It's a bitter drink to swallow, but Colorado's not exactly famous for making outstanding wines. Instead, an invitation to sample Colorado wines is typically met with anything from incredulity to utter scorn. That's not to say that all Colorado-bred wines suck. It's just that there aren't more than a handful that'll truly excite, entice, and enthrall you with well-balanced juice that illustrates modern, polished winemaking techniques. So those of us longing to show some love to the Colorado wine industry in much the same fashion as we do our locally-owned, chef-driven restaurants are often left hanging. That is, until a couple of years ago when the Infinite Monkey Theorem rolled up to a Quonset hut in the Santa Fe Arts District with a truck full of Western Slope-sourced grapes and winemaking equipment.
That very same hut is now host to IMT's intimate, highly educational private wine lab tours and barrel tastings. Fifty bucks gets you samples (decent-sized pours, actually) of ten wines, detailed intel on the process that goes into making each, and a behind-the-scenes look at how the proverbial magic happens. A recent visit provided the opportunity to taste through all of winemaker Ben Parson's current releases, which only continued to prove that The Infinite Monkey Theorem is dead serious about becoming not just your favorite Colorado wine but your favorite wine, period.
The 2011 lineup features a little something for everyone: You've got your bright, snappy whites, a few easy-drinking crowd pleasers and some intense reds. All but two of the wines feature 100 percent Colorado-grown varietals; Parsons has wisely sourced all of his albariño and about half of his riesling grapes from more temperate climates (Lodi and Willamette Valley, respectively). The result? A lineup of consistently well-made, artisan wines which showcase a lot of character and frankly, love. Sure, they're a little on the pricey side, but just look at it this way: You'd spend a helluva lot more than five to nine dollars per glass for utter crap at an average restaurant. Do yourself a favor (and support Colorado): Buy a few of these stellar IMT wines and stay home. Here are five for you to try:
Infinite Monkey Theorem Albariño 2010 ($20): A crisp-yet-round, sexy little slip of a wine, it's rounder and silkier than standard-issue Spanish albariños, delivering all the grapefruit-y, lime zest-y business you crave, but it's wrapped in a cozy cashmere blanket. A delectable white wine worthy of consumption on even the frostiest of winter nights.
Infinite Monkey Theorem Riesling 2009 ($20): Ask yourself this question: "Do I like apples?" If you answered yes, then by all accounts you should enjoy this wine (perhaps even more than you do apples). But wait! There's a lot more to this wine than you'd expect: layers of juicy stone fruit flavors accompany all that apple, and the acidity levels are right where they need to be to avoid that treacly thing some New World rieslings have going on. Bonus: The wine's higher residual sugar level makes for a lower-alcohol wine; good news for those who enjoy wine but who may not want to actually become intoxicated by it. As if.
Infinite Monkey Theorem Malbec 2009 ($29): Of all the IMT wines you're currently reading about, this is likely the one you've already tried (or at least seen on a wine list). Sure, the malbec received high praise from Wine Spectator magazine, but that's not the reason you should buy some. Scoop it up for the concentrated mouthfuls of deep, almost chewy blackberry fruit roughed up a bit with a touch of earthy, spicy petit verdot. It's the perfect wine for sipping in front of the fireplace this winter.
Infinite Monkey Theorem Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 ($29): Cab sauv is the new kid on the block for IMT this year -- so new, in fact, that it hasn't even been released yet. The barrel sample tasted like a whole lot of green and black pepper, but all signs point to plenty of hearty, in-your-face dark berry fruit and firm tannins queuing up to make one kick-ass wine after some more time in the barrel (and even more in your cellar). You probably won't be able to score this one until much later this year, but aren't you busy plotting ways to drink better wine all year long anyway?
Infinite Monkey Theorem Black Muscat 2009 ($35): This long-awaited, hypnotically delicious muscat (say "moo-skawt") was released in late 2010, right in time to grace your holiday dinner table. Since the winter months are especially ideal for drinking dessert wines, make a point to keep a bottle or four of this one around the house for sipping this season. Tasting like a Fig Newton in a glass, you could serve this wine with a slice of sweet potato pie, a plate of orange-scented madeleines or a knob of Gorgonzola. Note: The operative phrase here is "serve this wine."
Wine Lab Tour & Tastings: The Infinite Monkey Theorem, 931 West Fifth Avenue, 303-736-8376
Where to buy: Mondo Vino, Amendment XXI, Total Beverage, Joy Wine & Spirits, City Wine, Marczyk Fine Foods, Argonaut Wine & Liquors, SIP Fine Wines, or online at www.theinfinitemonkeytheorem.com