Sakagura Yuki No Bosha Tasting

henry.JPGI recently attended a small but spectacular tasting at my dear Sakagura restaurant. It was an evening dedicated to Sake from Saiya Sake Brewery, maker’s of Akita’s well regarded Yuki No Bosha brand.

Saiya Brewery President Kotaro Saito-san spoke at the beginning of the event to introduce Akita and his sake. Henry Seidel, President of Joto Sake, the Importer of Yuki No Bosha, spoke as well about the special nature of the “cabin in the snow” sake. We learned that Akita prefecutre is home to 51 breweries and ranks number 4 in total sake production. I took this chance to ask Saito-san about the rice shortage mania sweeping the globe and he assured us that bento.jpgsake rice was a specially produced crop and that the mass consumption global rice markets were on a different scale, so we won’t be running out of sake anytime soon. (phew!).

All in all, 6 sakes were served and a special Akita meal Bento box was prepared. I guess you could call it a gourmet Akita “happy meal” as it sure did make me happy.

yukinobosha_nama.jpgThe First sake I tasted of the evening was the Yuki No Bosha Junmai Ginjo Nama. This nama sake is on the sweeter side and was poured first to greet guest as they arrived. No objection here! This nama sake is refreshing and sweet. Not as “in-your-face” zingy as other namas this season, but lovely to drink just the same. The packaging for this sake is a foil wrapper that reminds me kinda of a sake baked potato from outer space, which, of course, I absolutely adore. This sake is in very limited supply so grab a bottle if you can find it.

yukinobosha_nigori.jpgNext I tried my number one nigori, Yuki No Bosha Junmai Ginjo Nigori. This Nigori is the lighter style of nigori that what you might find out there… In opposition to the super creamy Piña Colada style nigori, this nigori is whisper light with all the spectacular texture you expect from Nigori without the funky rice vibe you can sometimes get. This is a sake for Nigori haters and Nigori lovers both. If you don’t know Nigori, start here. Trust me.

A third sake of Note that I had the good fortune to try was the Yuki No Bosha Daiginjo. This sake is a real treasure. It’s got all the best qualities of a Daiginjo without being overbearing or heavy handed. Alcohol Added Daiginjos are less common in the US than their Junmai Daiginjo brethren so i never miss a chance to try one and wasn’t disappointed i the Yuki No Bosha Daiginjo.

Sake Sommelier Chizuko-san, an Akita native herself, was also on hand to help explain the Akita-ness of our food and drink for the evening. Akita sake means different things to different people, but I’m getting a sense of it’s unpretentious and homey nature. And in extravagant, hectic New York City, a little ‘unpretentious and homey’ in your masu can go a long way towards a great evening. Kanpai!

NYC: Joy of Sake Aftertaste: “Karakuchi”

jos_aftertaste.jpgJoy of Sake Aftertaste:

What is “Karakuchi”?

You often hear people in sushi bars ask for dry, or “karakuchi,” sake. But what exactly does this mean? Does it have to do with sweetness vs. acidity, as in wine, or do other factors come into play?

Sweetness is present in all sakes to a greater or lesser degree. This month’s Aftertaste kicks off with a tasting game to see how well we can actually judge dryness. Then it’s on to the tasting tables, where 40 different labels are arranged from moderately sweet to very dry. At 7:00 p.m. the appetizer tables open, providing an opportunity for more reflective sake tasting and socializing until 8:30.

Reservations may be made online through the following link: Aftertaste New York Online Ticket Purchase. All sales are final and attendance is limited to 50 persons.

The Joy of Sake
New York Ohana
Thursday, July 10, 2008
The Village Quill Loftspace
106 Franklin Street, 2nd Floor
6:00 to 8:30 p.m. • $45 / person
Registration from 5:30 p.m. Program begins promptly at 6:00 p.m.

Interview: Akiko Ito of Akita Seishu Brewery

ito2.JPGI have had the pleasure of enjoying many Akita Sakes, and recently caught up with Akiko Ito, Overseas Sales and PR Executive for Akita Seishu Brewery, makers of the well-regarded Kariho Brand of sake. Ito-san was kind enough to be interviewed and answered some questions about Akita and Kariho Sake.

Q: How did you get involved in the sake industry and what is your job in the brewery?

Ito-san: My great-grand father, my grand father and my father worked in this company, Akita Seishu. I was born next to the brewery, so Sake making is very familiar for me.
Now I’m in charge of overseas PR & Sales.

