Educational Evening at Matsuri

Sake Buddy KC contacted me with a great opportunity to hang out with a brewery representitve and some other friends and have an informal sake-klatch over some great nihon-shu. He suggested we all meet at matsuri and off I went! We were lucky enough to have drinks with Mr. Sakurai from Dassai Brewery.

Dassai 50Sakuari-san was featured in my other posts from April ’06 which featured the wonderful Dassai sakes. Joining us was also Lefty from our sake meet-up group and Warren, who is KC’s co-worker.

This turned out to be an interesting and really enjoyable evening learning about the way Dassai is made and gabbing about sake in general. We started with the Dassai 50 Junmai Ginjo. This is a wonderful sake I have profiled before and one that I really enjoy.

The Dassai 50 is milled fine enough to qualify as a Dai Ginjo, but they prefer to keep it in the ginjo grade to set it apart from their heavenly Dai Ginjo 23! In the Dassai 50, you can really feel the complexity and smell the perfect hint of fruit flavors. just enough to tantalize without overwhelming.

One interesting nugget of information I took away from this was about the bottling process. Mr. Sakurai explained why Dassai uses a plastic stopper as well as a metal screw top when they bottle their sakes. First of all, the stopper prevents the sake itself from possibly touching any metal on the screw cap. This could happen if there were any minute imperfections on the lip of the glass sake bottle.

Hakkaisan HonjozoPutting in the plastic stopper also just looks cool and it synches up with American’s preconcieved, but of course faulty, notions of wine with a cork being of superior quailty to the screw cap. It’s my understanding that in general, the screw cap itself is a safer and more hygenic way to bottle wine as compaired to a standard cork anyway. …and a screw top is so much easier to open – especially if you are opening your third or fourth bottle, right?

In the end, Dassai truely has the best of both worlds in the never ending cork vs screw top debate.

For our second bottle we tried Hakkaisan Honjozo (Hakkai Brewery, Niigata, SMV +5). This sake was dryer than the Dassai and a bit rougher around the edges when compared side by side with Dassai.

This was a great – and educational – evening!