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Bidding adieu to the Cordon Bleu

Cordon Bleu Friday was my final day teaching the introductory wine class at Dallas’ Cordon Bleu. As much as I enjoyed it — and I enjoyed it very much — the class  was more work than I had time for. For one thing, it cut back on the Wine Curmudgeon’s wine drinking.

I’m going to write a longer piece about my experiences (that’s a hint to any magazine editors reading this who need a clever, well-written, thoughtful article), but I do want to offer these observations:

• Most of the students, once they got over their initial apprehension about wine, seemed to figure out what was going on. They had a sense of why terroir matters, of the difference in styles between Old World and New World, and were acutely attuned to the price/value ratio. As in, a $100 wine is not necessarily 10 times better than a $10 wine.

• Many, if not most of the students, came into the class without any wine background at all. As in never having had even a glass. This surprised me, but I overlooked some things. First, much of Texas is dry. Second, the students’ ages worked against their drinking wine. The majority were in their early 20s to their early 30s, hardly a hotbed of wine drinking (no matter what the marketers say). Third, many of the students were working class, and wine hasn’t made many inroads there, either.

• Some things about school haven’t changed since I was last in one, almost 30 years ago. I had class clowns, class suck-ups, troublemakers, and a bunch of people who sat in the back row and tried not to be noticed. Of course, that is impossible in a class that the Wine Curmudgeon teaches.

And I want to thank my students, who made this more fun than I thought it would be. The joke with each of the classes — and I taught six over five months — was that one day, no matter where they were or how famous they became, they’d still have my voice in their head, harping about how overpriced Napa wine is.

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