Sunday, June 27, 2010

****+ $$ The Black Chook, Shiraz/Viognier, 2005, McLaren Vale, Australia - Wine Tasting & Review

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Original Review, December, 2007:
In Australia, "chook" means chicken. Hard not to guess that by looking at the label for The Black Chook. This McLaren Vale shiraz is touched with 5% viognier for aromatics and balance, as is done with some regularity among Aussie shiraz.

Poured right from the opened bottle, the wine shows deep magenta/purple, completely opaque in the center. As you swirl the wine, aromas of freshly baked sweet breads already fill the room. Interesting. Putting your nose closer, the yeast aromas give way to a slightly rubberier funk mixed in with the clean-laundry fruit. I must say, not quite what I was expecting from the viognier. The worst of the rubber fades quickly though, leaving a dusty fruit.

On the palate, this all knits together wonderfully. Creamy bright fruits come up to the top of your mouth, while the yeasty bread fills the crevices. A bit of sweet cocoa is there too, alongside ripe black cherries and blueberries. Finish lasts and lasts. I'll stick with this. Four stars out of five. Great value too.

Robert Parker of Wine Advocate liked this also, awarding 91 points, and saying, "A bigger, richer version of the value-priced Woop Woop, this cuvee, which is made by the irrepressible Ben Riggs, is produced primarily from McLaren Vale and Langhorne Creek fruit. The result is a fabulous value composed of 95% Shiraz and 5% Viognier that is aged in mostly used French oak for eight months. Its deep ruby/purple color is accompanied by serious blackberry and currant notes intermixed with pepper and spice. This wine offers high levels of seduction, lushness, and richness at a ridiculously low price. Enjoy it over the next 3-4 years. Drink 2006-2010."

Updated review, two and a half years later, June, 2010:  Color is consistent, though at the edges I see more magenta now than purple.  The aroma has settled quite a bit, more mature now, with dust and a core of ripe purple fruit.   On the palate, though, all the aromatics burst forth once again - black cherries and ripe blueberries and dust and that sweet cocoa once again.  Heavenly.  A plus for longevity.  Awesome value!

Following long decant, two days in partial bottle, kept cool:   Aroma has fattened and flattened out a bit too much.  Palate still quite intact, with a bit of oxidized iron. No need for the extended decant.

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