Sakagura Ohanami Tasting

sakagura.jpgSakagura’s Spring fling, their annual “ohanami” tasting event, was one of those events that reminded me how I fell in love with sake in the first place. in a nutshell there were 1) fantastic, lovely people. 2) fantastic, lovely food and, last but not least, 3) outrageously fantastic and lovely sake.

First, the peeps – The staff at Sakagura is always so gracious! If you want a taste of the type of impeccable service you would get in Japan, this is the place. The attendees were also in good spirits and seemed to be enjoying themselves as much as I was! Sakagura itself was wonderfully decorated with springtime cherry blossoms.

momose_san.jpgNow, a word about the food. The folks at Sakagura really outdid themselves in my book. The event was served buffet style, which I had not seen at Sakagura before, but I really enjoyed it. Foremost in my memory were these crab puffs and an epic spread of sashimi. Just really above and beyond! oh, and, of course – in the words of Ms. Rachel Ray – totally yum-o!

As for the sake, there were over 50 kinds of sake to choose from with many different brewers, importers and regions represented. Too many to mention individually, but here are some of the highlights:

Momose-san was pouring one of my all time favorites, Kudoki Jozu Junmai Ginjo from Yamagata. This sake distinguishes itself by being so darn drink-able. the glorious Yamagata water is really in evidence here and you can’t help but become a believer yourself by your first sip. “kudoki Jozu” means “good at flirting” and after a few glasses of this elixir, you’ll be the Don Juan/Belle of the Ball you always knew you were.

midori_san.jpg What could be more in the spirit of a springtime “ohanami” than some zingy unpasteurized Nama sake?! To this end, our friend Midori-san re-introduced me to one of my very favorite namas that I had in 2008: Eiko Fuji Junmai Ginjo Nama Genshu. This sake just exudes elegance. It’s got a complexity you don’t usually find in namas and just has that little something extra. As with Kudoki Jozu, this sake is also from Yamagata. What are they putting in the water up there?

Our friends at the NY Mutual Trading table were presenting a fantastic array of sake including one of my favorite indulgences, Sake in a can! namely, Kikusui Funaguchi Honjozo Nama Genshu. The rich, rich taste of this fun confection is hard to beat. I just love sake in a can because it puts the old ‘one cup’ stereotype of cheap sake on it’s head. this sake is bursting with flavor and is quite a high octane brew. With a noticeable tilt to sweeter side,mutual_trading.jpg I find this perfectly enjoyable and it always makes me think – this would go perfect with picnic food! throw of few of these cans into your picnic basket and you are good to go. what could be more springtime than that?!

The only downside to this sakagura event was the need to exit when it sadly came time for the next seating. I really enjoyed this event and always look forward to attending such fun events at Sakagura. if you’re looking for a way to step into learning about premium sake don’t hesitate to reserve a space at the next sakagura special event. Oh, and be sure to say hello…. you know i’ll be there.