Plum Pink Rice Wine Is A Sweet Romantic Treat

"Plum Pink" sake, a pleasingly pink sake (rice wine) from Japanese distiller Nakano Shuzo is now shipping, just in time for Valentine's Day. The opaque, pastel hued liquor first became popular last year and the company expects to sell about twice as much in 2010.

All ingredients are locally produced in and around Nakano Shuzo's home town of Kitsuki in Oita Prefecture. The unusual pink color is all-natural, emerging during the process of fermentation due to the use of "red yeast". The fermentation's progress is difficult because of red yeast's weaker fertility compared to normal yeast.

According to distillery managing director Atsushi Nakano, this unique sake is "Sweet tasting and recommended for women." He went on to say that "It's suitable for an aperitif and makes an ideal partner with sweets." Hmm, sounds like an ideal drink for a romantic Valentine's Day dessert, amiright?

Nakano Shuzo's "Plum Pink" is a nigori zake, which means it is unfiltered giving it a signature cloudy appearance. Nigori zake ("Sayuri" brand shown above and left) is best served chilled as opposed to clear sake which is often warmed before drinking.

It's also recommend that once opened, the entire bottle be consumed since oxidation will quickly change the taste of the sake. This may help to explain the smaller size of nigori zake bottles. The cost of each 360ml (12 fl oz) bottle is 880 yen, or around $980. (via Yomiuri Online, image via Miss Peach