On The Shelf – Koerner Wine Shiraz Mourvèdre

By The Lady

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We believe that summer is the perfect time to be lapping up some delicious wines … well, any time of the year is a good time. Who are we kidding? But seriously, summer Down Under is great as the evenings are warm, light, and lend themselves for sipping down a glass or two of vino to wash away the day. Our most recent venture is with local winemakers Koerner Wines.

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Koerner Wines is based in the Watervale area of the Clare Valley and run by SA brothers Damon and Jonathan Koerner. While they have both spent time gaining valuable experience around the nation and the globe, they both grew up in the Clare Valley and I suspect they have a nostalgic urge to keep it local. Thus, most of the grapes used in their wine comes from the local surrounds and from a vineyard owned by their own father! Koerner specialise in super-low production runs, think batches of only 10 cases, so when you come across one make sure you snap it up quick like we did. We managed to acquire a few of their delicious treats, and decided to start with the Shiraz Mourvèdre.

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The Shiraz Mourvèdre was a perfect blend of the rich Shiraz and the bold Mourvèdre. It had a bright colour, attractive colour that really caught the eye.  The wine also had the perfect amount of weight and oomph to it for a summer’s eve. You can definitely drink this now, there was almost a juicy freshness to it, but if cellaring is your thang then we could see this developing some deeper, richer and smoother flavour. Additionally, the spiciness and fruity aromas were rather prominent in this lovely beauty and translated into a delicious drop of wine with a nice balance between dark berries and spice. We also really love the design of their labels. Each bottle proudly dons the same filigree style grapevine in a rainbow of wine inspired colours. Let me tell you, I am certain their is a pot of gold at the end of the Koerner rainbow!

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On The Shelf – By Jingo Wines Nero Rosso

By The Lady

By Jingo! Nero Russo

We, dear readers, are very lucky ducks! A dear friend of ours spoiled us this Christmas by giving us a bottle of By Jingo! Nero Rosso.

By Jingo! Nero Russo

By Jingo! are a South Australian winery who focus on growing grapes and making wines that suit the areas in which they are produced. With grapes sourced from vineyard areas such as Adelaide Hills, Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale and the Southern Fleurieu, you know their wines are going to be tasty as a wine can be. In fact, the Nero Rosso includes grapes that were grown above the nudist beach at Maslin’s Beach so you know things are bound to get a little funky at By Jingo! They also have on offer a range of unique blends, which is both exciting and refreshing.

By Jingo! Nero Russo

The Nero Rosso itself is a perfect red wine to enjoy on a hot summer’s day and boy has it been hot lately. All we want to do is sit back, sip some damn fine wine, and try not to stick to the couch. This beauty has such a grace about it and goes down so easily, qualities we are lacking as we slowly melt. The Nero Rosso combines the likes of a Grenache, Montepulciano as well as a Zinfandel. Personally, I can really taste the summery notes of the Montepulciano coming through in this wine. It has a deep red colour and a full-bodied flavour of dark berries and currants, yet it’s quite light at the same time. The mouthfeel is actually quite fresh and very smooth with lots of nice fruit flavours and just a hint of tart, acidic tannins. You can easily polish off the whole bottle in one sitting, it’s sneaky good that way, and it’s the perfect bottle to just pick up drink no questions asked.

By Jingo! Nero Russo

Their label design is also spot on. The names of the wine and winery are encased by a plethora of beautiful, colourful blooms and fruits. Again, the fresh and summery taste of the wine truly shines through their label design. As I looked at the bottle, even prior to opening it, I was able to imagine the fragrant smells and textures of the Nero Rosso by way of the dapper design on By Jingo’s graphics. It was a very inviting label, offering up a veritable cornucopia for the eyes and we definitely got a bit of a hot flush in anticipation when we saw it or maybe that was just the oppressive heat.

 

So, if summer is totally your jam and you’re in the mood for a red, we suggest you pick up a bottle of By Jingo! wine to enjoy on a balmy summer eve with friends aplenty.

