Unlike the arrival of Beaujolais Nouveau on the third Thursday of November, a once-hyped event that still rates a mention or two, River Road’s version is actually a beautiful, pink rosé, not the red Gamay of the Beaujolais version, and it’s a little later in arriving. That probably has more to do with weather and harvest differences, than that we take it easy in Sonoma County.
Just like the riotous aromas of fermenting pink wine, it’s redolent of bubblegum, fresh cherry juice, watermelon, and strawberries. It’s got flavors to match, and a zippy finish that’s either totally dry, or seems so because of crisp acidity.
With an alcohol of just 12.5 percent, here’s a fresh, liquid snapshot of the “dream harvest” of 2012.
River Road Family Vineyards is located near Graton’s old railroad and apple packing area. Under former owner Gary Mills, they kept a low profile and concentrated on selling Russian River Valley wines for standout prices, through a national distributer.
This fun new wine, labeled with abstract, rainbow artwork reminiscent of Beaujolais, comes at the close of savvy Republic of Tea owner Ron Rubin’s first year at the helm.
River Road suggests pairing this wine with Grilled Eggplant, Chicken Tetrazzini, or Vegetarian Taro Egg Rolls.
Fried Vegetarian Eggrolls
Adapted from PhamFatale.com , Mini Fried Vegetarian Eggrolls (Cha Gio Chay)
- 1 lb taro roots (or red potatoes), shredded
- 1 carrot
- 2 shallots, finely diced
- 1 yellow onion, finely diced
- 1 Tbs fresh cilantro, finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1 lb firm tofu
- 1/4 cup mung bean
- 1 oz black fungus mushrooms, dried
- 1 tsp mushroom powder
- 1 pack rice vermicelli noodle, dried (2 oz)
- 2 packs eggroll wrappers, frozen
- 1 tsp black peppercorns, freshly ground
- 2 tsp salt
- 3 cups canola oil (or any neutral oil), as needed
Slice the tofu black into 1 inch slices. Bring a big saucepan of water to a boil. Boil the tofu for about 30 seconds. Drain, cool, then hand mash it. Set aside.
Peel and wash carrot, then julienne into thin strips. Finely Chop. Set aside.
Soak dried rice vermicelli noodles in cold water for 20 minutes, then drain. Chop into 1 inch threads. Set aside.
Place mung beans in a small saucepan, barely cover with water, then simmer for about 30 minutes. It will form a dry paste. Set aside.
Place the black fungus mushrooms in a large bowl, soak in boiling water for 2-3 minutes, then drain. Chop finely. Set aside.
Peel, wash and shred the taro roots. Place in a large pot. Add all the rest of the ingredients. Season with salt and pepper.
In the same pot, add 2 more tablespoons oil. Sprinkle about 4-5 tablespoons of shredded taro evenly into the pan. Do not stir. Wait for at least 2 minutes until one side is nicely fried, crisp and golden. Flip the taro using chopsticks. Continue until all the taro is fried. Add more oil if necessary.
When the taro are nicely fried and golden, transfer to a platter lined with paper towels. As soon as all the oil is drained, transfer to a large bowl.
Get a bowl filled with cold water ready.
Cut the eggroll wrappers into triangles and separate them. It’s sold by 30 squares and they are stuck to each other.
Place two teaspoons of the mixture at the base of the triangle.
Wrap by folding one of the corners along the base towards the other corner along the base so that it just covers the filling. Then roll the wrapper once towards the top corner. Repeat with the other corner that it along the base. Moisten the expose top corner with water using finger. Then finish rolling.
Once a plate is full with uncooked eggrolls, store with plastic wrap, then place in the refrigerator overnight or in the freezer up to a month.
Once ready to cook, fill a large frying pan with peanut oil or another neutral oil about two inches high. Make sure the pan is tall enough so that there is enough room to add the eggrolls without the oil overflowing. Use a deep fat fryer, if available.
Place the eggrolls in the hot oil one at a time, seam side down. Rolls will bubble. As soon as each eggroll turns slightly golden, rotate it. When the eggrolls are even and golden all the way around, remove from the pan and place on a paper towel to drain the oil. They should be golden and crispy.