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Pairings: Balletto rosé shines with antipasto

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Although a well-made dry rosé is welcome year round, it is one of the finest beverages on a warm summer evening. Our Wine of the Week, Balletto 2018 Russian River Valley Rosé of Pinot Noir ($20), fills this role deliciously.

The wine is subtle, delicate, graceful and pretty.

If it expressed itself in human form, it would be Grace Kelly in an evening dress and pearls. But it is just exuberant enough that the young Grace Kelly would have kicked off her heels and begun dancing in the dying evening light.

Flavors range from guava and watermelon to lime zest, grapefruit zest and strawberries.

This rosé is wonderful with summer foods, especially butter lettuce, strawberries, melons, zucchini or Padron chiles.

On hot nights, enjoy it with simple tacos of shrimp, diced zucchini, or quickly sautéed radishes topped with a squeeze of lime juice or just a bit of green onion salsa.

It pairs well with cabbage, too, and with almost any white-fleshed fish.

To enjoy it with our wild Pacific King Salmon, add an Italian-style salsa verde and you’ll have a stellar match. It is also excellent with fresh goat cheeses.

Sometimes a full dinner is not really the thing, especially on a hot summer night.

A platter of nibbles, such as Italian antipasto, satisfies us and such a leisurely dish is flattered by this lovely quaffer.

Afternoon Antipasto

Making 4 to 8m servings

4 ounces thinly sliced soppressata or other salami of choice

4 ounces thinly sliced old-fashioned or European-style mortadella, cut in half

1 small can Italian tuna in olive oil

1 small tin anchovies, drained

— Red wine vinegar

1 burrata

6 ounces Teleme cheese

6 ounces Joe Matos St. George cheese or other local cheese of choice

1 bunch small radishes, trimmed

1 cup ripe cherry tomatoes

4 fresh figs, sliced in lengthwise quarters

— Bowl of cherries or ripe strawberries

4-6 ounces Marcona almonds

6 ounces green olives, such as picholine

— Crackers and/or sliced hearth bread

— Ultra-premium extra virgin olive oil

You’ll need one large platter or board or two smaller ones.

Arrange the food in groups. Roll each slice of meat separately so it is easy to pick up. Use a fork to break up the tuna a bit. Put the anchovies into a small bowl, cover with vinegar, and add to the platter or board.

Set cocktail forks with the tuna and anchovies and add small knives near the cheese

Set an empty bowl alongside for the cherry and olive pits or strawberry stems.

Set small plates and napkins near the antipasto.

Have plenty of chilled rosé on hand. Enjoy leisurely, preferably outside, as the sun sinks down behind the coastal hills.

Michele Anna Jordan is the author of 24 books to date. Email her at michele@micheleannajordan.com

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