 

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On The Shelf – Delinquente Wines Montepulciano

By The Lady

“Sometimes you’ve got to heed the call of the wild child within. Sometimes you’ve got to go home with a bunch of grapes who’re ugly as sin”

Girl, you know we went home with those “ugly as sin” grapes and showed them the time of their lives. By drinking them.
Bullet Dodger
We here at The Cocktail Challenge always like to keep our eyes peeled for dapper looking, locally made liquor. As soon as we saw the labels of Delinquente Wine Co., we knew that we needed to have some. We have been wanting to try this one out for AGES. Finally, we stumbled upon this beauty during a browsing sesh at East End Cellars and we felt like we’d hit the jackpot.
Bullet Dodger
Delinquente Wines are a local crew, sourcing their grapes in the Riverland and producing their wine here in South Australia. Not only do they kick ass already by being a small batch local wine producer, but they also ensure that their wines are vegan friendly. While The Gentleman is just about the opposite of a vegan, I myself dabble in the ways of veganity. Many people are not aware, but a great deal of liquor makes use of the ingredients that render their products as not suitable for vegans and vegetarians. Luckily, the vegos and vegans of the world can now get their draaank on with Delinquente Wine Co!

Bullet Dodger
The artwork for their labels and their website is created by local street artist Ankles. All of their current wines are presented in a very similar design style with each featuring their own heavily tattooed badass character to personify the wine. The Montepulciano features “The Bullet Dodger” character, with his heavily tattooed face, mullet hair and pouted lips. We love the little story Delinquente have printed on the back of the bottle to introduce us to “The Bullet Dodger”, it just gives the wine extra character and intrigue. Plus it’s quite hilarious as we all know exactly the type of person Delinquente are describing. Other bottles present an illustrated Pretty Boy and a stylised Screaming Betty.  I have seen Ankles work out and about in Adelaide and have loved the artist’s style for a long time. Really, it is no surprise that I am swooning over Delinquente Wine Co and their inked individuals.
Bullet Dodger
The wine itself is incredibly easy to drink and rather delicious. It has a rather light colour and a touch of translucency (is this a word? After polishing off the whole bottle it is definitely a word). The lighter plum colour was unexpected, but still a delightful looking glass o’ wine. The scent of The Bullet Dodger is full of fruity and berry scents with a creamy texture to boot! It is very light and we feel it would go perfectly with a number of meals, or also suitable on its own. It leaves this lovely spiciness on your tongue which would stand up perfectly on its own or compliment a meal rather well. They refer to the grapes they use as “ugly” but think this wine is anything but. The Bullet Dodger is a beautiful wine inside and out.
Bullet Dodger
We are thoroughly looking forward to continuing our Delinquente ways by trying some of their other tasty treats. We’ll keep you posted on which tattooed creatures we next meet!

Bullet Dodger

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Now Serving – Swindler’s Sangria

By The Gentleman

Swindler's Sangria

It took me a while to convince The Lady to let me make this drink for her but I got there in the end. The Lady has enjoyed good wine for longer than I have and this basically goes against all her sensibilities as a wine drinker.

 

This drink is based off the Kalimotxo, which is a Spanish cocktail that is essentially red wine, typically a cheaper bottle or cask, mixed with Coca Cola. It’s a cheap drink that you can make a lot of, and it helps to make some rather moderate wine taste a bit better. The story goes that the original Kalimotxo was created when some wine had started to go off and developed a sour taste so cola was added to mask the flavour. I came across it in Paris after I met one of my brother’s friends who was from Argentina. She said the drink was also popular there, particularly in the Summer, but bartenders always gave her funny looks in Paris when she would order red wine and a cola and then pour in the cola while she was standing at the bar. I was still on my wine L plates at this stage, basically being force fed red wine because it’s Paris and that’s what you do in Paris, so I didn’t mind mixing things up while I still got accustomed to being a wine guy. We hear at the Cocktail Challenge like to jazz things up a bit, so we thought we’d make this drink a little more fancy with our favourite new wine. We decided to call it a Swindler’s Sangria because it is like a Sangria that a con man would try to sell you, a sneaky cheat version of the famous classic that’s just a bit different.

Swindler's Sangria

Kalimotxo

2 dashes Mister Bitters Pink Grapefruit Bitters

Red Wine (we used Hither & Yon Shiraz Cabernet)

Cola (we used Fentiman’s Curiosity Cola)

Lemon slice

Orange slice

 

In a high ball glass add a lot of ice and your dashes of bitters. Half fill the glass with red wine and then top with cola. Add your slices of fruit to the glass and you can squeeze some extra juice in there if you want it to be extra fruity (and why wouldn’t you darling?).

