Chardonnay is one of many grape varietals grown at our vineyards who got its beginnings in Burgundy, France. However, Chardonnay is very well traveled and one of the most well-known names in white wine. After gaining its true worldwide popularity in the 1980s, Chardonnay is now considered a quote “right-of-passage” for any professional winemaker. The flavor of the grape is relatively neutral but is heavily influenced by where it is grown and the time it spends in oak barrels. It is also one of the most widely planted grapes in the world with over 520,000 acres planted worldwide. It is also largely used for the production of sparkling wine in France and for our vineyard.
Our Chardonnay is inspired by traditional French winemaking. We age our Chardonnay in neutral oak barrels, so it develops a creamy mouth feel without picking up overpowering oak and buttery flavors found in new world stylings. It has notes of fig and citrus on the nose with a creamy palate and a lemon curd finish.
I believe that Chardonnay will always pair well with more neutral, creamy, and buttery foods. When choosing an appetizer for this pairing, I wanted something that was easy to make, full of flavor, and looked like you spent a long time preparing it without putting in too much work. I settled on a bruschetta inspired appetizer and wanted to bring in some creamy elements with herbaceous notes. What better than bruschetta with a schemer of ricotta, peppery arugula, hearty butternut squash?
· 1 baguette
· 1-2c cubed butternut squash (you could substitute with cubed pumpkin)
· 15oz ricotta cheese
· 2-3c arugula
· Olive oil
· Pumpkin seeds (optional)
Cut your butternut squash into small cubes (you may also be able to find pre-cut in the store). In a large frying pan, heat 2 Tbs of olive oil on med-high heat and add your cubed squash. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Once squash is softened and browned on the edges, remove from heat.
Cut your baguette into thin, quarter to half inch slices. You can also buy pre-sliced baguettes at the store to save time. The thinner your baguette, the easier it will be to bite into.
On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, arrange your sliced baguette pieces in a single layer. Drizzle with olive oil and broil in your oven until toasted to your liking. I usually toast the bread a little crisper than I would normally like, because the longer it sits with the cheese, the softer the bread will get.
Once your bread has been toasted, spread about 2TBS of ricotta cheese on one side. Add a few leaves of arugula, a few cubes of your pan-roasted squash, and an extra sprinkle of salt and pepper.
Arrange on a serving plate and add roasted pumpkin seeds (optional) and you’re done!