Q: I have noticed some people feel Akita sake is very special. What do you think Makes Akita Sake special in general? Climate? people? ingredients?

Ito-san: Climate, it is very important. Akita prefecture is renowned as a source of high quality water and fine rice, both natural prerequisites for production of fine sake.

And we have the special Toji group which is called “Sannai Toji”. The character of their style is”low temperature and long-term fermentation “which means they do the fermentation lower temperature than general Japanese method.

KarihoJunmaiGinjoRokusyu.jpgQ: For you, what makes a sake good? do you have a favorite kariho sake?

Ito-san:This is my opinion, the most important point if the matching with foods.
My favorite Kariho sake is Junmai ginjo “Rokusyu” and Junmai “Namahage”.

Kariho Junmai Ginjo “Rokusyu” is very delicate sake which is match with light dishes, of course Sashimi, Tomato and mozallera cheese salad and Tofu-base dishes.

Kariho Junmai Yamahai “Namahage” is made “Yamahai shikomi”. Dray and full body. I recommend this type of sake with main-dish. For example, Yakitori, Salmon with cream sauce…

Q: What do you think would surprise American people the most if they saw Sake brewing in person?

Ito-san: The Sake’s flavor and taste are influenced by koji. Koji plays a part similar to malts in beer brewing.
Koji making is the heart of Sake brewing and hardest working process, because the brewers often have to wake up over night to control the temperature.

Q: Are you optimistic about the future of sake in the United States?

Ito-san: Yes, Sake will accept as same as wine for general public in near future.


Thank you so much, Ito-san, for taking the time for an Interview! I am glad to hear about your optimism in regards to the popularity of Sake in the US. I’m with you! Thanks also for the tips on pairing! I’ll give it a try and let you know. Ito-san, I hope you have a chance to visit the U.S. again soon!

A Delicious Umami “Aftertaste”

table.jpgThe yearly “Joy of Sake” event is the Big-Fat-Greek-Wedding of sake tastings. It easily wins, hands down, the title of largest sake event in the U.S. It’s huge, sprawling and a lot to take in… over 300 sakes at one event. I was surprised therefore when a notice arrived in my inbox for “Joy of Sake: Aftertaste ’08 Umami the 5th Taste“. Measured against the original Joy of Sake event, the Aftertaste happening was featuring a modest 45 sakes and the theme was ferreting out the taste of “Umami” in these sakes.

Umami is roughly translated as ‘savory’ and it’s a taste widely recognized in Asia, but relatively unknown in the west. Chris Pierce of the Joy of Sake organization spoke briefly about the interesting background of how Umami was discovered. Modern chemistry identified the Umami taste as our perception of Glutamic acid, one of the essential Amino Acids. This discovery in turn gave rise to the commercialization of Monosodium glutamate aka MSG. To zero in on Umami, think of the essence of some of the following flavors: soy sauce, parmesan cheese, anchovies, and A1 Steak sauce.

kokuryu_daiginjo_final.jpgAfter Chris’ brief lecture, we were unleashed on the 45 bottles and left to hunt for that elusive Umamai. I hit the ground running and found so me fantastic sake right out the gate. I started with the sakes from Kokuryu. First, the Kokuryu “Ryu” Daiginjo. Word on the street is that this is one of the Japanese Emperor’s favorite sakes. That is one thing I have in common with His Royal Highness. This daiginjo is smooth drinking and I almost always drink a glass or two extra when I get access to a bottle. You can expect delicious floral notes in the nose and a soothing smooth finish. This sake is worth a king’s ransom.

Next the Kokuryu Gohyaku-Mangoku Junmai Ginjo. I found this sake to be a Wonderful Umami-laden Junmai Ginjo. Savory and smooth, this is a sake you can really taste some depth of flavor on and really sink your teeth into. A supreme pleasure to drink and perfectly positioned between elegant and casual.

yaemon_final.jpgSome other stand out sakes that offered up some Umami flavors to me were the hearty and hand-crafted Shichihonyari Junmai, a delicious Okunomatsu Tokubetsu Junmai, and two yummy sakes from Tentaka Brewery, the Tentaka Junmai and the wonderful Tentaka Junmai Daiginjo.

