Wild Ginger - Seattle

Located in downtown Seattle, this brilliant, Asian inspired restaurant is the creation of Rick and Ann Toder, who started the restaurant in 1989 after a trip through Southeast Asia. It's a larger restaurant, and while the service is impeccable and the food is solid, the main reason to book a reservation (or multiple reservations) is the incredible wine list, which is brilliantly managed by Sommelier Cortney Lease. The list is both shockingly deep and more than reasonably priced. I almost opted to keep the wine list for the entire meal just to plan what to drink on my next visit! Decanters are available and the stemware is first rate.

Food wise, I went with a classic lineup, and all of the courses delivered nicely. They do a great job managing the spice levels in the dishes, and both the Chicken Satay and Seven Spice Steak went perfectly with the wines. As to the wines, I started with an insanely good bottle of Chardonnay from Peter Michael. Their 2012 Chardonnay Belle Cote comes from a Knights Valley vineyard and vines planted in 1990. Possessing off the charts depth and richness, with full-bodied notes of pure, tropical Chardonnay fruit, brioche and thrilling minerality, it stays graceful and weightless on the palate, yet has a massive finish. I served a glass to a passing winemaker who went gaga over it and talked about how Burgundian it was. Why, oh why, don't more producers make (or try to make) wines of this quality? To go with the rest of the meal, I had them decant a bottle of Laurence Feraud's 2003 Châteauneuf du Pape Cuvee Reserve. At this point, this beauty has shed most of its baby fat and is entering its plateau of maturity. Perfumed, complex, layered and seamless, it shouldn't have any issues holding for another decade, but is drinking perfectly. All in all, this was a terrific meal, and Wild Ginger is now on my list of "must visits" anytime I'm in Seattle.

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