Tasting Talavera: Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale’s Talavera serves extensive, seductive wine pairings
Did you know that one of Scottsdale’s most comprehensive and innovative wine programs has — of all things — a boss’s daughter to thank?
“I grew up in Long Island where you either worked at the local mall or worked at the local mall in high school,” says Bryan Feigenbaum, director of food and beverage at Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North. “Determined not to work at Micky D’s, I walked over to the local golf course at 15 and asked for them to give me a chance.”
The chance, it turns out, would be the one of a lifetime.
While doing everything from washing dishes to sweeping floors even before he could drive, Feigenbaum was eventually asked to step in and help cater the understaffed boss’s daughter’s wedding.
An ample extra pair of hands, things only looked up from there for Feigenbaum, whose culinary education would eventually take him to Hawaii and wine-centric San Francisco, before the Four Seasons recruited him in Scottsdale.
Ever since I took on this career, which is truly more of a lifestyle, my primary focus has been giving people romance on the plate and in the glass each day,” Feigenbaum says.
And romance, he provides in spades via Talavera’s deliciously intimate, yet un-intimidating, Taste Talavera wine dinners.
The focus is seemingly simple: develop artfully-crafted, four-course menus accompanied by specialty wines and staffed by winemakers themselves.
“The flow-style evening allows patrons all the alone time they wish while still enjoying personalized attention from some of the best sommeliers and chefs across the globe,” Feigenbaum says. “There is no formal presentation, simply roving experts ready to share at our guests’ leisure.”
This perfect date night activity for lovers of any age starts with cozy seating inside or outside at the dark and dreamy Talavera, overlooking Pinnacle Peak Mountain and the city lights. Once seated, each guest receives his or her own personalized menu, prepared for just that evening.
“This is the fun part,” Feigenbaum explains. “Behind the scenes, our team plans out every single ingredient of these evenings for months in advance. We sip. We savor. We think about what our own loves would want most during the evening.”
Using locally grown farm-to-table ingredients whenever they can, each course is a feast not just for the eyes and lips, but for all of the senses.
And the expansive wine pairings do more than sizzle — they seduce.
In recent months, the resort has welcomed Napa’s award-winning Gabrielle Collection to pour its Vintner’s Collection, which includes high-end yet approachably-named blends, such as “FISH,” “CHICKEN” and “MEAT” to pair eloquently and cheekily with the chef’s plays on fish, chicken and meat dishes.
“But this ain’t your grandma’s menu,” Feigenbaum says. “The chicken might be laced with duck breast and rabbit, while the meat might be from a local farm down the street and paired with aged bleu cheese and Arizona-grown root vegetables.”
Another dinner included pairings from Hanzell Vineyards in Sonoma, focused on pleasing pinot noirs and rich chardonnays combined with sweet, salty and savory selections. They’ve also been honored for their innovative efforts, most recently by Wine Spectator with the highly-coveted Award of Excellence.
And, the series has become so popular that the Four Seasons recently expanded its “wine dinners” to include additional “spirited” elements, including cocktails, mixology and chocolate-laced libations.
“But wine — with all of its seductive appeal — still remains a hallmark for our guests and their special someones,” Feigenbaum says. “We even infuse the wines into our recipes as we dream them up.”
In April, Talavera began offering Hangar One Vodka starting at $95 per person.
“We’ve also got our summer series on tap, which has included ‘lights out’ Earth-day focused dinners, farm-to-table dinners and more,” Feigenbaum says.
And, couples looking for the perfect date night destination on any given weekend need look no further than Talavera. With special wine tasting sessions each Saturday at 3 p.m. and a regular menu that includes Wagyu flat iron steak, Maine lobster, bacon-infused buffalo tenderloin and prickly pear-infused salmon, Talavera has romance on tap.