineapple, papaya, apple, apricot with a touch of grapefruit and the slightest hint of ginger. The finish is long and lingering."
93/100 Nick Stock, JamesSuckling.com (2018 Vintage)
"The Viognier leads this along with ripe apricots and ginger. The palate delivers an assertive twist of Marsanne’s lemon punch."
88/100 Campbell Mattison, The Wine Front, April 2019 (2018 Vintage)
"Blend of viognier and marsanne from McLaren Vale. Fun and fruity. Most enjoyable to drink. Florals, pears and apple. The wine equivalent of Juicy Fruit chewing gum, in a good way."