from_left.jpgQuestion: What would you get if all the sake bloggers in the world had a tasting of the same sakes on the same night?

Answer: Why, you’d get the World’s First Cyber Sake Tasting, that’s what!

Working with my sake blogging friends Valerie of The Sake Diaries in Minneapolis, Melinda of Tokyo Through the Drinking glass and Etsuko of TokyoFoodcast we agreed to each host a tasting on the same night with the same 4 sakes plus one “wildcard” of our choosing. The sakes would get tasted and reviewed across time, space and international borders and then afterwards, everyone would post their results.

atsuko-and-timothy_1.jpgHere is how things shaped up at Urban Sake Headquarters:

  • Rihaku Junmai Ginjo (“Wandering Poet”, SMV +3, Acidity 1.6, ALC 15.2%)
    Average Rating: 6.3 out of 10. I paired this will some wasabi rice cracker mix. Comment: “Fragrant Nose” “Flavor expands as the sake warms”
  • Urakasumi Zen Junmai Ginjo (“Misty Bay”, SMV +1, Acidity 1.3, ALC 15.5%)
    Average Rating: 6.3 out of 10. This was paired with delicious Seaweed salad that Atsuko brought. Comment: “Nice & Drinkable” “Slightly citrus”
  • cream_puff.jpgShirakawago Sansannigori (“Bamboo Leaf”, SMV 0, Acidity 1.5, ALC 15.3%)
    Average Rating: 5 out of 10. Paired with fried japanese chicken wings.
    Comment: “Slightly Funky aftertaste.” “Tastes better at room temp” “My favorite pairing!”
  • Tamano Hikari Junmai Daiginjo (“Brilliant Jade”, SMV +3.5, Acidity 1.7, ALC 16.2) Average Rating 8.6 out of 10. Paired with Dried Squid. (don’t ask)
    Comment: “Clean & Complex” “Outstanding!”
  • the_whole_gang.jpgKubota Hekiju ( SMV +2, Acidity 1.5, ALC 15.5%)
    Paired with Choux Factory Cream Puffs.
    Comment: “Barely there” “Delicious” “smooooth”

The clear winner at the NYC tasting was the Tamano Hikari. It was fresh and clean and complex enough to inspire a lot of interest. It is also interesting that Zen and Wandering Poet averaged out to the exact same score among the New York City crowd.

Special thanks to Chao-I, Atsuko, Jesse, Stephen and Scott for being a part of sake history. I know I had a lot of fun and I hope you guys did too!
Check out these blogs for other views of the trans-pacific super cyber sake tasting:
Tokyo Through the Drinking Glass
The Sake Diaries


8 replies
  1. Timothy
    Timothy says:

    Dried Squid is something a friend introduced me to in the past. it is very strange for the american palate, but I’ve come to love the stuff. it’s like chewing on twine that ends up tasting a little squiddy. It’s a very sublte squid taste, so I paired it with the sublte and elegant Tomano Hikari. kind of a beauty and the beast pairing… I enjoyed it.

  2. Timothy
    Timothy says:

    Etsuko, that’s cool! I’m glad you told Tamanohikari that NYC digs their stuff. It really won out big time at the NYC tasting.

  3. etsuko
    etsuko says:

    I talked some people from Tamanohikari last night and let them know our cyber tasting and how everyone liked theirs everywhere, especially in NY.

  4. Ted
    Ted says:

    When are we going to do something like this again? I think it was a great idea.

    The food pairings you had were interesting. I think fried chicken was a natural, but chou cream! I never would have thought of that. But, the first time I had some nice aged parmesan with sake I was surprised, too. It just goes to show that nihonshu has quite a bit more to it than many people expect at first.


  5. Melinda
    Melinda says:

    I agree! You chose a goooood one for your wild card, but I wouldn’t have thought of that pairing. Also, it’s interesting to hear about your pairing of Shirakawago with chicken wings. Etsuko said that it went really well with her miso from Gifu, so I’d like to try it again with some food.

    It is funny that Tamanohikari was almost unanimously chosen in NYC. It was popular here, too, but perhaps people in my group thought that it was less versatile than the Zen. Also, there were obvious bitter notes (that I think contribute to the balance) that others might have found off-putting…I’ll think it over and get back to you.

    Anyway, thanks again for the sheet and I’m totally looking forward to next time!

  6. etsuko
    etsuko says:

    Thanks for putting this together and for the tasting sheet. It made it so much easier to put everyone on the same page. I love reading about your tasting, especially how Tamano Hikari stood out. And comments are really interesting. Pairing Kubotawith Choux Factory Cream Puffs? I have to try it next time. Thanks again.

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