Wine connoisseurs assert that novice tasters should never pair red wine with fish, white wine with red meat, or excessive wine with jury duty. Lap up today's Groupon in moderate proportions: for $49, you get a 2.5-hour wine-pairing class with a five-course dinner at Classic Cooking in Scottsdale (a $100 value). Classes are offered twice each month on Mondays from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., and additional sessions may be added according to demand.
Classic Cooking's faculty of foodists alternates between professional instruction and casual interaction in a brimming schedule of classes that delight students as they master the fundamentals of fine wine. A trained sommelier pilots each session through a hands-on journey focused on wielding wines to complement cuisine or lure Bacchus out of his roost in the eves. As pupils munch through five courses, taste buds revel in such pinnacles of pairing as a Chilean sauvignon blanc dallying beside citrusy scallops and a Napa merlot waltzing with green-chili chicken. Professionals on staff at the Classic Cooking Academy prepare each dish, ensuring a rich roster of flavors that speak to each element of the bottled grape bloods. Each class parades a fresh quintet of pairings, and chefs post the menu online in advance to let diners peek into culinary futures without the risks of a stovetop crystal ball.
Wine-soaked docents seeking to plunge deeper into any of the class material may take advantage of a 10 percent discount on any of the wines featured.
Opened in 2007, Classic Cooking marches under the banner of using classic cooking techniques while using fresh, seasonal local produce and ingredients. French chef and owner Pascal Dionot directs his well-trained staff to help explain some of the finer points of cooking for both career-minded gastronomers and novices.