Valentine’s is Sweeter the Second Time: Qixi Festival
Thursday July 18, 2019
A great number of Chinese festivals dates back to a hundred years, originating from folklore or mythology. Such is the case for the Qixi Festival or what is known as Chinese Valentine’s Day. And for most Chinese people who celebrate the occasion, love may bloom even more the second time around.
Considered as one of the Chinese traditional festivals, Qixi Festival is also known as the Double Seventh Festival that started over 2,000 years ago. And out of the many traditional Chinese festivals, it is known as the most romantic one. And due to modernization, it has gained its status as the Chinese Valentine’s Day.
TRIVIA: Double Seventh Festival is one of China’s intangible cultural heritage list.
The legend of lovers Zhinü (织女)and Niulang (牛郎) has been retold for generations. It all started with a myth during the Han Dynasty about ‘The Cowherd and the Weaving Girl’. The tale begins when one of the young goddesses went down to the world of mortals out of her curiosity. This young goddess from heaven is named Zhinü. There, she meets a young man named Niulang (also known as the cow herder). They fell in love and got married.
Eventually, Zhinü became a weaver girl. But things don’t go on as planned when the Goddess of Heaven found out about their forbidden love. She separated the lovers by creating a river of the milky way and forbade them to see each other. However, this did not stop Niulang to pursue his love. With the help of the magpies, they were able to meet. Once a year (which falls on the 7th day of the 7th Chinese Lunar month), the magpies would form a bridge above the milky way so the two lovers can meet.
Celebrating Chinese Valentine’s Day nowadays is less of doing the traditions; rather of showering loved ones with chocolates, flowers, and other gifts. However, this doesn’t mean that the Chinese have forgotten how to commemorate the festival. Cultural performances and delicious food are always present.
Great food is always a part of any Chinese festivity as family and friends enjoy the celebration. Included in the mouth-watering customary dishes served during Qixi festival are the Qiao Guo (or fried thin pastry) or skill fruit, fried rice pastries or sticky rice treats, nuts, fruits in general, and dumplings. And every celebration is complete with a bottle of fine wine!
Serenade your loved ones this 07 August with the perfect pair for any of these pastries and meals – wine! Here are some of the wines you need to have:
“Truly great stuff, this wine performed at a three-digit level both in the horizontal tasting of 2005s in Baltimore, as well as in Montreal at this mini-vertical. This sensational, opaque, bluish/purple wine offers up notes of vanillin, spring flowers, blueberry and blackberry liqueur, plus a touch of licorice. The wine hits the palate with a thunderous cascade of ripe, rich, concentrated fruit. It is full-bodied, multidimensional and layered. The tannins are beautifully integrated but still present, and the wood, acidity, alcohol, etc., are all beautifully assimilated in this magnificent, majestic vintage of Angelus. It can be drunk now, but it is still an adolescent and that suggests it has at least another 25-35 years of longevity. The Boüard family, the proprietors of Château Angelus, date from 1544 in St.-Emilion. Located on lower hillsides, with a southerly exposure, their 67-acre vineyard, composed of sandstone, limestone, and clay, is planted with 47% Cabernet Franc, 50% Merlot and 3% Cabernet Sauvignon. Hubert de Boüard, who single-handedly elevated the quality from one of mediocrity (vintages such as 1978, 1982, 1983, and 1985 were disappointing), hit pay dirt with his efforts starting in 1988. Since then, there has been a remarkable succession of great wines. Radical viticulture such as crop-thinning, shoot-positioning and the immensely labor-intensive manual destemming are employed. Both a second and third wine are made, as the selection process for Angelus is severe. All of this resulted in the 2012 Angelus being upgraded, along with Pavie, to Premier Grand Cru Classé A, joining Cheval Blanc and Ausone as one of only four estates in St.-Emilion to receive this accolade. Aging takes place in 100% new oak for 18-24 months, after which the wine is bottled with neither fining nor filtration”. – 100 points, Rober Parker
“This vibrant version is finely knit and elegant, with floral, toast and smoke aromas on the nose and flavors of crème de cassis and lemon curd riding the lacy mousse. Drink now through 2019. 4,000 cases imported. Creamy, elegant and stylish, offering complex layers of pear, spice, honey and vanilla flavors that are smooth and polished, finishing with a long, complex aftertaste. Subtle and refined; a treat to drink”. – 92 points, Wine Spectator
“I pulled this lone bottle out of my cellar at the last minute to remind some Italian vintners of the great quality of the 1995 Bordeaux vintage. They seem to be finally opening up! What a red with incredible depth and finesse. Cedar, cigar box and toabaaco character with currants and fresh tobacco undertones. It's full-bodied yet tight and dense. Precision. So refined and intense. Such freshness and beauty. Drink or hold.” – 98 points, James Suckling
“The 2016 Hermitage La Chapelle is slightly denser than the 2017 and is a bigger, richer, more structured wine than the La Maison Bleue. Crème de cassis, blackberries, crushed rocks, ozone, scorched earth, and violet notes all emerge from this beautifully classic, elegant, seamless wine that carries full-bodied richness, building tannins, and a big finish, all while staying in the classic, elegant, balanced style of the vintage. It has plenty of tannins and is a quintessential La Chapelle that will have three decades of longevity”. – 97 points, Jed Dunnuck