Here we are, February has crept in and I’m celebrating the New Year. I don’t know about you, but I’m never quite ready for New Year on the 1st of January. We’re still in the midst of the festivities, parties with friends, family visits or away on travels. Other than the symbolic clink of the [...]
Here we are, February has crept in and I’m celebrating the New Year. I don’t know about you, but I’m never quite ready for New Year on the 1st of January. We’re still in the midst of the festivities, parties with friends, family visits or away on travels. Other than the symbolic clink of the Champagne glasses, it doesn’t really feel like a New Year just yet. And when the New Year properly starts – that moment of back to work, back to school, the decorations packed away to face the routine – well, it doesn’t feel quite a revitalised fresh start but rather a slight deflation once the party is over.
But a few weeks later, come the time of the Chinese New Year, that’s the time I really feel ready for the New Year. I’ve had a chance to quietly take stock, think about what I would like to do and make happen in the year ahead and re-balance a bit from the excesses of the holidays.
Nature too, seems more inclined, with the edges of daylight gently pushing out each way into slightly longer days. By the end of January there’s a noticeable change in the length of day and a real sense of promise that Spring is not that far off.
We haven’t had much of a wintery winter this year, but we have been drenched in the rains. As I walk over the nearby fields, the grass is soaked like a sponge. But beautiful it is too with the transitory lakes in the flood plains.
So, the Chinese New Year chimes just about right with my personal New Year and I feel excited to celebrate, with the vibrant colours and drums, dragons and delicious food. And this year with wine too!
I’ve been set a challenge – to pair some dishes from the Chinese takeaway with some delicious Côtes du Rhône wines. Who could resist that? The wines I am matching are a white, Côtes-du-Rhône Blanc ‘Les Arbousiers’, Domaine La Réméjeanne 2012 and a red, Rasteau Côtes-du-Rhône Villages, Domaine de la Soumade 2011.
After a brisk walk through the gorgeous glowing winter landscape, working up a good appetite, I thought about some favourites from the Chinese menu. I decided that to go with the Côtes du Rhône Blanc, we would have some spicy dumplings, crispy prawns and spare ribs. The wine is described by The Wine Society as “a mass of delicious flavours, herbs and citrus with a touch of honey, plenty of roundness and lots of freshness too on the finish.” So it seemed a wonderful match for the fragrant dim sum to start – indeed, it was a perfect match!
And what to choose for the red Côtes du Rhône? This wine is described as a “full-bodied, full-flavoured winter warmer” so I wanted to choose some equally vibrant flavours to match. Some crispy Peking Duck, rich and aromatic, made a brilliant partner for the wine. As did the spicy black bean and beef noodles. A most delicious feast – and no cooking for me this time!
This year is the Year of the Horse, apparently a good year for fast victories, adventures and travels to far off lands. It is considered a fortunate year that brings luck and good things.
The fortune cookies held promising messages too!
Wishing you all a happy New Year, rich in blessings, good fortune and peace.