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 of Hermitage, where the Marsanne grape variety dominates.
A wine that really does offer something for a large array of individuals, from someone purely interested in a nice drink to those seeking to explore the nuances of these “alternate” varieties. The Viognier certainly takes centre stage on the nose in the guise of stone fruits, candied ginger and florals. In the background for those keen on honing their senses, Marsanne adds slightly more exotic notes of green mango, hay and almond. The palate has a lovely medium bodied weight to it, without any of that oiliness that over ripe Viognier can deliver. Precise acid throughout and a mild pithy texture on the finish ensure freshness and spice to keep the sweetness of the fruit in check. Fruity and spicy yet dry make this an all occasions wine.