Raising your glass to the Year of the Goat



Ahead of Chinese New Year, Amanda Longworth from our Hong Kong office looks at the bottles which are most appropriate (and quite frankly justified) for celebrating the forthcoming holiday.

As we enter the Year of the Goat, it seems opportune to explore and understand a little more about the zodiac calendar, and its possible connections to wine. With our guide, you will be able to source the perfect bottles for serving or gifting over the Chinese holiday.

Each of the zodiac signs are associated with an element that comes from the Theory of Five Elements.  This theory is a philosophical concept that looks at the world as a dynamic place that is in a constant state of change.  These elements, each represented by a colour, are natural energies, and the world transitions from one phase to the other, in a similar way to how seasons pass seamlessly from one to the next. The five elements are metal (gold), wood (green), water (white), fire (red) and earth (yellow).

This is a Goat Wood Year, and as such is associated with the colour green.  It represents all activities within the body that are self-regulating, including the digestion and the liver.  Looking at alternative cultures, even the bible (Timothy 5:23) states “Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake.”  While studies are divided on the true benefits of wine aiding digestion, starting with a glass of Champagne before any meal is said to enliven the stomach and whet the appetite in preparation for the meal.

Earth’s colour is yellow.  In a study completed in Spain on label and colour characteristics, they found that the most aesthetically appealing labels were yellow and rectangular. So perhaps to ensure immediate appeal of a bottle being received, an excellent choice might be Ch. Léoville Poyferré whose sunny label will excite any recipient.

The colour red represents fire, and is associated with the heart and the tongue.  So while ‘fiery’ is not a common wine-tasting term, spicy might suffice as a close substitute – a rich Australian Shiraz or Châteauneuf -du-Pape should both bring fire to the heart and a smile to the face.

Of course, since the Year of the Goat is also the Year of the Ram and Sheep (the same character represents all three in Chinese), one shouldn’t forget the obvious Ch. Mouton Rothschild. The recently revealed 2012 with its label bearing two sparring rams (echoing those of the château’s own emblem) would be particularly fitting.

Kung Hei Fat Choi!