An in-depth knowledge of wine can enliven humdrum dinner parties, just as an in-depth knowledge of dynamite fishing can enliven foundering job interviews. Give palates an executive education with today’s Groupon to Cork Soakers. Choose from the following options:
- For $30, you get a two-hour Tantalizing Tastings wine-pairing class for one person (a $60 value).
- For $50, you get a two-hour Tantalizing Tastings wine-pairing class for two people (a $120 value).
- For $200, you get a two-hour Tantalizing Tastings wine-pairing class for 10 people (a $600 value).<p>
The wine experts at Cork Soakers draw from a menu of more than 170 wines, teaching people to sensitize their palates and find perfect pairings. During the class, students sip and survey four different varietals as a sommelier imparts techniques for diagnosing each wine’s region and style. Orchestrate a culinary symphony by learning to harmonize the notes of a bottle of wine with a “fun food” such as Laffy Taffy or wookiee flank.
Inside the venue, wine bottles nestle within diamond-shaped racks behind the bar. Bright flowers perch in vases atop long, natural wooden tables, and four-top tables deck hardwood floors, giving patrons the opportunity to play musical chairs.
"Don't worry if you don't know much about wine," Manager Mike Kurth told the Houston Press just after the restaurant's grand opening in 2010. "I'll find you something you like." Drawing from a palette of more than 170 wines, Cork Soakers' bottle-handlers exude a casual confidence in dispatching potions to pair with a menu of artisanal meats and cheeses. As they consider the flavor notes of herbed Da Vinci gouda, chévre goat cheese, and smoked duck breast, the wait staff never cross over from savviness into snobbery: as Kurth notes, "Anyone who says they know everything about wine is lying. You can always learn more."
While continuing to build their knowledge base, the Cork Soakers team marinates in an atmosphere of full-on wine culture: cork-covered tabletops and menus, wine-barrel light fixtures, and a giant grapevine slowly entrapping the kitchen staff. At the center of the rustic space, a big table carved from a single mighty tree trunk holds a scrumptious brunch spread every Sunday. In fine weather, diners can take their beverages and bites out to the expansive patio.
Houston, Texas 77003