Like much of Australian lingo, Chook has a 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 just 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. It’s a winery, for good or ill, that have 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.