Fruit and Oak Flavors

Acidic-fruit flavors--think citrus--are common in good white wines. They're often balanced by the woody, almost-smoky nuances that wine aficianadoes refer to ask "oakiness." The oak flavors are imparted throughout the aging process of the wine, as it deepens in flavor over time--while aging in oak barrels. The wood comprising the barrel may be aged, smoked, "green" (newly-cut timber), or otherwise treated to modify the flavors it imparts; some wines are aged in barrels that previously held other, older vintages or even different liquids (like whiskey or port wine). Balancing the citrus-fruit flavors of an acidic grape helps create a complex and flavorful wine. Sample the 2010 Chardonnay from Chateau Ste. Michelle with this recipe for a similarly robust array of flavors--cheddar, savory-sweet squash, and smoky bacon.

Butternut & Cougar Gold Pizza with Smoked Bacon


  • 4 pizzas

Prep Time

  • 1 hour

Cook Time

  • 8-12 minutes


  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled & thinly sliced
  • 6 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • Kosher salt & pepper, to taste
  • 4 par-baked pizza crusts
  • 8 oz smoked bacon, cooked & crumbled
  • 1 c. Washington State Cougar Gold white cheddar, crumbled (or substitute another sharp white cheddar)
  • Chopped fresh thyme, for garnish


Preheat oven to 375°. Toss butternut squash with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and spread in a single layer on a parchment-lined sheet pan and sprinkle with salt & pepper; bake until tender but not browned, about 8 minutes. Set aside. Place baking stone on bottom rack of oven and preheat to 550° for 45 minutes. Brush each crust with remaining olive oil and sprinkle with salt; top each crust with roasted butternut, bacon, and Cougar Gold. Slide pizza onto the heated pizza stone and bake, one or two at a time, until crust is golden brown & cheese is bubbling – about 8 to 12 minutes. Using wooden paddle, remove pizza from oven & slide onto cutting board. Garnish with thyme, slice into wedges, and serve. Repeat process with remaining pizza crusts.