My favorite new discovery of the night was Yaemon Junmai Ginjo. While certainly not a mega umami bomb, smooth drinking with a pleasant light umami on the palate… also known as scrumptious! Short finish and not too heavy a rice flavor. really nice! This is a sake I really made friends with. I kept coming back to Yaemon again and again.

When all was said and done, I feel I got closer to an understanding of Umami. Well, I learned enough to know I want to learn more. And if you’ve got to stay up late doing homework, what could be better to study than scrumptious, savory, mouth watering umami. Kanpai!

NYC: Kyotofu Sake and Food Pairing Dinner

kyotofu.jpgKyotofu Sake Tasting and Food Pairing with Sake Sommelier Chris Johnson.

Kyotofu presents a Sake Tasting event, featuring 5 different sakes all from teh award-winning Murai Family brewery.Paired with each sake will be a special Chef’s tasting menu (6 courses plus dessert).

FEE: $45 before tax and tip

705 9th Ave
(between 48th and 49th Streets)
New York, NY 10019

Nishimoto Tasting in Midtown

crowd.jpg On a beautiful early summer day, I took off from work and headed to a sake tasting hosted by the fine folks at Nishimoto Trading Co., a sake importer of some very fine sake. The event was up at the Bryant Park hotel but located downstairs at the beautiful cellar bar.

yageta1.JPGI started my rounds visiting the Kagatobi table and I was happy to see Mr. Yageta-san representing the Kagatobi Brewery. I first met Yageta-san back in February at a Sakaya tasting event. I was re-introduced to three standout sakes from Kagatobi! I first had the Kagatobi Cho Karakuchi Yamahai Junmai. This is their “super dry” selection. Kagatobi takes an even hand with what they call “super” dry – It’s noticeably dry for those who love it dry, but not overpowering for those who might not. This would also be an excellent sake to warm up! Next I tried The Kabatobi Junmai Ginjo, which is a really delightful sake. Very smooth and rich with a well balanced acidity, I really enjoyed this selection… so easy to drink! I also enjoyed the Kagatobi Ai Junmai Daiginjo. This sake was lighter than the Junmai Ginjo, but perhaps a bit smoother and a touch more elegant. Just as delicious. Kagatobi left me with the impression of wanting to learn more about this well crafted sake!

toshi.jpgNext I caught up with Toshi Imai-san from Kamenoi Brewery, the makers of Kudoki Jozu, which I can easily say, has to be one of my very favorites! I first met Toshi-san back in 2006 at a Yamagata sake event. I was happy to sample the delicioso Kudoki Jozu Junmai Ginjo. Toshi-san also introduced me to two new sakes possibly coming into the U.S. this year. First, was a fantastic sparkling sake. What was different about this sake is that it’s not too sweet or heavily carbonated. I was clued into the secret… the sake on it’s own is so good, that you can still drink and enjoy even if the sake goes flat. Third, there was a unique red rice sake that had a deep color and unique taste. I’ve never had anything much like it before and I’ll be excited to see what you all think if it does get imported!

naraman_junmai.jpgThe Next sake I tried was a real find! We’re talking about something new here that will only be available starting this month! It’s Naraman Junmai Muroka Bin Hiire. This is really a special sake that I will look forward to trying again. It’s a Junmai Muroka with a flavor-forward palate and a bit higher than usual alcohol percentage. The taste was balanced with a surprising structure for a junmai. This sake gives you quite a good value for the money. Enjoy it warmed or chilled.

This Summer 2008 preview of the Nishimoto Sake selection was really fun! There were more sakes than I reported here, but even Sake Samurai have their limits. I hope to see more Nishimoto imported sakes at future events and it’s a great way to kick start summer. Kanpai!

NYC: Sakaya Sake and Cheese Pairing

sakaya.gifSakaya is hosting a sake and cheese pairing. Sake & Cheese! An unlikely marriage? If you haven’t tried it yet, let us introduce you to a match made in heaven.

SAKAYA : 324 E. 9th Street (Between 1st & 2nd Ave.)
New York, NY 10003
212.505.SAKE (7253)

NYC: Sake Hana Tasting Dinner

sake-hana.jpgOn Tuesday, July 1, 2008 Sake Hana is honored to welcome Mr. Kohiyama from the Takasago Brewery, Hokkaido. Please join us at 8pm for an intimate sake dinner and advanced talk with Mr. Kohiyama. This is an opportunity to dive deeper into the sake world.

