For the record, I wasn’t hungover from the Joy of Sake event last night… Maybe a touch dehydrated, but no worse for wear. Hmm… if i’m dehydrated I had better get some liquids in me right away.
Luckily, Landmark Wine and Sake had scheduled a sake tasting for that very afternoon! Instead of Hair of the Dog that Bit You – this was more Hair of the Dog that licked your face and brought you your slippers.
I was psyched about this tasting! something I’ve always wanted to do – to taste the same sake warmed and chilled side by side.
Serving at the tasting was Ms. Akiko Ito, representing Kariho Brewery from Akita Prefecture. Ms. Ito was very kind to chat with me for a bit about the sakes at hand and her experiences during sake week so far.
Mr. Morita from Prestige Sake was also on hand. He kept an eye on the temperature of each warming sake.
The sakes slated for this tasting were set up most dry to least dry:
1) Kariho Namahage (“Devil’s Mask”, Akita Prefecture, SMV +8, Acidity 1.7) Namahage cannot be accused of false advertising. Their label says “EXTREMELY DRY” across the top in big gold letters …and that it was. Chilled this tasted very dry and quite bold on the palate. When warmed, this sake revealed it’s full alcohol flavor and nose.
2) Urakasumi (“Misty Bay”, Miyagi Prefecture, SMV +2 , Acidity 1.3) This sake was very much the middle of the road of the three. Chilled, it’s mild and easy drinking with a pretty good balance and light acidity.Warmed up, I tasted some spicy notes and that fuller taste of alcohol.
3) Nishinoseki (“Champ of the West”, Oita Prefecture, SMV -3, Acidity 1.5) Nishinoseki was the least dry and seemed to fit my palate the best. When served chilled, I loved the flavor. It was smooth with just the smallest hint of floral notes – all the while never becoming too sweet. This sake warmed up faired the best but my favorite parts about it were diminished. The flavor was obviously less complex, but the warmth was comforting.
All in all, I enjoyed the chilled sakes more than the heated simply because there was more depth and complexity. However, there was just enough of a chill in the air today to hint at the coming winter and the pure joy of heated sake on an freezing cold day. So, check back with me in January and I may be humming a different tune.