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The people at fine wineries may cringe at our use of an excellent wine in the Swindler’s Sangria, but we decided to take the stance that you shouldn’t make a drink with something you wouldn’t drink on its own and Hither & Yon is something we’d damn well drink on its own. Plus the Fentiman’s Cola has quite a strong and pronounced flavour so we needed a wine that was equal to the task.

Swindler's Sangria

I think the best thing to say about the Swindler’s Sangria is that I got The Lady to drink it and she didn’t hate it! In fact she quite enjoyed it, much to her surprise. Success! The drink has a real Sangria sort of quality to it, hence the Swindler’s Sangria. You get this really lovely boozy fruit aroma that is just damn enticing. The Lady’s biggest concern was the cola and it just taking over everything but luckily it doesn’t. You can definitely adjust the ratio of red wine to cola but at 50/50 you get slightly toned down flavours of both the red wine and cola that allows them to blend together quite nicely. The flavours are definitely reminiscent of Sangria but it’s not as tart or as strong as the flavours haven’t had time to soak in. Basically if you’ve got a hankering for some Sangria right now (!) then this is the drink for you. In just a few ticks you can be sipping a delightful blend of fruits, red wine and subtle sweetness from the cola while imagining you’re in Spain soaking up the sun.

Swindler's Sangria

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Disclaimer: The Cocktail Challenge was provided a free sample bottle of Hither & Yon 2013 Shiraz Cabernet for a previous article. Although that post was sponsored all opinions are our own.

On The Shelf – Hither & Yon 2013 Shiraz Cabernet

By The Gentleman and The Lady

Hither & Yon

Let’s do this! Sometimes we forget how lucky we are to live in South Australia. Searching for good booze and great design sees us looking far and wide to find something new and different, but sometimes we just need to remember to look in our own backyard. It’s easy to forget that South Australia is a world renowned wine producer filled with many excellent wineries, you just sort of become accustomed to the fact and take it for granted. So we were both pleasantly surprised when we discovered Hither & Yon, a winery located in McLaren Vale, South Australia.

Hither & Yon

Hither & Yon, run by the Leask brothers Malcolm and Richard, focuses on sustainable grape growing and allowing the grapes to naturally express themselves in their wines. Their goal is to be able to leave their McLaren Vale vineyard to the next generation of Leask’s in an even better condition than it already is, which is an admirable goal that all winemakers should aspire to. We were lucky enough to able to get our hands on the newly released 2013 Shiraz Cabernet, and Hither & Yon provide a tremendous amount of information about where the grapes were grown, the conditions under which they grew and the process they went through to get on our table. It is rather fascinating and enlightening to be provided with this amount of information and detail, such as the fact that this vintage was ready earlier than expected and also experienced less disease resulting in cleaner fruit. If you consider yourself a wine aficionado or just want to educate yourself more about where your wine is coming from then its a delightful extra that shows how much Hither & Yon care about their wine.

Hither & Yon

What really attracted The Lady and I to Hither & Yon is their design philosophy. Each Hither & Yon wine is based on the same classic design, a white label with Hither and Yon written in an almost label maker style. Separating the two is a giant ampersand which is where Hither & Yon gets a bit funky. Each ampersand is big and bold, becoming a canvas for the team at Voice Design to give each bottle it’s own unique style.  The whole line showcases a bunch of great different styles but we have no problems saying the 2013 Shiraz Cabernet is our favourite. The label utilises a really cool nautical tattoo style that reminds us of one of our favourite tattoo shops, Salon Serpent Tattoo and the super talented Angelique Houtkamp. The shape of the bottle is subtle and pleasing to the eye, and compliments the classic look of the wine’s label. The colours of pale pinks and blues used in the tattoo-styled ampersand are warm and inviting. The illustration used on this wine’s design depicts clouds and the ocean and this view is almost a secret peeping hole into a gorgeous, colourful sea-side world. Personally, we would love to be watching this view as we drink Hither & Yon. Can we make this happen people?!

