Tomato Caprese Salad with Pesto is the quintessential dish for showcasing fresh summer tomatoes and basil. It gets even better with a refreshing Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. Disclosure: The featured in this article was sent to me as a complimentary sample.
Today the Wine Pairing Weekend blogging group explores wines from New Zealand, hosted by Lori at Exploring the Wine GlassExploring the Wine Glass. Although you might first associate New Zealand with Sauvignon Blanc, we will be covering a lot of ground in today’s event.
I did sample a Sauvignon Blanc, but with a twist — we had a bottle of 2018 Bubbly Sauvignon Blanc from Villa Maria.
Pesto and Sauvignon Blanc is a classic pairing, so I figured I’d have to include some pesto in my recipe. As wonderful fresh local tomatoes start rolling in during August, Tomato Caprese Salad with Pesto seemed like the perfect recipe to share.
Tomato Caprese Salad with Pesto
A caprese salad typically features alternating layers of tomato, basil and fresh mozzarella. Although I like this classic preparation, when I make tomato caprese salad I often like to serve it with a dollop of basil pesto. In my recipe, you get that great tomato flavor still, with double the fresh basil and some added zing from the garlic in the pesto.
After trying caprese salad with pesto, you might not want to go back to the basic version!
Making Tomato Caprese Salad with Pesto
First, you want to have your pesto ready to go before you start putting the tomato caprese salad together.
I suppose you could use store bought pesto here. But you need to get fresh basil for this recipe anyway, so why not make your own? Here’s a link to my recipe for basil pesto.
With pesto at the ready, you can start assembling the tomato caprese salad. The basic idea is to do alternating layers of sliced tomato, mozzarella and basil.
One trick to a nicely presented tomato caprese salad is to lean the second tomato over the first set of tomato, mozzarella and basil. It was a little hard to describe with words alone in the recipe card, looking at the photo below helps demonstrate what I mean.
Leaning the stacks of tomato, mozzarella and basil against one another as shown creates a nice ring of the salad around the edge of the plate. When you have finished layering the tomato, basil and mozzarella, it’s time to add that dollop of pesto.
New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc with Tomato Caprese Salad
Now let’s talk about that 2018 Villa Maria Bubbly Sauvignon Blanc ($16, 13% ABV):
- Color: Light straw color in the glass with lively little bubbles.
- Nose: Fresh citrus on the nose.
- Body: A party on the tongue with tight little bubbles! Light bodied white wine.
- Palate: Grapefruit and kiwi on the palate, with good acidity.
- Pairing: The crispness of the wine offsets the bite of the pesto nicely. The bubbles work nicely with both the acidity of the tomatoes and the fat of the mozzarella cheese. An excellent pairing, perfect to enjoy in late summer when days are hot and local tomatoes are ripe.
More about the wine
I noted the label used the term “carbonated wine”. At first I thought maybe that is just a New Zealand term, but came to learn that means the bubbles come from carbonation added during the winemaking, in similar fashion to how bubbles are added to soda or sparkling water. This is in contrast to the second fermentation process that generates the bubbles in Champagne and other sparkling wine.
Villa Maria Winery
At just 21 years old, George Fistonich leased five acres of wine from his father in Auckland and put in an acre of vines. In 1962 he made the first wines labelled Villa Maria. From there, Villa Maria has grown into one of the most well-known New Zealand wine brands.
Villa Maria now has vineyards in four major New Zealand winemaking areas — Marlborough, Hawkes Bay, Gisborne and Auckland. You can gain an appreciation for the range of grapes used in New Zealand wines just by looking at the list Villa Maria produces, which include white grapes like Albariño and Riesling along with the Sauvignon Blanc, and red grapes ranging from Pinot Noir to Bordeaux varietals for bolder red wines.
After getting a tasting of this delicious, refreshing bubbly Sauvignon Blanc from Villa Maria, I look forward to trying more of what they have to offer!Print
Tomato Caprese Salad with Pesto
Tomato Caprese Salsa with Pesto is the quintessential dish for showcasing fresh summer tomatoes and basil. It gets even better with a refreshing Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand.
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Total Time: 10 minutes
- Yield: 2 servings 1x
- Category: appetizer
- Method: salad
- Cuisine: Italian
- 1 medium fresh tomato, cut into 6 slices about ½ inch thick
- Fresh mozzarella, cut into 6 slices ½ inch thick
- 6 fresh basil leaves
- 2 tbsp pesto sauce
- 1 ½ tsp extra virgin olive oil
- pinch of salt
- Place a tomato slice on a serving plate, topped by a slice of the mozzarella, followed by a basil leaf.
