As the director of wine and spirits for Canlis, Nelson Daquip doesn’t take the relationship between wine and food lightly. He dives into the heart and soul of each dish, creating an intricate pairing through similarities in their regions and, of course, their flavors. With several hard-earned accolades to his name—think a James Beard Award and world-class wine cellar—connoisseur Nelson brings an inviting demeanor and a passionate voice to the table while striving to make Canlis one of the best wine and spirits programs in the world. Together, both he and executive chef Brady Williams bring a fresh, masculine perspective to the 70-year-old restaurant through four food and wine pairings that are sure to have the gents setting aside their beers for a change.
A Taste of the Valley
Roasted pork with green garlic, preserved lemon and Hakurei turnips
2015 B. Leighton "Gratitude," Olsen Brothers Vineyard, Mourvedre blend, Yakima Valley, Washington
Mourvedre is a blending grape commonly found in the warm Southern Rhône Valley in France and is the dense backbone for wines from Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Nelson says. The 2015 blend is 70 percent mourvedre, 25 percent grenache and 5 percent syrah and can be found in our backyard of warm and sunny Yakima Valley. Its dark fruit components, earthy and smoky notes and long, gritty finishes on the palate make it a perfect pairing to the roasted pork. Chef Williams cooks the center-cut, bone-in loin slowly to perfection over applewood leaving it moist and flavorful. He finishes the dish with green garlic, hazelnut puree and savory pork jus, resulting in pure magic on a plate.
A Taste of the Sea
Baywater Sweet Oysters
Robert Moncuit, Brut Blanc de Blancs NV, Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, Champagne, France
A lively and energetic bubbly to start never hurts especially when paired with a sweet and salty perennial favorite. The blanc de blancs sits at the heart of the Côte des Blancs and comes from a fourth-generation husband and wife team obsessed with acidity and minerality, Nelson says. The pairing of the Hood Canal oysters and French Champagne feels natural as each echoes the flavors and characters of one another; they are lovely and pure like a golden apple and reflect similar briny and rich seawater notes. A pulsating and salivating first course.
A Taste of Home
Japanese cuttlefish crudo with rhubarb and preserved strawberry juice
2017 Orr Old Vine Chenin Blanc, Columbia Valley, Washington
For the second pairing, rather than the texture of the fresh cuttlefish, Chef Williams' focus is on how the slow-cooked strawberry juice sweetened with charred rhubarb puree falls perfectly on the palate. Nelson complements the dish with a local wine from Erica Orr, who, in his opinion, is making one of the more intriguing white wines around. He describes the chenin blanc as bold and textured while it continues to build on the finish with notes of honeydew melon and beeswax.
A Taste of Adventure
Duck lacquered with malt syrup
2016 Thierry Germain Terres Chaudes, Saumur Champigny, Loire Valley, France
A toast to finesse and funk, the 2016 Thierry Germain Terres Chaudes is as expressive as it comes. Grown in a cool climate, cabernet franc reveals an earthy, peppery, herbal side with a rustic, edgy tartness. When roasting a whole duck, it gives you the opportunity to experience a few different types of cooking temperatures, meat texture and that extra special crispiness from the skin, Nelson says. The tenderness of a perfectly cooked duck breast with a sweet glaze and slightly salty finish is best paired with a medium-bodied wine with a long, complex finish.