Hither & Yon

Hither & Yon’s 2013 Shiraz Cabernet tastes so very fresh and new, despite its deep dark purple colour which shows just little flashes of red. The wine has not had any time to mellow out, instead it just envelops you in big dark fruit flavours and quite prominent tannins. It leaves a rather pleasant dryness, particularly on the roof of your mouth, and there are hints of bitterness in the aftertaste. The Gentleman has been brushing up on his wine tasting lingo and the tannins are rather chewy. As you sip the wine (and it’s definitely more of a sipping wine, which is fine because that way you can savour and enjoy the flavours), you want to run your tongue around your mouth to clean out the tannins. It sounds weird but it’s actually a really nice sensation that makes the wine linger on your palate. In the words of Daym, the difference between a weak red wine and a red wine that has strength is a weak red wine you can gulp down and still talk while a red wine that has strength just absorbs all the moisture in your mouth so even if you wanted to gulp it down all you could do is sip it and nothing but hmm, hmm, hmmm is coming out followed by some mad lip-smacking. Okay that was probably one of the weirdest ways you’ll hear a wine described, but deal with it.

Hither & Yon

Oh my Hither, oh my Yon this is a damn fine Shiraz Cabernet. We did this! Okay we’ll stop quoting Daym now, but seriously if you can get a few bottles then do it and enjoy one now and put one away. We really enjoyed the fresh flavours of this Shiraz Cabernet, but would be really excited to see what it’s like in a few years time.

Hither & Yon

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Disclaimer: The Cocktail Challenge was provided a free sample bottle of Hither & Yon 2013 Shiraz Cabernet for this article. Although this post is sponsored all opinions are our own.

On The Shelf – Some Young Punks Naked on Roller Skates

By The Gentleman

Naked

This is a special entry from The Lady and I, we are finally getting around to talking about one of our favourite wineries, Some Young Punks. Some Young Punks are not only dishing out good looking and great tasting wines, but they are also a proud SA local winemaker.  They were pretty much the winery that introduced me to awesome label design, shaking up my view on an industry that I thought was characterised by traditional and plain labels.

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Some Young Punks was established in 2006. They are part of the new generation of young Australian winemakers who focus on small scale wine production that explores some interesting blends and styles of grape to bring something that mixes a little of the new with the old. The small scale nature makes the wines rather sought after, so make sure you snap up a bottle whenever you see it otherwise you might not be able to enjoy it another time. The Naked on Roller Skates is not the first bottle of Some Young Punks we’ve had, but it’s the bottle that happened to take our fancy at the moment. The wine is part of their Pulp Series of wines, which is inspired by the images associated with ‘low brow’ literature from the 20’s through to the 50’s. The images act as the sirens to draw people’s attention to the wines and help them stand out from the crowd. They certainly achieve that, catching the eye of The Lady and I. The Naked on Roller Skates is the perfect blend of cheekiness and class that the old pinup artist could capture so well. The image is bold and feisty and just looks gorgeous. It shows that sometimes low brow knows how to have a lot more fun than high brow and sometimes you just need to let your hair down and go with it.

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The wine itself is a blend of Shiraz (85%) and Mataro (15%) from McLaren Vale. It has a really deep purple colour to it and strong dark fruity flavours on the nose. The dark fruit flavours continue throughout the wine, you can really pick up deep red and black berry fruits like plum and cherry. The fruits didn’t make the wine too sweet though. I’ve probably had the bottle for about a year, on top of being a 2010 vintage, and the wine has really mellowed out. It’s got a very smooth texture and almost savoury sort of flavour to it. You also get slight hints of liquorice and a really pleasant lingering spiciness. We couldn’t quite put our finger on what, just a general nice spice, which provided a very pleasant aftertaste. The wine also wasn’t too heavy. As you can see The Lady and I indulged in some rather big glasses, but despite the bold, dense flavours the wine itself was not so intense that you felt like you needed to have a nap afterwards. This is something that is always a bonus when you’re trying to feel like a mature, adult human being who drinks wine.

Naked

The wine inside definitely lives up to the label as it’s quite a bold, intense wine yet there’s that surprising smoothness to the finish. We really couldn’t get over the smoothness despite those big flavours. It’s definitely the sign of a high quality wine. Naked on Roller Skates may be the first Some Young Punks wine we have featured on the blog, but it certainly won’t be the last.

