I 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 sake 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.
The 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.
Next 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 PiÃ±a 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!