Rose with watermelon salad

  • KRT FOOD STORY SLUGGED: ROSE KRT PHOTOGRAPH BY BOB FILA/CHICAGO TRIBUNE (KRT9- June 28) The era of banal white zinfandel, with its bubblegum taste has passed. High quality roses earn new respect as the perfect summer sipper. (TB) AP PL KD 1999 (Vert) (lde) (Additional photos available on KRT Direct, KRT/PressLink or upon request)

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

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

This ros?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.

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