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Pairings: Rosé, watermelon salad is a refreshing combination

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Our Wine of the Week, Bonterra 2018 Mendocino County Rosé ($16), is as refreshing as the splash of a wave, a barefoot run through sprinklers on wet grass, or a slice of perfectly chilled watermelon.

It is bright and lean on the palate, with little starbursts of fruit flavors, especially watermelon, pomegranate and lime zest.

There’s a pleasing minerality to the wine as well, a quality that suggests rain after a long dry spell, wet rocks in a cool river, and concrete damp with morning dew.

Aromas engage you before your first sip with suggestions of vintage roses and the sort of white pineapple you find only in Hawaii.

You’ll enjoy this wine with sashimi, poké, ceviche, escabeche and oysters on the half shell seasoned with just a spritz of lime juice.

It’s fabulous with watermelon salads, such as the one currently on the menu at K & L Bistro in Sebastopol.

Other excellent matches include cucumbers and yogurt, perhaps in a simple raita; celery, raw in a salad or sautéed briefly in olive oil and finished with spritz of lemon; feta cheese with green olives and shrimp or crab salad dressed with a simple lemon vinaigrette.

A salad of small arugula and avocado, dressed with just lime juice and olive oil is an easy way to make the wine soar.

Today’s recipe is inspired by two of the flavors that blossom as the wine splashes over your palate — watermelon and pomegranate. If you like, serve the salad on a bed of arugula seasoned with a bit of salad and olive oil.

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Fried Haloumi with Pomegranates, Watermelon, Cilantro, and Mint

Makes 3 to 4 servings

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

8 ounces haloumi, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices (see Note 1 below)

2 teaspoons best-quality red wine vinegar

4 cups cubed watermelon (see Note 2 below)

— Arils from 1 pomegranate

Kosher salt

— Black pepper in a mill

— 8-10 spearmint leaves, cut into very thin strips

— Handful of cilantro leaves, torn into small pieces

Put just enough olive oil into a heavy sauté pan to coat the bottom and set the pan over medium heat.

Add the cheese and fry until golden brown; turn and continue to cook until evenly browned on both sides, about 2 to 3 minutes more. Sprinkle the vinegar over the cheese, cook for 1 minute more, and remove from the heat.

Transfer the fried haloumi to individual plates. Add the watermelon to the plate and scatter the pomegranate arils over both the cheese and the fruit.

Season very lightly with salt and add several generous turns of black pepper.

Sprinkle the mint and cilantro on top and enjoy right away.

Note 1: Haloumi is a cheese from Cyprus. It can be made with goat, sheep and cow’s milk and is cured in brine. It is readily available in local markets.

There is no local cheese with the same texture, which is why I recommend it. You can use Caciacavallo, a Sicilian cheese, if you prefer it.

Note 2: For best results, use a locally grown seeded watermelon, preferably a yellow one.

Cut the watermelon into 1½-inch cubes and use the tip of a paring knife to remove the seeds. Seedless melons are not grown for flavor; they are grown to have as few seeds as possible.

Michele Anna Jordan is the author of 24 books to date, including “The Good Cook’s Book of Oil & Vinegar.” Email her at michele@micheleannajordan.com.

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