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PAIRING
Rose with watermelon salad

  • Ros├ęs are refreshing, delicious, sophisticated and remarkably food-friendly. (CHICAGO TRIBUNE)

Rosé is gaining in popularity even as much of the public still curls its collective lip and scoffs at pink wines.

Yet rosés, including our Wine of the Week, Steele 2012 Lake Country Cabernet Franc Rosé ($16), are refreshing, delicious, sophisticated and remarkably food-friendly. It's time we get over the pink-wine thing.

This rosé will please anyone who loves bold ripe fruit, especially strawberry, the first flavor that signals itself on the palate. Next come starbursts of spice, including white pepper, black pepper, anise, clove and allspice.

These flavors are wrapped in a patina of minerality, a quality that suggests river rocks and wet cement and contributes to the refreshing nature of the wine, which is further buoyed by bright, crisp acidity.

There's enough of a tangy flourish that you may find yourself thinking about citrus, especially the zest of Ruby grapefruit.

At the table, the wine has broad appeal, especially with summer foods, from caprese salads to BLTs.

It's a great companion to grilled stone fruit, yummy with pizza — especially grilled pizza with fresh tomato sauce — and perfect with wild Pacific King salmon.

It is also a great match with the wonderful watermelon and pork belly salad currently on the menu at K&L Bistro in Sebastopol.

For today's recipe, I've taken inspiration from that salad but use prosciutto instead of pork belly, which is generally easier for the home cook and, in all honesty, less addictive than those irresistible nuggets of pork.

Watermelon, Prosciutto and Arugula Salad with Fat Bottom Girl Cheese

Makes 2 to 3 servings

3 generous handfuls of arugula

— Kosher salt

2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons thinly shaved red onion

9 very thin prosciutto slices, cut in half crosswise

2 cups, approximately, cubed and seeded watermelon

1 ounce, approximately, Bleating Heart Fat Bottom Girl cheese (see note below), shaved into very thin slices

— Black pepper in a mill

Put the arugula into a small bowl, season with salt, add the olive oil and onions and toss gently. Divide among individual plates.

Drape the prosciutto over the arugula and scatter the watermelon on top. Add the cheese, season all over with black pepper and serve immediately.

Note: Bleating Heart, founded in 2009, makes handcrafted sheep's milk cheese using milk from sheep that live near the Laguna de Santa Rosa in Sebastopol.

Fat Bottom Girl is their signature cheese; you can find it at local markets such as The Cheese Shop in Healdsburg and Oliver's Markets.

Michele Anna Jordan hosts “Mouthful” each Sunday at 7 p.m. on KRCB 90.9 & 91.1 FM.

Email Jordan at michele@micheleannajordan.com.

You'll find her blog, “Eat This Now,” at pantry.blogs.pressdemocrat.com.

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