For this special night space is limited to 15 people, please contact us at your earliest convenience for reservations.

July 1, 2008 at 8pm
$65 per person for sake and dinner (not including tax and gratuity)
Please email for reservation:
Email: [email protected]

Sake Samurai Tasting

tim.JPGI was lucky enough to be invited to host another “sake samurai” tasting at Sakaya, New York’s ONLY all sake store. It’s really fun when I get to meet people and introduce them to some of my favorite sakes one on one! This time, we focused in on three Junmai Ginjo sakes, with three unique flavors, all from different parts of Japan. urakasumi_zen.jpgHere is a look at what we tasted…

First, we looked at Urakasumi Zen Junmai Ginjo. This sake approaches you with an even hand across the board. It’s got a wonderful medium body with a medium dry palate. And you guessed it… a nice medium acidity rounds out this very well balanced, smooth sake. A wonderful textbook example of “junmai ginjo”. A nice slow brewing time at a low temperature is one of the secrets of this fantastic brew. Enjoy it on it’s own, or even better – pair with some food. Urakasumi is extremely food friendly and I encourage you to experiment! You’ll be sure to find your own state of “ZEN”. ooohmmmmm.

kaiun_junmai_ginjo.JPGNext we tried Kaiun Junmai Ginjo. Kaiun is a rich and layered sake. Quite delicious! I think it’s interesting that this sake is from Shizuoka Prefecture. Shizuoka is know around the world for it’s refined tastes and palate. An example I often site is the exquisite production of Green Tea crop that comes from Shizuoka. I find this refined palate reflected in the sake. There is a special flavorful nuance in Kaiun that speaks to me of it’s home. If you’ve tried Kaiun Junmai Ginjo, please post a comment below and let me know what you thought.

mantensei.jpgLast I served Mantensei Junmai Ginjo. This sake has a strong aroma of organic honey on the nose. smells just like the farmer’s market honey! I’m telling you!! give this sake a whiff and you’ll see. Such a fun thing to find the smells and flavors in sake. Moving on from the nose, this sake came across to me as rich in texture with a touch of a dry finish. Really an interesting brew and I can’t wait to drink it again for further investigation.

“Junmai Ginjo” means different things to different people, but talking with sake fans at this tasting convinced me that there is no one answer to what it is. I think it will easily be a life-long quest to try and better understand this classification of sake. The good news is, that’s a mission I am happy to sign up for. Kanpai!

NYC: Sakagura Summer Sake Tasting

sakagura.jpgSAKAGURA and JOTO SAKE LLC
“Early Summer Sake Tasting”
Tuesday, June 24th, 2008

We are very excited to announce our upcoming “early summer sake tasting event”
featuring two sake breweries; Fuchu Homare from Ibaraki, the producer of Wataribune,
and Kasumitsuru from Hyogo.

This event will be led by Mr. Yamauchi from Fuchu Homare Brewing Company
( that is well known by “Wataribune” (Ferry Boat) and also
Mr. Fukumoto from Kasumitsuru Brewing Company
( that is well known by “Kasumitsuru” (Crane of Kasumi).

Mr Yamauchi, Mr Fukumoto, and our sake sommelier Ayuchi Momose will guide you
through an evening making you satisfy with the great sake.
Tasting event will feature Ten sake selections, and a buffet style dinner will be served
from Sakagura’s executive chef, Akinobu Suzuki.

Watari Bune “ Ferry Boat ”
* ”Taiheikai” Tokubetsu Junmai
* ”Taiheikai” Namazake Nigori
* “Watari Bune” Junmai Ginjo
* “Watari Bune” Junmai Daiginjo
* “Watari Bune” Junmai Daiginjo Namazake
* “Watari Bune” Junmai Ginjo Namazake”

Kasumi Tsuru “ Crane of Kasumi ”
* Kimoto Extra Dry
* Yamahai Junmai
* Yamahai Ginjo
* Shiboritate Nama Genshu

Admission: $60 (excluding tax and gratuity)

Seating: 30 guests

Time: 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM

RSVP Hotline: 212-953-SAKE (9253)
*No email reservation, please!
*Please note that it will be a buffet style tasting.

Please note that a credit card number is NEEDED to process the RSVP.
* This event would be 24-hour cancellation policy

We will be taking reservations starting 6/10 through 6/23.
Reservations will be standing by Monday through Friday after 3pm and
Saturday and Sunday after 5pm to 7pm.

