The Liquid Diet

This Week in THE LIQUID DIET…..

Despite a trip up to Big Beers, Belgians and Barleywines, this week was really all about the juice.  A cellar dweller finally saw the light of day and very quickly was put down for the count.  It was a special treat for me so I am going to write about it as if I was writing a Eulogy.

Tuesday January 3, 2011 at 10:11 PM MST:

I have taken a long detour from my roots as an Oenophile and dedicated myself to the craft beer scene over the last five years.  Recently I have tried to find a balance of my insatiable thirst.  I am not going to lie, beer still tugs at my heart strings a little harder than wine.   There are however certain bottles of wine whose contents cannot and will not be denied.  They, like a beautiful temptress, are special and they know it!

The occasion presented itself as one such bottle crawled out of the depths of my cellar and introduced itself to the world.  Yes, I know it’s just rotten grape juice, but if you appreciate art then it deserves respect and flowery language.  The year was 2006; the place was Napa, California; the grape was Cabernet Sauvignon and at the hands of Trefethen Family Vineyards a star was born.

Trefethen does two things exceptionally well: make wine and make wine.  Their 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon from Oak Knoll District is a prime example of why a crazy adventure they started in the 60’s has truly come to fruition.  I felt more excited to open this bottle than I did any of my Christmas presents this year!

In my haste I rip that cork right out and it make a bellowing “pop” sound and I wince knowing that my Som mentors would not be too impressed with my lack of technique.  Cork looks nice (side bar- don’t ever smell the cork, it just smells like cork! Feel the cork to make sure it is not soggy or brittle.  Look to see if the wine has excessively seeped through the cork.  Don’t smell it!) , so far so good.  The stunning burgundy red liquid pours out of the bottle seemingly by its own will.  It dances and swirls around the glass like a puppy just let out to play.  Then, it settles in, poised ready to strike.

By now I had composed myself from my previous faux pas and aerated, sniffed, and observed the wine. You know, “watching, judging, judging, look at the baby”.  One final inhalation of aroma and I bring the glass to my mouth and the nectar hits my lips.  Some retro-nasal aeration and finally I can just enjoy the simple complexity of a job well done.

As much as my quest to drink the best adult beverages the world has to offer because of what they are or how they taste, what I cherish most is feeling a connection to the people who have dedicated their lives to the pursuit of brilliance.  To put everything they have into a simple glass bottle and say “this is who I am” is courageous and noble.  Most people spend their lives hiding from such judgment, but these passionate, slightly crazy people run at it head first.  Oh, and the wine was nothing short of amazing!  I have a laundry list of descriptors and adjectives, but you have to put it in your mouth to really understand. I don’t like to write reviews, rather just bare witness.  Did that sound too biblical?

It should be understood that grasping and appreciating something great is what separates us from the animals, but too many of us don’t take the time or make the effort.  Whoever you are or whatever you are into, take the time and make the effort and you will not regret it!  If not for yourself, than just because I said so.

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!