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Sunday, July 15, 2012

Watermelon: Williamsburg Style

watermelon, mint & feta salad

THURSDAY, Cynthia had David and I over for another one of her fabulous dinner parties at her home in Brooklyn. (see: I am cool, I have friends in Brooklyn) Cynthia would cover all the savory dishes if David and I simply supplied sweets and wine. I, of course, supplied the latter.

my latest favorite sparkler

I hemmed and hawed in front of the champagnes and sparkling wines at PJ Wine before finally narrowing down my selections to three. My first selection was a bottle of Chandon brut (in its limited edition 'Fourth of July' labeling). I recently tasted this American sparkler for the first time and was instantly wooed by its seemingly perfect balance. There's not a single quality in this wine that stands out more than another. (it would probably work well with a variety of foods) Cynthia, David and I began our evening with a Chandon toast before finishing up the remaining prep work for our first courses.

David cubing some watermelon for our salads...

While David was slicing the watermelon into cubes, I was helping Cynthia put the finishing touches on a delicious watermelon-tomato gazpacho.

absolutely brilliant!

The puréed tomato-watermelon soup was topped with feta, fresh black pepper and parsley just before serving. I could hardly believe that it tasted even more wonderful than it looked! Our next three courses were Cynthia's watermelon, mint and feta salad; rigatoni salad with feta and summer vegetables; and a homemade Spanish tortilla. As we moved from fruits to starches, we moved onto what I'd hoped would be a more "toothsome" wine. (it was my first time tasting a Schramsberg blanc de blancs)

always a fan of the house of Schramsberg

At first sip, David was an instant fan. (I knew he would be--he's a big blanc de blancs lover) I, however, was rather surprised to taste dark fruits... and a bit of yeast; blanc de blancs is usually known for its 'weightlessness' on the palate. Nonetheless, I enjoyed the wine throughout the remainder of our savory courses.

my only regret of the evening

My final wine selection at PJ Wine was a bottle of Renardat-Fâche cerdon du Bugey. I was having a fairly difficult time picking out "just the right wines" for Cynthia's dinner party; I was trying to follow the model of light to heavy as closely as possible. When I came across a bottle of cerdon, I remembered tasting one once before and not absolutely hating it. The thing is that cerdon du bugey (or bugey-cerdon) wine is a demi-sec wine. And who really cares for a demi-sec? I'm not saying that there's no merit to sweet wines, but you have to have just the right pairing (in many cases, a fig tart will do)... otherwise it can be cloyingly sweet. I knew I was taking a gamble, but I was hoping variety would trump taste. For dessert, David had brought a trio of cheesecakes from the nearby Junior's Cheesecake and needless to say my proffer did not pay off. Next time I'll pick up a bottle of champagne.
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