The Chook 2015 Shiraz Viognier, McLaren Vale

Posted by Keith Wallace

Like much of Australian lingo, Chook has forboding silliness to it.  WTF is a Chook? Is it an insult? A term of affection? I went looking for clues. In Shakespeare’s England, it was a term of endearment, first recorded in Love’s Labor Lost. A wine of endearment is unlikely to have a chicken on the label.

A bit more searching, and I found that the answer was so obvious as to be perplexing. In modern Australia, Chook means a chicken.  A freaking chicken. How did that etymological acid trip happen? The real question is: whose best friend was a chicken, and why did the phrase stick?

Enough of that; let’s get to the wine. This wine is the product of the boutique winery Penny’s Hill and winemaker Alexia Roberts. For good or ill, it’s a winery that has stuck with the classic Aussie model: big delicious jammy wines. It’s a bit out of fashion now, but a very appealing style.

On the nose,  crushed herbs and smoke over ginger and chocolate. The palate gets a bit simpler, with dried fig and blackberries rolling into nutmeg and cinnamon. The varietal and reductive gamey notes come into the finish. Medium to full-bodied with plenty of silky tannins and boozy richness to drown a goose.

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