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Champagne & Barbecue

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It's unlikely that many people reading this will end up at Kasper's Meat Market in Weimar, Texas anytime soon, which is a shame, because the bbq brisket they serve up each weekend is mighty good stuff (their dry sausages are great, too, and you can get those any day of the week). I had it on New Year's Eve, thanks to my father & stepmother, whose farm in Schulenburg is a fifteen-minute drive away. And, since it's my purpose on earth to explore oddball pairings when the opportunity presents itself—admittedly a weird purpose on earth, but as my five-year-old daughter is wont to say, "you get what you get and you don't get upset"—I opened a bottle of Deutz Brut Rosé 2002 ($75) with the meat. One doesn't normally associate rosé Champagne with bbq, but I have to say it worked pretty darn well; the Champagne was forceful enough to hold its own with the meat, its red berry flavors actually working better than Kasper's sauce (I love everything about Kasper's—not least that they raise and butcher their own cows—but their bbq sauce is a weak spot. On the other hand, as John Ruskin noted, the demand for perfection is always a sign of a misunderstanding of the ends of art, so what the hell.) Anyway, you may not get to Kasper's and you may not have a bottle of '02 Deutz on hand, but if you've got some rosé Champagne and some bbq close by, don't be held back by the seemingly awkward high-low matchup. Pop the dern cork and start eating.

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Congratulations to Nicholas Elmi, winner of Top Chef: New Orleans, the 11th season of Bravo's Emmy-Award winning, hit reality series.

Run with chefs and wine experts in the Celebrity Chef 5K and dance all night at Gail Simmons’ Last Bite Dessert Party during the FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen, June 20-22.