Naked

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Boozefood – Red Wine Chocolate Cake

By The Gentleman

Last weekend The Lady went on a trip to Melbourne to visit a friend of ours. Her weekend was filled with cake, coffee, and cocktails. All the essentials in life. Upon returning, I was fearful that she may be in cocktail/coffee/cake withdrawal so I baked her a welcome home present. May I present to you – The Red Wine Chocolate Cake!

Wine Cake

Props go to the very talented people at Smitten Kitchen for providing the inspiration for this recipe, which I made a little extra boozy and indulgent because that’s what we do at The Cocktail Challenge.

Red Wine Chocolate Cake
6 tablespoons (85 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup (145 grams) firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup (50 grams) white granulated sugar
1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
3/4 cup + a good splash extra, I used Innocent Bystander Syrah
2 teaspoon Fee Brothers Aztec Chocolate Bitters
1 cup + 1 tablespoon (133 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Dutch cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Wine Cake

Preheat the oven to 160°C. Grease and line a 9-inch round cake pan with parchment. This is a one bowl recipe so grab a large bowl and on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugars and beat until fluffy. Add the egg and yolk and beat well with the electric mixer, then add the red wine and the chocolate bitters. The batter takes on a lovely purple colour at this stage and may look a little uneven, but that’s alright. Next you’re going to sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt together, right over your wet ingredients. On a low setting mix the mixture until it is 3/4 combined, then grab a spatula and fold the rest together. At this stage I tasted it and decided to add a splash of extra wine. The mixture isn’t too wet so it can take the extra liquid.  Transfer the batter to your prepared pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. The top of the cake should be shiny and smooth when it’s done. Cool in the pan on a rack for about 10 minutes, then flip out of pan and cool the rest of the way on a cooling rack.

Wine Cake

Chocolate Cream

300ml Thickened Cream
1 teaspoon Fee Brothers Aztec Chocolate Bitters
1 teaspoon Mörk Dark Chocolate and River Salt Cacao Powder

Whip your cream. I showed off and did it in a mason jar. No going to the gym for me. Once your cream is pretty whipped, add in the bitters and cacao powder, and whip a little bit more to incorporate. You could maybe add a little bit more of either, but I think the cream was delicious as it was. It had a fantastic flavour, which wasn’t too sweet so it paired well with the cake and didn’t make things too intense. The bitters give it a spice flavour that has a bit of a kick and the cacao powder provides that chocolate flavour, but with the bitterness again making it very tasty without being sickly. You can definitely dollop a big spoonful of this cream on your cake and not worry too much (well maybe you should worry about your waistline, but ain’t nobody got time for that when cream and cake are around). The leftover cream is also amazing added to a Mörk hot chocolate or to flavour your coffee.

Wine Cake

The cake doesn’t really rise and it ends up being a low cake, which feels very much like a dessert cake. Really you can eat cake anytime, and you should, but some cakes just gravitate towards a certain time of day. The mix of wine and bitters also lend it to being an after dinner cake, a fine way to finish off an enjoyable evening. Adding the bitters was a last minute but rather amazing move. We had run out of vanilla essence and I was going to add some brandy or the like instead but then I remembered the bitters I had got from a friend. Chocolate bitters for a chocolate cake, perfect. The bitters just enhanced the flavour and smell so much. Instead of just being chocolate there was a depth to the aroma, a whole host of spices coming out to play. That depth carried over to the flavour, which was so nice. A wonderful blend of spices and chocolate that wasn’t too sweet and really invited you to eat more. In the Smitten Kitchen article they said the wine doesn’t completely cook out. I couldn’t taste booze per se, but some of the fruity flavour of the red wine was there. The red wine also helped make the cake very moist, and deliciously dense. Next time I’d like to really use my Mörk cacao powder in the cake as well. They may scold me for not using it for hot chocolate, which is devine by the way, but the Mörk powder has such a wonderfully deep, dark, and bitter flavour that I think would really add to this already amazing cake.

Wine Cake Wine Cake

Slathered with the chocolate cream this is one fine dessert that is perfect for impressing that special someone. The Lady was certainly happy to see it on the counter when she got home and for a moment she forgot all about her wonderful time in Melbourne and was glad to be home. Good cake will do that to you.

Wine Cake

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