- Lean another tomato slice over the first set of basil and mozzarella, so that the second tomato is partially covering the first pile but part of the tomato is on the plate.
- Place the next slice of mozzarella on top of the 2nd tomato slice followed by a slice of basil. Add the next tomato, leaning at an angle, so that you are creating a ring or semi-circle of the tomato, mozzarella and basil slices.
- When you have finished arranging the tomato, basil and mozzarella, sprinkle the salt over the Caprese salad, and drizzle the olive oil over the tomatoes.
- Add the pesto alongside the tomato, mozzarella and basil.
- To serve, scoop a portion of the tomato caprese salad onto each plate, topped by a dollop of the pesto. Enjoy!
- This recipe is perfect for two, or three people could probably share as an appetizer. Click the “scale” button above to easily get the quantities for doubling or tripling the recipe. This is a great summer party recipe too!
- Although you could use store bought pesto for this recipe, we strongly encourage you to make your own! You need fresh basil for this recipe anyway, so why not? Here’s our recipe for classic basil pesto.
Keywords: tomato Caprese salad, New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc pairings, recipes with fresh tomatoes
If you like this flavor combo, you might also like our Caprese Orzo Salad with Pesto recipe.
More New Zealand Wine Pairings
Check out all these other New Zealand wine pairings from the Wine Pairing Weekend group1 And if you get to this article in time, join our live Twitter chat at 11 am ET on Saturday, August 10, by tuning into the #winePW tag.
- Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla paired Hāngī in a Dutch Oven + Gimblett Gravels Malbec 2017.
- Linda of My Full Wine Glass shared New NZ Wine, Old Sicilian Dish.
- Jane of Always Ravenous offered New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc Paired with Fresh Flavors of Late Summer.
- Cindy of Grape Experiences Beat the Heat with New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and Chilled Cucumber Soup with Mint.
- Gwen at Wine Predator matched New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc with Zesty Arugula Kale Pesto Pizza and Salad.
- Jennifer of Vino Travels Italy was Seeing the Potential of North Canterbury, NZ at Mt. Beautiful Winery.
- David of Cooking Chat paired Tomato Caprese Salad with Pesto and New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. you are here!
- Pinny of Chinese Food and Wine Pairings will be serving New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and Pan-fried Chinese Potstickers.
- Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm enjoyed Exploring New Zealand Wines.
- Sandra of Wine Thoughts had A Tropical Staycation with Spy Valley E Block.
- Cynthia and Pierre of Traveling Wine Profs sipped New Zealand Chardonnay with a view of… The Pyrenees.
- Rupal the Syrah Queen drank New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc with Grilled Mediterranean Swordfish.
- Nicole at Somms Table will be sharing Memories of New Zealand’s South Island with Waipapa Bay Wines.
- And host Lori of Exploring the Wine Glass is thankful that Humans May Only Be 5%, But They Make Great Wine.
Can’t beat tomatoes in season! This is such a simple and elegant pairing – with added pesto zing. Definitely will be trying this one at home.
Tomatoes are meant to be eaten in season!
Alexandra @ It's Not Complicated Recipes
This is my kind of dream dish! I love caprese, and I love how you have paired it with the pesto and great wine! Delicious 🙂
Wow, this looks fantastic! So perfect for a relaxing night in.
I love a tomato caprese salad in the summer especially with my homegrown tomatoes out of the garden. Now it is going to be even better with this wine pairing and pesto. Such a great combination.
Can’t go wrong with tomato caprese and pesto this time of year and paired with a refreshing bubbly Sauvignon Blanc is a winning combination!
What a gorgeous pairing! Bring me some sun and I’ll definitely be replicating this gorgeous caprese salad!
Caprese and pesto are a dream together. Perfect with that lovely wine!
Classic summer recipe that’s always delicious with a classic wine. Great combo!
Oooh I love the bubbly wine – haven’t heard of a bubbly savignon blanc. I usually drink vinho verde so I think I’d really like this – going to give it a try! And I really like your addition of pesto in with the caprese !
It was new to me too! I agree if you like vinho verde you are likely to enjoyo this bottle too.
I love Caprese salad. One of my favorite apps to order whenever we go out to dinner. Your pesto looks incredible. I also like to add a bit of balsamic to my salad.
I bet the balsamic is a nice touch!
Nothing beats a tomato salad with freshly picked, perfectly ripe tomatoes. How fun that you got a bubbly.
I’ve had that wine before with one of our virtual tastings with the winemakers at Villa Maria with Snooth. Nothing like a good caprese in our last warm days of summer.