211 EAST 43rd Street B1F
New York, NY 10017

San Francisco: Joy Of Sake

Join visiting brewers from Japan and sake enthusiasts from San Francisco and Japan to sample this year’s newly released fall sakes. Over 300 sakes, including gold and silver award winners from this year’s U.S. National Sake Appraisal, will be featured.

Good food and fine sake are made to be enjoyed together. A splendid array of sake appetizers prepared by 14 outstanding restaurants provides an ideal accompaniment to the many fine daiginjo, ginjo and junmai sakes available for sampling.

The Joy of Sake – San Francisco………………$75
Oct. 23, 2008 • 6PM-8:30PM
San Francisco Design Center
Two Henry Adams Street, Suite 450

Purchase by Phone
To charge tickets over the phone, call:
Toll-free Hot Line 888-799-7242

To Purchase Ticket online, Click here.

Honolulu: Joy of Sake

Join visiting brewers from Japanand sake enthusiasts from Hawaii and Japan to sample this year’s newly released fall sakes. Over 300 sakes, including gold and silver award winners from this year’s U.S. National Sake Appraisal, will be featured.

Good food and fine sake are made to be enjoyed together. A splendid array of sake appetizers prepared by 12 outstanding restaurants provides an ideal accompaniment to the many fine daiginjo, ginjo and junmai sakes available for sampling.

Welcome to the Joy of Sake Ticket Store

The Joy of Sake – Honolulu…………………………………………….$70
Aug. 21, 2009 • 6PM-8:30PM
Honolulu Academy of Arts
900 Beretania Street

Phone Purchases
To charge tickets over the phone, call:
(808) 739-1000  or toll-free  (888) 739-1007

To Purchase Ticket online, Click here.

NYC: Joy Of Sake

Join visiting brewers from Japan and sake enthusiasts from New York and Japan to sample this year’s newly released fall sakes. Over 300 sakes, including gold and silver award winners from this year’s U.S. National Sake Appraisal, will be featured.

Good food and fine sake are made to be enjoyed together. A splendid array of sake appetizers prepared by 20 outstanding restaurants provides an ideal accompaniment to the many fine daiginjo, ginjo and junmai sakes available for sampling.

The Joy of Sake – New York City…………………….$80  ( $90 at the door )
September 24, 2009 • 6PM-9PM
Webster Hall
125 East 11th Street

Purchase by Phone
To charge tickets over the phone, call:
Toll-free Hot Line 888-799-7242

To Purchase Tickets online, CLICK HERE

San Francisco: Sake Tasting at Anzu

anzu.gifCome and meet the brewers of Kasumi Tsuru (a master of Kimoto and Yamahai brewing) and Wataribune (who revived the mystic Wataribune rice). There will be 8 sakes to taste, including a Namazake from each brewery, with appetizers by Chef Barney Brown.

When: Thursday, June 26th, 6pm – 7pm

Where: Anzu (at Nikko Hotel) 222 Mason St. SF

8 Sakes to be poured:
Kasumi Tsuru Kimoto Extra Dry
Kasumi Tsuru Yamahai Ginjo
Kasumi Tsuru Yamahai Junmai
Wataribune Shiboritate Namazake Genshu
Taiheikai Tokubetsu Junmai
Wataribune Junmai Ginjo 55
Wataribune Junmai Daiginjo

Price: $35 inclusive

What else: Limited to 30 people. Validated parking
Reservations: Call Anzu to make your reservation: 415-394-1108

San Francisco: Takenotsuyu Tasting

sozai.gif2nd Annual Take no Tsuyu Sake Pairing and Lecture this Sunday!!!
Sake Pairing with Take-no-Tsuyu Brewery from Yamagata, Japan
This month, we have a special guest from Japan to do the pairing. Masao Aisawa was with us a year ago, providing wonderful sake. We’d like to continue this tradition of having him this year again. Over the brief history of Sozai Restaurant, Take no Tsuyu (Bamboo Tears) Junmai has become the “Sake of the Inner Sunset,” a huge hit with anyone seduced to try it by General Manager Gil Payne. It is Sozai’s top selling Sake, and Gil’s absolute favorite sake to have with Izakaya-style tapas! To take advantage of Take no Tsuyu owner, Masao-san’s brief visit to the Bay Area, we once again have the honor of inviting you to experience a sake pairing with five of his wonderful sakes with four specially crafted tapas plates by Chef Mari. You’ll have the added benefit and honor of meeting him and hearing the story of this outstanding kura from Yamagata-ken. We are also inviting a secret, special guest Chef, who will pairs his/her wonderful food with Genzo Haguro Honjozo!!!

