It would be a miss if you travel to Sapa without trying San Lung wine, a famous wine in Tây Bắc, the hilly NorthWest of Vietnam.
San Lung wine is named after an ethnic village of the Red Dao (the village of San Lung-Bat Xat-Lao Cai). “San Lung” means “three dragons”( 三 龙 Shànlóng, in Mandarin characters).
According to the legends of Dao, San Lung is the wine of Gods. It is said that when it’s raining and the sun is shining, the Bodhisattvas send fairies down to Pò Sen mountain to collect the wine. In these occasions a rainbow should appear giving the impression as if they’re giant faucets draining water from Pò Sen stream up to the sky. Because of this the wine is seen as a very special wine used for special occasions like festivals, fairs, weddings or treating your precious friends. It’s also used in ceremonies for worshipping heaven and earth.
San Lung has the exotic flavor of the yeast of forest leaves, the taste of rice from terraced rice fields. Another amazing fact of San Lung wine is that it doesn’t give people a headache when drinking it in large amounts. Resulting from that everyone in San Lung village knows how to drink this wine.
The wine is made with extreme care and precision. The essential ingredients are rice carefully selected from rice terraces and herbs with their own different tastes and medical uses. Before the Red Dao starts brewing the wine, the rice has to be soaked until it becomes germs. After this process they’ll brew the germs with the necessary herbs.
The wine is distilled au bain marie two times. The first time is to extract extraneous matter. The second time the wine is cooled by water from Pò Sen water stream with a mixture of herbs. This will result in giving San Lung wine a special balmily flavor.
The wine is made mainly by women. And the girls who are good and skilled at soaking, fermenting or brewing the wine are mostly run after by many men.
Because of the famous taste, most families try to save up to more than 5 cans of San Lung wine for lunar new year celebration.
San Lung – Bat Xat district – Lao Cai province is currently a famous destination for tourist to taste this kind of wine.