I can tell you that my first glass of wine was Lonesome Charlie. I have no idea how old I was, but probably way too young to be drinking - legally. If you don’t know Lonesome Charlie, it was sold in beer-sized bottles by the six-pack when I was growing up, and was really more like a wine cooler, all fizzy and sweet, than a bottle of wine. Not exactly auspicious wine beginnings, but hanging out by the lake next to a campfire with my girlfriends on a starry night, I’m pretty sure that Lonesome Charlie seemed the best thing ever back then. At least I was drinking Canadian wine!
Whenever I tell Dave we are having tofu for dinner I get the same reaction: a somewhat deflated ‘oh,’ and then a polite ‘I’m sure whatever you make will be good’. He eats it, but it’s not his favourite thing. He’d eat creamy pasta, or curry every day for the rest of his life if he could. Me, I like firm, cold tofu sprinkled with sesame and soy for lunch, or medium tofu fried to a crisp and sprinkled with bonito flakes, or soft tofu scrambled like eggs with green onion and garlic, which brings me to Kate. You may remember Kate from American Girls Drink Wine fame. Kate likes tofu as well, and she suggested we get together and cook up some tofu; see what we could create. We decided to keep it in the realm of Chinese food.
I searched suggestions for pairing wine with Chinese fare and these were the main contenders: Gewurztraminer, Riesling, Beaujolais, unoaked Chardonnay, and sparkling wine. We decided to try some Gamay (this is the grape that makes Beaujolais), but not before we opened some rosé to sip while we chopped.
This was a nice, simple ruby coloured, cherry flavoured glass of wine. Some crisp acidity and tending more towards the medium-bodied texture, it was great to sip in the late afternoon ($11.95).
We marinated and grilled some firm tofu, cubed and fried some medium-soft tofu and tossed it with a noodle stir-fry, and we baked some soft tofu, crumbled on top of eggplant and black beans. However, after all these years, I'm still confounded by frying tofu. I press, and pat dry; I fry in hot oil, but it still manages to stick to the pan, particularly the medium and soft versions.
On a positive note, this Ontario Gamay was a good match for the food.
In the glass: cherry, and blackberry, light and acidic but with some vanilla and spice adding a layer of depth, finished off with some soft tannins ($13.75).
Who out there fries tofu with success?