When: Sunday, June 14th, 6 – 8 PM, Sozai Restaurant and Sake Lounge, [email protected] Ave.

How Much: $40 per person for four sakes and four plates, plus welcome sake. Regular menu including Dine About Town menu to be available following the tasting. Pairing:

Take-no-Tsuyu Junmai – Welcome SakeOkuribito – Chasen Nasu (Deep Fried Eggplant in Dashi Broth)

Hakuro Suishu Junmai Ginjo – Local Halibut with Ume and Shiso

Yuki Honaka Junmai Hatsushibori – Chicken and Burdock Roulade, Sansho

Genzo Haguro Honjozo – a wonderful Chef’s surprise

Who to contact: For reservations, call Sozai at 415-681-7150. You will be contacted back for confirmation and payment..

See Website for more information:

A Taste of Niigata

kobayashi3.JPGNiigata is a special place for sake. Not quite sure what makes it special… some say the water, some say the snow, some say the climate, but when it comes down to it, above it’s the taste.

If anyone can help us unravel this mystery, it’s Ataru Kobayashi, Founder of SENA Niigata Sake Selections, an importer that focuses exclusively on sakes from Niigata Prefecture. I had the pleasure of meeting Kobayashi-san again at his recent tasting at Sakaya in New York City, and got to sample some fantastic Niigata sake.

kakurei_Daiginjo_final.JPGFirst I had a fantastic sake that is one of my favorites! It’s Kakurei Junmai Daiginjo. I first tried this sake way back in December 2006 at a late night sake event at Sake Hana featuring all Niigata Sakes. At that 2006 event, I bet the Brewery President Mr. Takafumi Aoki who I remember to be a young and very enthusiastic champion of specialty brews from Niigata. It made quite an impression and I was happy to try it again almost two years later. I’m happy to report, Kakurei Junmai Daiginjo is still a perfect little gem of Niigata sake. It’s an oh so elegant Daiginjo with mild fruits on the palate and light floral aromas in the nose. Smooth and clean – so drinkable.

Hakuryu_Daigino_Final.jpgNext I sampled Hakuryu Daiginjo. This is an alcohol-added Daiginjo with a Niigata pedigree. “Hakuryu” means “White Dragon” in English. So, of course, I reached for the “Flagon with the dragon”, hoping it had the “brew that is true”. I lucked out and found Hakuryu to be light fruity and sooo smooth, this sake is one of Niigata’s finest. enjoy this with lighter fare such as sashimi and other raw fish. just a fantastic example of the light style of niigata brewing.

Yukikage_junmai_final.jpgLast but not least I tried Yukikage Tokubetsu Junmai. This sake is called “Snow Shadow” in English. An important note about “Snow Shadow” is it’s lower alcohol percentage. that makes for a Junmai that has a lighter profile than you might expect. So, if you like your junmai light and airy, this Niigata treat is for you. Mild fruits and a nice soft palate, smooth and clean drinking. a real gem if you want to chill out with a no nonsense but very easy to enjoy sake. It seems all the Niigata sakes here have that lightness about them. I have to say, for me, it’s a style I really dig.

Given all this yummy Niigata sake, I feel like I have only touched on the tip of the iceberg. There is a lot more to learn, and a lot more to taste when it comes to those Niigata Sake Selections! Kanpai!

Brilliant Jade Shines at Sakaya

mabuchi.JPGWith weekly tastings going on at Sakaya, there is a lot to taste and enjoy! It’s hard to keep up with all the goings on, but I will give the old college try. A recent highlight was Tamanohikari a.k.a. “Brilliant Jade”.

It was a wonderful treat to meet Mr. Kenzo Mabuchi-san, General Manager of Export for TamanoHikari Sake Brewing Co. He introduced me to three fantastic TamanoHikari sakes all imported from beautiful Kyoto Prefecture.

