Sommelier Nelson Daquip
Canlis | Seattle
The Canlis website proudly boasts that Nelson has been the most rapidly promoted employee in the restaurant’s history, moving from server assistant to wine director in only four years. That about sums up his ambition—oh, he’s planning on sitting for his Master Sommelier exam in early 2009, too. In the dining room, he’s a gracious, youthful, informative presence, presiding over a 96-page list with 2200 labels. Outside the restaurant, he’s active in the winemaking field. He completed Canlis’s “Vinternship” program, and in 2006 managed the production of the Peter Canlis Syrah from Walla Walla’s Buty Winery. For Seattle’s sake, we hope he stays around, but he did mention a future goal of returning to his native Hawaii and working to bring serious wine culture and education to the islands. If we know one thing about Nelson, it’s that he reaches his goals. He is a wine force to be reckoned with.
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The more complicated the dish, the more elements involved, and the more simple you need to make the pairing. Let the dish be the star. There is no reason for a sommelier to have an ego. Compliment the dish. If you are trying to showcase a particular wine you can go to your chef and suggest that with a dish like this if we simplify it just a bit I can showcase a wine's complexity and depth.
Taste more beer, sake and spirits in the same way you already know how to taste wine. The same rules apply: aroma, body/texture, acid, and finish.
Build a strong sommelier community. Make the time to get together with other sommeliers to taste wines either before or after work. Inspire and challenge each other.
Build a library for the next 5 to 10 years in mind. Take six bottles from a case and set them aside for the next eight years and when it’s time put it on the list with an eight year vertical. Spend the time to invest in building verticals in your cellar.
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