Rice wine at the Mid-Autumn Festival

Saucy gander

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19 September was the Mid-Autumn Festival or the Moon Festival. Beyond moon cakes, it is also a story of a woman who flew to the moon, a time for toasting a new full moon, and for me, a reason to taste good quality rice wine.

Ecstatic wine

The moon and (rice) wine is a pair that inspires countless poems in classical China. Imbibing wine until lightly inebriated, the poets recite poems or improvise lines of poetry and admires the beauty of a perfect new (round) moon. The poets thought wine helped their mind to hold – to possess – lyrical plays of words and turns of phrase. In that ‘enhanced’ state of mind, they repeat and elaborate on particularly beautiful phrases or words, much as one may savour the aroma and palate of a well-aged wine. A group of eight famous poets in the Tang Dynasty are still known as…

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