On Sunday, three of us sat sipping Chandon NV Sparkling Ros?($22), our Wine of the Week, at Juilliard Park. Dozens of people danced as great rockabilly blasted from the stage, kids twirled through the crowd, dogs strained at their leashes and everyone seemed blissfully content. It was exactly what summer should be.
The wine fit the occasion perfectly in part because it is so refreshing, with a suggestion of cold watermelon (the part near the rind that isn?t at all sweet), and in part because it has a personality that makes it a pleasing companion with almost anything you want to eat. It went perfectly with our corn on the cob, cherries and nectarines.
The flavors of other fruits weave through the watermelon, suggesting everything from Pippin apples and not-quite-ripe Rainier cherries to white nectarines, Comice pears, Asian pears and strawberries, picked in the morning before the sun has warmed them.
One of the sparkler?s most engaging qualities is a lush texture that some people describe as creamy. Yet creaminess in a sparkling wine is often accompanied by a mouth-filling mousse or foam, a quality I do not love. It is not the case with this wine; rather, it is a concentrated softness, a lushness directly on the palate, contributed in part by the still pinot noir added at ?tirage,? the process that readies a wine for secondary fermentation.
The average consumer still expects that so-called pink wines ? and this one is the loveliest color, like wild salmon that has fed on krill ? will be sweet, a quality that limits the range of foods that can flatter the wine. But Chandon NV Ros?is dry, with a restrained elegance that will educate skeptical palates with a first sip.
Because the wine is so versatile, enjoy it now with summer?s harvest and the foods we like at this time of year ? sliced heirloom tomatoes, gazpacho, barbecued ribs, wild Alaskan salmon and grilled pizza ? but also keep it in mind as fall and winter set in. When Dungeness crab seasons begins, you?ll want to serve this wine with the year?s first crab Louis. Just the thought of that match is so enticing that for today?s recipe I can?t resist a summer version, based on the Oregon baby shrimp that Dave Legros sells at several local farmers markets. Traditionalists, please note: I have taken many liberties.
Summer Shrimp Louis
Makes 2 servings
3tablespoons heavy cream