One of the Best wine lists in the world
Address: 2576 Aurora Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109
And finally we are at Canlis, one of the world’s great wine restaurants and a true destination restaurant. The wine list here is a tome, and frankly it can be intimidating. A lot of the wines are pricy, and in fact the best values, and screaming values at that, were to be found at around the $300 mark, but I did find plenty of wines under our $150 arbitrary limit that look fabulous as well, some well under, but none are the striking values the pair of $300 bottles are.
First lets take a look at the menu, it’s Prix Fixe three courses for $85, which is entirely fair. My sample dinner would look something like this
Pork belly with spring onion, huckleberries, and plum
Rosemary-grilled lamb ribeye with potato rösti and summer squash
An $8 addition of
Forest mushrooms sautéed in sherry, garlic, and thyme
An artisanal cheese plate to finish
Let’s kick off the show with something white, sweet and plenty acidic to pair with the pork belly. Canlis has a fabulous selection of Riesling, though rather heavily skewed to the Auslese end of the spectrum. There are lots of trophy wines here but I was able to find a very nice selection of wines with some age on them, and one really fabulous value for a younger example. I’d opt for the 1995 Christoffel with my dish, age has surely mellowed the sweetness and added plenty of savory goodness but I'd bet that the wine remains plenty fruity to deal with the huckleberries and plums I’m getting.
1993 Zilliken Saarburger Rausch Riesling Auslese $140
1995 Joh. Jos. Christoffel Erben Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Auslese *** $125
2001 Joh. Jos. Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese $150
This is a destination restaurant, and it’s also an expense account joint, so don’t think for a moment that they are not going to take advantage of the usual suspects. If you’re looking for a Cabernet from California, don’t bother, there are plenty of great wines but there are no values. If you really must have a Cabernet the 2009 Long Shadows Wineries Cabernet Sauvignon Feather Columbia Valley ($135) is as good an option as any on the list, and it’s a decent value. The 2007 Raats Cabernet Franc ($80) may be a little pricy for what it is but it’s a damn fine bottle of wine, and a relative value on the list.
That’s what this list is all about, relative values. The two standout, no brainer, no doubt selections for me are these two. Yes they are $300, if they are still on the list, but that’s retail folks, if you could find them!
And then there’s the 2006 Antonelli San Marco Sagrantino di Montefalco ($75)
which has to be the best value on this list, and I went through it pretty carefully. Yes it’s a bit of a tough and savory wine, but it's a fine example of Sagrantino with some age on it for a very compelling price. What do you have to lose?
Stasying closer to home and also representing great value, and a more familiar palate impression is the 2008 Cuillin Hills Winery The Dungeon Syrah blend ($70)
which is the standout from a rather strong and diverse selection of Rhone style wines. If you like Chateauneuf du Pape there is a small but well thought out selection with two gorgeous wines that also were great values, and if you love great Syrah, the Vieilles Vignes bottlings from Gonon don’t come cheaply but those are some rare bottles with a bit of age on them so it’s not likely you’re going to see them again. After all this is Canlis, treat yourself! Buy the Drouhin and the Rinaldi then drink water for the rest of the month!
2006 Pierre Gonon St. Joseph Vieilles Vignes $185
2007 Pierre Gonon St. Joseph Vieilles Vignes $200