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Intense Competition

dahlialounge It started out strong, but soon had no chance as the competition overwhelmed it. The 2006 JM Sauvignon Blanc, Klipsun Vineyard was impressive when I took my first sip, but then the unthinkable happened: the food arrived. I was really enjoying the bight, clean and zesty flavors of this wonderfully varietal wine, but what happened next was not fair to any wine, yet is typical on today's menus.

We were dining at Seattle's excellent Dahlia Lounge and the waiter delivered their Sea Bar Sampler, which included; Hamachi sashimi, Dungeness crab with chili paste and tempura crispies, Dahlia smoked salmon with hot mustard, Alaskan halibut ceviche with red chilies and cucumber and Albacore Tuna with sweet onions lemon and ponzu. Everything was delicious, but the first taste of the citrusy ceviche made the formerly crisp sauvignon blanc taste flat, while the rich smoked salmon made it taste thin and so on.  Some fresh bread and butter returned my palate to normal and the JM was perfect with my main course of sauteéd Alaskan halibut with brown butter potatoes (some of the most wonderful potatoes I've tasted anywhere) Brussels sprouts chanterelle mushroom and bacon.

It's probably impossible to select one wine that would be perfect with each part of the Dahlia Lounge's Sea Food Sampler and not necessary as the JM Sauvignon was delicious with almost everything, but it's good to remember that some foods can make very nice wines not taste very good. The only thing I could think of to better handle such a broad range of flavors would have been a just off-dry riesling or a sparkling wine. Perhaps a more important point is that you can't always get a wine that is perfect with the entire meal and that should not be your goal, you can always revert to the water for the mismatched course and return to the lovely wine you've selected when the next course arrives.