Red, white and black : The Chook Shiraz/Viognier

The Chook Shiraz Viognier 2012

Region: MacLaren Vale, South Australia, Australia

Grape: Syrah / Viognier

Price: $18


As I was going through the wine list at a restaurant, my eyes got drawn to an original wine, a red and white blend, this can seem counter-intuitive until you remember that many champagne wines are a blend of white and red grapes, or that white grapes can be blended in Chateauneuf du Pape wines. Contrary to popular belief, mixing red and white will not make a rose! Here the two varieties are Shiraz and Viogner. I love Shiraz, and I love Viognier, so there are chances I will enjoy the blend.

MacLaren Vale in South Australia offers a climate similar to the Mediterranean one with the benefit of cooling breezes from the ocean. The Chook is collaboration between some producers that wanted to make bold wines from the region. They also produce a sparkling Shiraz on which I’d like to put my hands. Oh, and Chook is Australian for “chicken”

Eye: Very deep ruby, are you sure there are some white grapes in there?

Nose: Clean, medium-plus intensity. Blackberries and black pepper notes

Palate: Dry, medium-plus acidity, medium-plus body, round tannins, long finish

At first glance, this wine appears to fall more under the Shiraz than the Viognier blueprint. Dark berries and pepper with a deep ruby color is pretty Shiraz-like. I think the Viognier contributions are on the more subtle side, with the body, smoothness and acidity that help support the Shiraz aromas. I didn’t get any of the traditional Viognier notes such as peach or apricot. It is possible they were there but buried underneath pepper and berries.

Food pairings: I had it with chicken, I mean, there is a chicken on the bottle, what was I supposed to do? It would work great with grilled meat in general.

Overall opinion: I really enjoyed it. The combination of Viognier smoothness and the spicy, flavorful Shiraz made for a great combination. You get the bold Shiraz flavors but the wine remains refreshing and smooth. I will buy a couple bottles and look for the sparkling.

Grade: 7.5/10

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