Sake Diplomacy

Ambassador2.jpgAttending a sake tasting at the Japanese Consul General’s private residence was a unique experience.

Upon arriving, we went through security and found ourselves in the grand foyer of a town house that looked like it belonged to a robber baron of the Golden Age… with a touch of Liaisons Dangereuses decor thrown in. Think wide marble staircases, mirrored doors with rococo gold trim, and ornate crystal chandeliers.

beautiful_kimono.jpgThe Event was sponsored by Akita Sake Connoisseurs club and this was their most unique event to date. This tasting was like none I had ever been to. There was sake tasting, to be sure, but also speeches, Akita food tasting, a small display of cultural wares from Akita and multiple music performances. Where to start, where to start! With the sake of course…

Kiichironosake.jpgThis Akita event had many well known Akita Sakes and some unavailable in the States. Among the unavailable sakes was the delightful Kiichiro No Sake Tokubetsu Junmai. Using underground water from Kaji river, Kikusui Shuzo makes this fantastic stuff. Sakagura Sake Sommelier Chizoko-san recommended this sake highly and I enjoyed the taste. It was clean with a surprising depth.

Some delicious but more widely available Akita sakes included Akita Shuzo’s Akitabare Suirakuten Daiginjo, which came highly recommended by Asami-san from World Sake Imports.

henry_miho.jpgHenry Seidel and Miho-san representing Joto Sake also had some fine offerings. My favorite is their Yuki No Bosha Junmai Ginjo Nigori. This sake seems like a full & think nigori at first glance, but it’s whisper light on the palate… very drinkable and quite delicious. It’s probably a good thing they only sell it in small bottles here. That helps me with “portion control”.

Prestige sake was sampling a delightful Nama sake from Aramasa Shuzo called Akitaryu Hiyaoroshi Junmai Ginjo. It’s a seasonal autumn release that had the lively but grounded essence we’ve come to know and love in the fall namas.

ambassador_sakurai.jpgOnce the sakes were sampled, the evening was in full swing, Ambassador Sakurai held a short speech to welcome everyone and extol the virtues of sake. That man has got my vote! One thrilling surprise was the musical performances. Both western and Japanese classical music was played to dramatic effect in this elegant setting. I realized more clearly than ever that drinking sake does make you a happy person. So, it goes without saying that there is no better way to help along diplomatic relations of any sort, then some friendly conversation and some premium nihon-shu. Kanpai to that.