If you keep your eyes and ears open, opportunities to learn about sake can arrive out of the blue. This happened this week as I got an email from Landmark Wine and Sake announcing a sake tasting for the next night. Luckily I ‘just happened’ to have no plans that evening (does this make me a sake geek?) and made a bee-line for Landmark after work.
The tasting was hosted by landmark but pouring the sakes was Keiko Sato from the World Sake Imports. I also saw some friendly faces I knew – Kaori who sat next to me a the Landmark Sake Seminar and Lefty and JD from the Sake Meetup group.
There were 5 sakes set up for tasting. This is my kinda tasting! The main spotlight was on the Kamoizumi Brewery. Some of these sakes meshed with my taste and some others are perfect for other palates. Here is a run down of what we tasted and how I reacted to it.
Kamoizumi Junmai Daiginjo
Kamoizumi Nigori Ginjo
Kamoizumi Junmai Daigino. This sake lead off the tasting. It certainly was a unique Daiginjo. There were distinct smokey & mushroomy overtones. I picture this sake being served at a cigar-puffing poker event or gentleman’s club. I don’t even know how to play poker, so I may pass on this one myself, but If you want to taste something unusual, give this one a try!
Next, I was served the sake that is “stalking” me!! Now, I’m not usually a paranoid person, but this Sake turns up everywhere I go: Masumi Arabashiri. The good news, this stalker is just delicious! As I’ve reported already, this sake is fresh, floral and young. A great example of how bold Nama (unpasteurized) sake can be. We’ll see where you turn up next!
Another Arabashiri was next: Tedorigawa Arabashiri. Now, Arabashiri is a term I’ve come to understand means “First Pressing”. During the stage of sake making when the mash is pressed to squeeze out the sake, they do it in three phases. The Arabashiri is the first phase. This connotes freshness and goes well with a Nama’s identity. The Tedorigawa Arabashiri is a sake to take note of. It’s unmistakable calling card is natural carbonation. Let’s face it – there are times when only a little bubbly will do. If you’re a sake lover like me, this is a much more palatable way to toast that promotion! Who wants to drink something called “brute” anyway.
Next was the Nigori. This Sake’s texture was very very thick. I felt like a spread of fluffer-nutter had hit my tongue. The sake was quite creamy and tasted and smelled like the essence of brewed rice…. The tasting literature called this “Brimming with Exuberant Natural Flavor”. Make your own call on this one. If you love a ‘heavy cream’ nigori – this might be just the ticket for you.
Finally, the tasting ended with the dark horse. Kamoizumi “KomeKome”, translated into English, this sake is called “Happy Bride”. Well… It’s it’s important to remember, 50% of marriages do end in divorce… This sake was very, very sweet and compared to an ‘aperitif’ in the tasting literature. To me, this sake was sooo sweet it smacked a bit of soda pop! This is the perfect sake for somone out there. If you like your brides blushing, super sweet and low on alcohol- take KomeKome home with you! If not, I can’t gaurantee a happy union.
This Landmark Wine and Sake tasting was a real eye opener! So many new styles to taste – and a lot of interesting flavors. Thanks to Keiko Sato for all the interesting info about these brews and to Landmark for hosting. When all was said and done – I couldn’t resist – I had to bring my “stalker” home with me, and I left the Happy Bride crying at the altar.