Bruschetta with Mint and Goat Cheese

Photos by Jaymi Heimbuch. Tomatoes sold separately.

This recipe was created exclusively to pair with the 2009 Barbera from Jacuzzi Family Vineyards. The wine is quite lively for a red, with bright raspberry and cherry notes and just a hint of tobacco. It won Best of Class in the 2011 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition and when you taste it, you'll know why.

Barbera is the third most-planted grape variety in Italy, with its low tannins nice acids, it's an easy match for so many Italian dishes. With Jacuzzi's Barbera being so fresh and alive, it demanded a food pairing of equal stature. While bruschetta is usually made with basil, I chose mint to help keep the flavors a little light. By the way, bruschetta is pronounced like brusketta, which I said incorrectly for many, many years.

French bread, 1/2-inch slices
1 garlic clove, halved (more if you're warding off vampires)
1 carton of cherry or grape tomatoes
6 ounces of soft goat cheese
3 mint leaves, chopped
Olive oil
Pinch of salt

1. Slice and quarter the tomatoes. I like to mix it up, so I leave some whole and some halved.

2. Add the tomatoes to a large mixing bowl with just enough olive oil to lightly coat.

3. Add the garlic, salt and mint, lightly mix and chill.

4. Lightly toast the bread slices. I prefer my bruschetta with warm bread and chilled tomatoes, so I toast as needed, making just a few slices at a time. But if you are having a par-tay, place the slices on a baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes at 325 degrees.

5. Spread a thin layer of goat cheese over every toasted piece of bread. Or a thick layer if you are a cheese fiend like myself.

6. Top with the tomato mixture.

7. Finish with some mint and try to share it with friends and family. Trust me, it will be tough!


Variations

Instead of tomatoes, dice up some pears, replace the salt with a pinch of brown sugar and bake for 5 minutes on 375 degrees.

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Bruschetta with Mint and Goat Cheese
This recipe was created exclusively to pair with the 2009 Barbera from Jacuzzi Family Vineyards. The wine is quite lively for a red, with bright raspberry and cherry notes and just a hint of tobacco.

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