Webster_hall_1.jpgThe annual Joy of Sake event is the mother lode of sake tastings brought right to our backyard. In the span of 3 hours, there is more sake, great food and enthusiastic drinkers than you can shake a stick at. Best of all, there are tons of sakes that are not for sale in the US. If you want to save yourself the round trip airfare, 26 hours cramped in coach, and a week and a half of jet lag – this is really your best bet.

crowd_1.jpgMy recent interview with Joy of Sake Organizer Chris Pearce gave me some new insight into this event, so check it out if you haven’t already. Also of note this year was the new location. Moving from the puck building to Webster Hall was quite a change, but I think a successful one. I started the evening up at the top floor with all the Junmai daiginjo and daiginjo sakes that are not available in the US. I thought that would be a good place to start tasting while my palate was still somewhat fresh. I wasn’t disappointed and tasted some super duper daiginjo-y treats up there. Among some of the luscious sakes I sampled were Gasanryu “Gokugetsu” Junmai Daiginjo (Shindo Shuzoten, Yamagata), Shizukuzake Daiginjo (Sakai Shuzo, Yamaguchi) and Tobindori Daiginjo (Kamisugi Shuzo, Aichi).

kudoki_bottle_1.jpgBack on the ground floor, I was happy to find a new sake that really turned my head. I’m talking about Kudoki Jozu Junmai Daiginjo (Kamenoi Shuzo, Yamagata). This delightful sake has an SMV of ±0 with a milling rate of 48%. Refreshing and elegant yet substantive, this sake was a shimmering delight. I hope they will import it soon here to the US!

Along with all the tasting, there was lots of socializing to be done, too! I ran into friends new and old and future and had a great time talking with everyone and comparing notes on sake reactions. Everyone had a favorite sake – and with hundreds to choose from, everyone could have their own.

This night is always a whirlwind and before I knew it, our three hours were up and the Joy of Sake 2008 was coming to a close. The only comfort that came to mind was that the Joy of Sake will be back next year delivering more fantastic and hard to find sakes right to our doorstep. Now that is a special delivery worth waiting for.

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