The Liquid Diet

This Week in The Liquid Diet: We take a complete 180 from the hustle and bustle of last week’s misadventures in drinking responsibly.  I attempted a much more elegant and serene approach this week. Our journey of discovery is of the Oenophilian variety, which always makes me feel like a bonified gentleman!  A small, tapas-style pairing at Spuntino with Jacob Harkins yields a very quaffable Colorado wine derived from a fickle, Colorado-grown grape. A new month means a new menu at Twelve which means a new opportunity to be delighted by great food and fancy French wine.  Not to be outdone by last week I made sure to pack both these excursions into one evening to keep my street cred!

Wednesday August 17, 2011 at 7:16pm MST:

I had a feeling Wednesday morning that a quick call to my buddy Jacob Harkins of to touch base would be a good idea – Turns out I was right!   Jacob invited me to a tasting and paring he was hosting at Spuntino that night featuring all Colorado wines.  Thinking not of myself, of course, but of the responsibility I have to Denver Off The Wagon to consume alcoholic beverages, I accepted the invitation.  The wines were accompanied by small bites from Chef Jose, who was literally in his first week working at Spuntino.  One glance into the kitchen (or lack thereof – there’s no kitchen equipment to be seen) and you are even more impressed by the quality of the food.  Like my good friends at The Squeaky Bean they are preparing foods mostly just with the power of hopes and dreams! Well done!  The wine I really need to tell you about is the ’08 Alfred Eames Cellars Pinot Noir. Yeah, a pinot noir from Colorado – and it was damn good!  It was paired alongside a duo of Thai Eggplant and Petite Braised Pork Shank.  Knowing how difficult pinot grapes are to grow I nearly dismissed the potential of this wine, but then I put my big schnozz into it and immediately started weeping.  It smelled like rich peppered bacon, and I love bacon.  After a bite of the pork shank and a bit of mushroom risotto, the bright acidity shone through and I was fuming that I never knew there was someone in Colorado making such an amazing wine.  The structure, flavor, aroma, finish were all exactly what I want out of a pinot and the food friendly nature of it was so ‘Old World’.  Completely satisfied and completely stunned I walked out the door and on to the next whiskey bar. Get your hands on this wine or I will find you!

Wednesday August 17, 2011 at 9:02pm MST:

With a stupefied look on my face from the schooling at Spuntino, I strolled into Twelve Restaurant for part two of my gorging and wine consuming.  Before even making it through the door I was shaking babies and kissing hands.  It was like industry night at Twelve, but I won’t bore you with name dropping.  I was feeling the love of the warm welcomes from Chef Jeff and Somm extraordinaire Tristan, but the feeling also could have been anticipation of the glass of Prosecco waiting for me.  I settled down to what I knew was going to be a meal firing on all cylinders and then put my alcoholic future in the hands of Tristan.  I was thinking white and minerality.  With merely those two words he was off and came back with three tasters.  All three were exactly what I want, but one in particular kicked me in the shin and said “Look at me!” – a French wine from the Loire Valley.  I consider myself a student of wine and am a big fan of old world wines, but I am equally conscious to never be that guy who drinks pretentious French wine.  Despite all that I found myself drinking with my pinky out.  The wine in question: an ’09 Touraine Domaine du Pre Baron Sauvignon Blanc from the central Loire Valley (I’m out of breath!).  I think sometimes it’s the overly wordy names of French wines that endow them with their power. The sweetbreads and the poached egg I paired with this really elevated the fruit and limestone characteristics of this stupidly good Sauv. The salty fatty goodness of the thymus glands just kept making the wine fight to share in the limelight, and it continued to shine with powerful stone fruit and subtle floral lavender notes.  Its assertive acidity and soothing texture made me want to slap my momma!

Quite a week in the life of The Liquid Diet. What will this week hold in store? Stay tuned!

About Jensen Cummings

Jensen Cummings (@JensenDCummings) is the Executive Chef at Row 14 in downtown Denver. He calls his food "Pangean Cuisine" and his teaching style "Fortune Cookie Philosophy" so you know he's a little off his rocker! His side passion project is to collaborate with brewers on chef/food inspired beers meant to be paired with high end cuisine. Jensen is an avid beer collector, student of spirits, soon to be Certified Cicerone and a sommelier in training. Basically, he is just really into adult beverages and super geeky!

  • elle

    Speaking of Liquid Diets, have you seen Jay Wilson’s experiment with a 46-beer-only-cleanse that he completed during lent this year? It was inspired by the monks of olden days, who allegedly did the same thing. Turns out it’s viable! Jay was one of the speakers at the Beer Bloggers Conference in Portland this last weekend… it’s pretty neat, if you haven’t already checked it out…