Kale Pesto Goat Cheese Crostini with Roasted Red Pepper + Wines of Garnacha is the perfect pairing for all of your holiday celebrations, parties & gatherings! A quick, easy and festive appetizer and easy drinking wines to enjoy with family and friends. #LoveGarnacha #GarnachaDay #ad
Have you started thinking about the holiday season yet? I know that it is only the later part of September, but we anticipate a very hectic conclusion to 2016. Did I really just write that? It doesn’t seem right but we are almost into the final quarter of 2016 and I feel like it is never too early to start planning for all of those holiday parties, gatherings and family get together’s.
So, it was perfect timing that I teamed up with Wines of Garnacha to share more about their versatile monovarietal Garnacha wines and a simple appetizer perfect for entertaining, Kale Pesto Goat Cheese Crostini with Roasted Red Pepper. But before I get into the food, let’s chat about the wine…shall we?
Are you familiar with Garnacha wines? If you aren’t, don’t worry I wasn’t either!! Read on and I will share with you what I learned. It is a monovarietal wine – that is the ones produced with just one variety – that originated in what is now Eastern Spain in the 12th Century. Through its long history, Garnacha has gone through several stages. It has been used as a workhorse variety and it has been blended with other varieties to produce some of the most renowned wines, but it has not stepped into the spotlight until recently. It is the only major grape variety with red and white variants, which allow it to produce very diverse wines: red, white, rosé and sweet. Its versatility makes it ideal for any season and to be paired with any cuisine depending on what you are looking for and the price is very reasonable ($10-20/bottle) making it accessible for any budget.
Garnacha wines are ideally adapted to American tastes and for a variety of occasions, thanks to its wide range of styles and excellent value. We received 5 wines to check out so we could experience some of the styles that the Wines of Garnacha has to offer. BTW… if you are interested in trying out some of the intriguing Wines of Garnacha, click –> HERE to find a wine tasting near you!!
The only white that we received was the Terra Alta – 2015 Vall Major White Wine. We learned that it is made with young wines showing all the fruity potential of the Garnacha grape, both red and white and sourced from a variety of vineyards, each with an average age of 20 years and with a crop of about 3 kilos (2.2 pounds) per vine. This wine really captures the full fruitiness of white Garnacha; white fruits and stone fruits combine with a background of citrus and dried mountain herbs. This is a medium-bodied wine that we think could be enjoyed on its own or with any meal. It is noticeably fruity on the palate with good acidity and the sweetness characteristic of this grape.
Next up is the Somontano – 2013 Pirineos Garnacha. This wine is from one of the more traditional vineyards in the Somontano region of Spain set against a distinctive landscape between the towns of Barbastro and Salas. At first glance you can definitely see that it is deep red with purple highlights. In that first sip, you can taste that it is powerfully fruity and concentrated with well-integrated oak. Rich and intense with fresh cherry, blackberry and raspberry aromas balanced by a minerality that will continue to develop with some bottle ageing. This wine would pair well with tomato based pastas, risottos, roasts, barbecued meat and cheeses.
Another lovely red that we received was the Las Rocas Vinas Viejas – 2012 Old Vine Garnacha. This wine hails from vineyards between 80 to 100 years old!! It has a ruby color, with a spicy, rich cranberry and mineral bouquet. This well-structured wine has dark cherry flavors and elegant hints of oak, with round, supple tannins and fruit-filled finish.
And our next wine was the Coto De Hayas Tinto Joven, a 2015 Garnacha Syrah. It is 70% Garnacha 30% Syrah with a vine age of 30 years for Garnacha and 20 years for Syrah. This wine has a red cherry color, with very clean violet hues. We thought this wine was very clean, fruity and bright; yet smooth and well structured, round and rich with a long aftertaste.
And finally, we have the Menguante Garnacha – 2015 Garnacha. This wine showcases the subdued dark fruit and mineral aromas which carry into the lush, plum flavours with ripe chewy tannins. There are persistent finish features that perfectly balance the acidity with the sweet fruit tannins.
Now let’s talk about the lovely appetizer, Kale Pesto Goat Cheese Crostini with Roasted Red Pepper, that I put together to begin our Sunday supper while my family was trying out the Wines of Garnacha!
My summer garden is winding down, but I still had one more harvest of fresh basil and kale, so I thought that I would use them to make a kale/basil pesto that would be fresh with the added bonus of some veggie power to start off our appetizer 🙂 I also used pistachios instead of pine nuts for this pesto just because I wanted something a little different and I actually had a half-eaten bag that needed to be used up 😉 Unlike most pestos, I did not add any parmesan cheese to this one because I knew that I was using the goat cheese in the dish.
I kept this dish very simple by simply toasting up a fresh baguette, topping it with the kale/basil pesto, some goat cheese crumbles and finally a piece of roasted red pepper (I just used store-bought, but you could totally make your own if you would like). The result is an elegant dish that looks very festive and tastes impressive, but it is super easy and can be whipped up in a matter of minutes (my kind of dish, right?) 😉
Here is your recipe for Kale Pesto Goat Cheese Crostini with Roasted Red Pepper:
- 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced or pressed
- ½ cup pistachios, shelled
- 1 cup kale, loosely packed
- 1 cup basil, loosely packed
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
- sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
- 1 loaf baguette bread, sliced into ½ in. thick slices
- 8 oz. goat cheese crumbles
- ½ jar (about 7-8 oz.) roasted red peppers, sliced
- To make the pesto, combine garlic and pistachios in the bowl of a food processor and process until finely chopped and then scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Add kale and basil and process until finely chopped, stopping a couple of times to scrape down the bowl.
- Stream in the olive oil, while the food processor is running, to reach a spreadable consistency.
- Add salt and pepper and pulse a couple more times to combine. Set pesto aside.
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Place slice of baguette bread on a baking sheet and bake for 7-9 minutes, or until lightly toasted. Remove from oven and let cool to the touch before assembling the crostinis.
- To assemble the crostinis, spread approximately 1 tbsp. of pesto on each toasted baguette slice.
- Add approximately 1 tbsp. goat cheese crumbles on top of pesto on each baguette slice.
- Top with a slice of roasted red pepper.
- Serve warm or room temperature.
- Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container, in the refrigerator, for a couple of days.