First, we were treated to Tamanohikari Junmai Daiginjo. The unique nuances of this glorious sake come from, among other things, the use of Bizen Omachi rice. This ancient rice strain is not commonly used for sake, and lends this exquisite Junamai Daiginjo a down to earth touch. “brilliant jade” is a crown jewel indeed! Everyone who tries this Junmai daiginjo seems to love it, myself included.

Next was the intriguing Tamanohikari Yamahai Junmai Ginjo. This is a unique yamahai, in that this sake is a junmai ginjo grade, milled to 60%. The higher acidity makes this yamahai perfect for pairing with lots of foods. tamanohikari_softpack.jpgthat earthy yamahai flavor comes thru powerfully without throwing the taste of balance. a dream sake for yamahai fans.

Last but not least is the Tamamohikari Tokusen Junmai Ginjo Paper Pack. This is really Tamanohikari’s “tokusen” junmai ginjo in a super unique package: a paper soft-pack, not unlike juicy-juice from your childhood lunchbox. The taste is lighter, dry and no-nonsense. Tamanohikari recommends freezing this pack and then pouring out for instant “sake slushies” On a hot summer day, what could be more refreshing? also perfect for picnics… the uses for paper pack sake seem endless!

Any of these fantastic sakes from Tamanohikari in Kyoto deserve a second look. Not only do they taste good, but each has something special that makes them really shine. Have you tried any of these sakes? if so, leave a comment and let me know what you think. In my book, “Brilliant Jade” really does sparkle.

Seattle: Kasumi Tsuru at Sake Nomi

sakenomi.gifFounded in 1725, Kasumi Tsuru is one of the only breweries in Japan producing almost all their sake using the laborious and time-consuming kimoto and yamahai methods for nurturing their sake’s yeast starter. These brewing methods lead to earthy, rich, and complex tastes and aromas.

Sake to be featured include:Kimoto Extra Dry: Quiet impact with mild banana sweetness, caramel undertones, and full-bodied mouthfeel. Tangy and spicy, with lingering citrus-like acidity. An excellent “session” sake, full of umami and richness. Food pairings? Try pizza or barbecue ribs — really!

Yamahai Ginjo: Light and smooth. Earthy, mineral nose, with woody accents. Underlying watermelon-like sweetness, and a dryness that comes back in delayed tail. Layered and complex.

While supplies last, we might even be able to break out some of Kasumi Tsuru’s extra special nama (unpasteurized) sake to taste . . .

Sake Nomi
76 South Washington Street
Seattle, Washington 98104
Tel: 206-467-SAKE

Seattle: Masumi at Sake Nomi

sakenomi.gifWednesday, June 11 we are pleased to once again welcome Mr. Keith Norum from Nagano’s Miyasaka Brewing Co. for a special open house-style tasting event featuring Masumi brand sake.

Miyasaka Brewing Co. produces Masumi Karakuchi Ki-Ippon “Mirror of Truth,” (a Sake Nomi favorite we featured on our very first glass pour menu!), as well as Masumi Sanka, “Mountain Flowers,” an exquisite junmai daiginjo.

Keith is the head of Miyasaka Brewing’s Overseas Operations, and he first visited Sake Nomi back in September. As during his previous visit, in addition to pouring some of his brewery’s special sakenot yet available in the U.S., Keith will be able to share his insights regarding developments in the Japanese sake industry and sake-related trends in other parts of the world.

Sake Nomi
76 South Washington Street
Seattle, Washington 98104
Tel: 206-467-SAKE

NYC: Takasago Brewery tasting at Sakaya

sakaya.gif Come to sakaya and taste two sakes you may not know: Taisetsu Junmai Ginjo and Ginga Shizuku Junmai Daiginjo. It’s free an delicious! Hope to see you there.
SAKAYA : 324 E. 9th Street (Between 1st & 2nd Ave.)
New York, NY 10003
212.505.SAKE (7253)

NYC: VOS sake tasting at Sakaya

sakaya.gifSelections are being tasted from the VOS sake importer. Come taste something different.
SAKAYA : 324 E. 9th Street (Between 1st & 2nd Ave.)
New York, NY 10003
212.505.SAKE (7253)

NYC: Dassai Tasting at Sakaya

sakaya.gifSakaya Tasting: Mr. Sakurai from Dassai Brewery is coming to Sakaya! come taste some fantastic sake for free!! you won’t want to miss this one.
SAKAYA : 324 E. 9th Street (Between 1st & 2nd Ave.)
New York, NY 10003
212.505.SAKE (7253)