Versatile, easygoing, affordable quality wines of southern France twin perfectly with
delicacies through season of festivities from Mid-autumn Festival to
Christmas and Chinese New Year
Renowned for their versatility and affordability, Rhône Valley wines are the perfect match for all occasions over Hong Kong’s upcoming festive season. From Mid-Autumn Festival to Christmas and Chinese New Year, with delicacies like hairy crab in season in between, Inter Rhône, which represents winemakers from the sun-kissed region between Vienne and Avignon, is suggesting great value-for-money, easy-going wines that pair ideally with every celebration.
“Wine, when all is said and done, is meant to be enjoyed and these fine Rhône wines we have chosen are ideal matches with celebrations over every festive season,” said Rhône Valley Vineyards Marketing Ambassador, Greater China, Mr Brieg Lemétayer.
Stepping into September, the city slowly gets in the festival mood with celebrations on its way, with Mid-Autumn Festival being the first to come. Mooncakes are a quintessential, traditional element of the festival, where every gathering of relatives and friends gather over this auspicious harvest festival when the moon is at its roundest and brightest.
The floral nose of the Muscat de Beaumes de Venise appellation lifts the aroma of the lotus seed paste, with high residual sugar matching its sweetness while softening the saltiness of the salted egg yolk. Suggested vintages are Vidal Fleury Muscat de Beaumes de Venise 2014 and Domaine des Bernardins Muscat de Beaumes de Venise 2013.
Hairy Crab is the most beloved of Chinese delicacies during a season of gastronomic treats from both east and west in autumn. With its own unique herbal aroma, and traditional condiment of Zhenjiang black vinegar made from glutinous rice, the lusciously sweet and sour tastes combination is a match made in heaven with a matured Cote-Rotie, such as Vidal-Fleury La Chatillonne Côte-Rôtie 2009, with its warm spices, earthiness and fresh acidity.
Pairing hairy crab with white wine is an entirely different art – and Clos des Americains Le Blanc Costières de Nîmes 2015, a blend of Roussanne, Marsanne, Vermentino and Viognier, introduces a complexity of flavours that is not overshadowed by the robust flavours of the haircrab, yet bringing a freshness enhancing its delectable taste.
The jovial celebration of Christmas will be incomplete without a traditional roast turkey and all-time favourite gingerbread cookies. For the merriest meal of the year, a roast turkey on its own can be somewhat lacking. The spicy aroma of a balanced Gigondas unveiling the flavor of red and black fruits, such as Château St Cosme Gigondas 2014, is an inspired match. For a more ordinary roast turkey, with less seasoning, settle for the similar but lighter style of Vinsobres, a blend of mainly Grenache and Syrah, such as Domaine Jaume Reference Vinsobres 2013.
Wrap up the hearty feast with cheerful, ever-popular Gingerbread cookies, the traditional pairing is obviously with sweet wine, like for most desserts. But in these health-conscious days, modern Hong Kong versions are baked with less sugar, and additional spices to ginger such as cinnamon and cloves, which pair beautifully with a fruity Rosé or a fresh Côtes du Rhône red.
The wild strawberry nose and the spicy undertones of a Tavel rosé, such as Les Vignerons de Tavel Terroir de Sables Tavel Rosé, enhance the spiciness of the cookies. On the other hand, the generous meaty and spicy notes of a Côtes du Rhône, such as Cor Hominis Laetificat Côtes du Rhône 2010, affectionately enhance the taste of cinnamon and cloves.vine
Chinese New Year is the most important festival on the Chinese calendar where a plethora of traditional delicacies are served, among them is the Braised Dried Oysters with Black Sea Moss – affectionately named as ‘Fat Choy’, after the Chinese term for good fortune.
An aged earthy, smoky Hermitage Red is the standard, time-honoured match for dried seafood. Try pairing it with Hermitage’s Crozes-Hermitage, such as Cave de Tain Les Hauts du Fief Crozes Hermitage 2013, where the notes of fresh fruit and licorice delicately enhance the flavour. Beyond Côtes du Rhône, Ventoux produces rich, spicy and fruit- driven reds, such as Château Pesquié’s top cuvee, Château Pesquié Ventoux Artemia, with an earthy, licorice, black fruit and even smoky sensation that accompanies other dried seafood too.
Chinese New Year cannot be complete with Chinese New Year puddings. Most Chinese festive puddings are sweet, but not the beloved Radish Cake. With its slightly bitter undertone, a pairing with a tannic red wine heralds disaster. The best option is a non-aromatic white, which does not overpower the vegetable aroma. Cotes du Rhone Blanc, blended mainly from Marsanne and Roussane, has a round, rich body, and an aftertaste like almond, which marries nicely with turnip pudding. Two suggestions are Domaine de l’Amandine Côtes du Rhône 2015 and Château de Montfaucon Côtes du Rhône Blanc 2014.
“Rhône Valley AOC wines set the ‘gold standard’ for easy-drinking, approachable, quality wines with a broad diversity and versatility for all occasions and cuisines through every festive season,” said Ms Anaïs Richard, Asia Export Marketing Manager for Rhône Valley Vineyards’ promoting committee, Inter Rhône.
With the region’s modern image and broad appeal in terms of price and flavour, Rhône Valley wines from France’s second largest AOC wine region have in recent years emerged as a ‘dynamic exporter’ and go-to’ AOC choice worldwide, with soaring popularity especially in Asia.
For more information about Rhône Valley Vineyards, please visit www.rhone-wines.com.