The Tasting Panel magazine

Sept 09

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20 / the tasting panel / september 2009 I f you've ever really enjoyed a Colorado wine, chances are Ben Parsons had something to do with it. A self- proclaimed mad scientist, Ben grew up in the U.K., and received an enology degree from Adelaide Univer- sity in Australia. After answering a Sonoma County clas- sified ad, he was amazed to land a winemaker job with Canyon Wind Winery in Palisade, CO. For eight years, Parsons has made wine and consulted with 16 wineries in Colorado, New Mexico and Missouri. Last year, with the help of investors and local grape farmers, Parsons opened Denver's first urban winery, The Infinite Monkey Theorem, in the Santa Fe Arts District. His Quonset hut–style winery is outfitted with slightly used lab equipment and barrels acquired on a cross-country road trip. Ben's artistic approach to winemaking represents a counterculture in the industry; his mantra is "no vine- yard, no pretense, and only the best grapes." While most of the initial vintage is still aging, the first two releases—a Sauvi- gnon Blanc/Semillon blend and a Riesling—are now available in 70 restaurants and local artisan wine shops. Ben's artistry is easy to spot; the label displays the face of a rather large chimpanzee. The Infinite Monkey Theorem is named for the premise that an incompre- hensible concept—such as infinity, for example—provides order in a chaotic system. Parsons feels that's what he's trying to do in Denver; as he says, "From an alleyway on Santa Fe, we produce the finest wines in Colorado." For more information, go to —Ann Coppinger The Message BottleRock Rocks Downtown L.A. PHOTO: DAVID GADD W e caught up with beer guru Alex Macy at his new gig at the recently opened BottleRock in Downtown Los Angeles, the second location of this popular winebar concept by brothers Fred and Isaac Hakim. Macy came on board before the spring opening to design the beer program; as you might guess, it consists of "all the beers that I want to drink," smiles Alex. Amid a few tap staples, including his favorite Victory Prima Pils from Pennsylvania (a "gateway beer" for many of his customers), Macy swaps out the kegs "as fast as people drink them." While all the tap beers are urgently fresh, the bottled selections lean toward Belgian beers that can develop with age. Chef Jared Levy provides a freewheeling menu that pairs nicely with the beers, not to mention with the excellent wine selections. Both beers and wines are available for off-premise sale. —David Gadd Beer Sommelier Alex Macy (left) and Chef Jared Levy at BottleRock in Downtown Los Angeles. A Mad Scientist Opens "Urban Winery" in Denver PHOTO: MARNI MATTNER Ben Parsons at his winery.

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