Chinese New Year 2021 – Year of the Metal Ox will start on February 12, and it will last until January 31, 2022. In Chinese culture, the Ox is a valued animal because of its role in agriculture and its positive characteristics, such as being hardworking and honest. According to https://www.thechinesezodiac.org on the web, “…This year is going to be lucky and also perfect to focus on relationships, whether we are talking about friendships or love. In the Chinese Zodiac, the Ox is very hardworking and methodical. 2021 is going to be a year when work will get rewarded, and those zodiac signs who are lucky in terms of money this year will be the ones that will make a considerable effort. The Yin energy, specific to the Chinese zodiac sign of Ox, will be quite poignant. This is going to be a year when we will fully feel the weight of our responsibilities, a year when it is necessary to double our efforts to accomplish anything at all…
This year, no explosive or catastrophic events will occur, so it is a favorable year for economic recovery or consolidation, a year of long-term investments (especially for creating a reserve stock for the coming unproductive years). The Metal Ox year is also great for making order in the family life. After all, if the family life is peaceful, everything gets solved! Thus, 2021 is a year when all the problems get solved with discipline. A lot of discipline! Obviously, with an extra effort from us in organizing our time…”
From this info and looking at COVID, I’d say that it looks hopeful that this problem will be resolved with our discipline; Wear masks, socially distance, and keep our bubble small. Within our bubble, we can still enjoy dinners and celebrate family events, such as birthdays this year. And wine can play a part. I tried to find some wines that have an ox theme. There are very few wineries, and none in BC. If you know of any BC wineries that have an ox reference to one of their wines, please let me know.
Below are wines that I have found from around the world. If you are in the United States, you should be able to order these wines online from the local wineries.
Wineries With an Ox Theme
Ox-Eye Vineyards is located in Staunton, Virginia. In 1996, John and Susan Kiers purchased a 100 acre farm in the Shenandoah Valley for the purpose of growing wine grapes. The Shenandoah Valley drew their interest because of its relatively low rainfall, its cool climate, and its deep limestone soil. Limestone soil is prized by wineries for providing minerality and freshness to wines. It was named Ox-Eye after the ox-eye daisies that grow in the region. The labels that have an ox on it are their Traminette, Chardonnay/Riesling blend, Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, and Lemberger wines.
I have not heard of the Traminette grape before so did a quick search. Traminette is the cross between the Joannes Seyve 23.416 and Gewürztraminer grapes. Created at the University of Illinois in 1965, this grape has pronounced Gewurztraminer fruit character, partial resistance to several fungal diseases, and cold hardiness. It is grown in the states of Ohio, New York, and Virginia.
The Blue Ox Wine Co. winery tasting room is located in Berkeley, CA. Their current releases are of red, rosé, and sparkling wines. I did not see any white wines listed, but it could be that they are sold out, so not listed on their website. When I checked the currently released wines, they identify the regions where the grapes were sourced. They source grapes from Washington, Oregon, and California. The wines that you can currently purchase are made from Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Pfeffer, Mourvedre, Grenache, Syrah, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, and Pinot Meunier.
Again I find another new grape to me, the Cabernet Pfeffer. Checking on line, it sounds like a mystery grape. Very little is grown in California, around 12 acres. Some people say that it is a cross with Cabernet Sauvignon. Ampelographers undertook DNA testing at the University of California Davis and determined that it was actually an obscure French grape called Mourtaou. This grape does impart a spicy pepperiness, which is probably why it was named locally as “Pfeffer” as that is the German word for pepper.
Seven Oxen Estate Wines is located in the rolling hills of Paso Robles’ Westside, in California. According to the winery, “Seven Oxen is a translation of an ancient Mediterranean term for the seven stars of the Big Dipper, circling the North Star through the year like a team of oxen rounding a threshing floor. ” They don’t use pesticides, herbicides or chemical fertilizers, and take a minimalist approach at the winery. They produce 6 red wines and one rosé wine. The rose wine is made from Grenache, Mourvedre, and Zinfandel. Their single varietal red wines are made from Grenache, Mourvedre, Tannat, and Zinfandel. They do have one red blend made with Grenache and Mourvedre grapes.
I identified two wineries that have an ox theme for their wines; one located in Spain and the other in France. They use the terms Buey (Spanish) and Vache (French) for ox, although Vache could also be translated as cow. I do not know if either wine is available in North America.
The first winery is Puente de Rus from Spain. Their wine, Paso de Buay, translates to Ox Pass. The wine comes from the La Mancha region and is made with the grapes: Tempranillo 40%, Cabernet Sauvignon 40%, Merlot 10%, Syrah 5%, and Petit Verdot 5%.
The second winery is Vin Noé from the Burgundy – Beaujolais region. Their wine, Amour Vache, translates to either Ox Love, or Cow Love. This red wine is made from the Gamay grape so should have nice red fruit flavours and lower tannins, and go nicely with a range of Chinese dishes.
I hope you are able to find one of the wines in your local wine shop,or are able to order the wines directly from the wineries before Chinese New Year. Enjoy.