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Without Constraint


Sonoma sparkling wine, meet ma po tofu.

I think I spend the majority of my life stepping backwards into good things. Kind of like an eyes wide shut sort of thing, I guess. If I were the resolution making type, maybe I’d resolve to spend 2008 devoted to mindfulness. But sometimes the surprises are nice.

Last night, for example, we popped the cork on a bottle of sparkling rose from Sonoma's Domaine Chandon, called étoile. Our new years eve celebration was a day late, since we were flying back to California from Boston on the 31st and arrived home exhausted and in need of sleep, not bubbly. I’d stashed the bottle in the fridge before we left, and last night, while I was making ma po tofu, we opened it up.

It’s a lovely little wine, with a brilliant pink color and teensy tiny bubbles, and is a bit off-dry. The winemaker and chef of Domaine Chandon suggest serving it with foie gras, cream sauce, lobster or crème brulee, but I’m happy to report that it worked just fine with our funny dinner of szechuan peppercorn dusted shrimp and that tofu, which has a soy, ginger, chili profile. The back of the bottle says the wine was produced “free from the constraints of traditional champagne making”—I’d say our pairing, too, was constraint free. And delicious.