Vail Finds from the Vine: ‘Dreamy Clouds’ sake is a superb sip |

Vail Finds from the Vine: ‘Dreamy Clouds’ sake is a superb sip

Jarrett Osborn
Vail, CO Colorado

VAIL, Colorado –We have not had a “Find from the Stalk” in the Vail Valley for a bit, so this week’s beverage is a sake. Thus, the stalk in question is rice.

Oooooh, rice, sounds exciting. The Rihaku Nigori “Dreamy Clouds” Sake is a fruity, lightly sweet sake. The term “nigori” tells us this sake is unfiltered, or lightly filtered, and has a lovely creamy white sediment.

Shake the bottle before you serve this drink, and serve it lightly chilled. Lovely rose petal aromas jump from the glass, and the sweet and sour rice flavors give this sake a body and depth not found in filtered ones. Hints of lychee nut and pear are delicate and crisp.

The Rihaku Dreamy Clouds is a lovely aperitif. Sip it at the beginning of a meal to awaken your taste buds. Of course, it pairs well with a variety of sushi, and is particularly nice at cutting the heat of wasabi or other super-spicy foods.

With its slightly sweet flavors, try this as dessert, instead of a dessert wine or a port. And for you folks allergic to sulfites, sake is your answer – rice, unlike grapes, have no sulfites.

The Dreamy Clouds is also gluten-free and kosher, just in case you needed to know. At 15.5 percent alcohol, treat this like a wine, sip it and enjoy – don’t chug it like a beer. The Dreamy Clouds comes in a 300 ml bottle, and is $17.

Great sakes taste different from each other due to the origin of the rice and water, the type of rice, how much the rice is milled (or polished) and the skill of the brewer. The Rihaku Dreamy Clouds is from the Shimane prefecture in the southern part of the main island of Japan.

The rice used is gohyakumangoku, a smooth and fragrant variety. The rice is milled to 59 percent of its original size, technically making it a junmai ginjo, a very high quality of a nigori-style sake. The “shuzo,” or brewery, was founded in 1882, and still uses water from its original source nearby. The current “toji,” or master brewer, is Oosako Osanobu, assisted by Mituo Yoshioka.

Rihaku was named after the Chinese poet of the same name, also known as Li Po, who lived from 701 to 762. He apparently liked his adult beverages, like most great writers, and supposedly said, “I drink a bottle and write 100 poems.”

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