Spring Akita Sake Celebration

akitacrowd.jpgSake from Akita has some rabid fans. And I understand why – I’m becoming one of them myself. I really woke up to this fact after attending the recent Akita Sake Club tasting event held at the Japanese American Association of New York.

This event was a nice mix of the familiar and the new. I enjoyed seeing many friends I know well but I also met some new friends (with the help of “sake magic”). The same held true for the sake I tasted. There were some familiar names and tastes, and some fun new brews to sample.

akitabare_shunsetsu.jpgLets start with some of the Akita sakes I know and love. What better place to start than that? One Akita Sake that I’ve been drinking since the very first days I get into premium nihonshu has been Akitabare Shunsetsu Honjozo Nama. This is an alcohol-added nama that is available year round. It’s got a refreshing sharp finish that stands up to that hearty Akita food. If you look at what’s imported into the U.S., Honjozos are not as plentiful as Junmai sakes, so I think it’s worth the effort to get to know this one.

taiheizan_tenko.jpgI also was happy to see a well known and yummy Daiginjo that I’ve had at these Akita events in the past. I’m talking about Kimura Brewery’s Fukukomachi Daiginjo. This delicious brew offered, in my opinion, everything that is good about Nihonshu. It was very smooth drinking. The low SMV and low acidity placed it more on more of a neutral horizon, but neutral can be just as delicious as any sake out there. Being a Daiginjo vs a Junmai Daiginjo give this sake a “little something extra”. It was clean, yummy and simply Perfection!

Now, as for some of my new sake acquaintances, I’m going to first mention the stellar Taiheizan Tenko Junmai Daiginjo. This sake came across to me as fantastically light, yet aromatic and is really one smoooooth operator. yes, very smooth. This is a top notch Junmai Daiginjo from Akita’s Kodama Jozo Brewery.

The next sake I was very happy to get to know better was the outstanding Yuki No Bosha Daiginjo. My notes kumi1.jpgon this sake say “this is definitely a daiginjo!” Makes me think that if you looked up daiginjo in the dictionary, you’d see a picture of this brew. These alcohol-added Daiginjo’s tend to be a bit more fragrant than their junmai daiginjo brothers, but the delicious light fruit and smooth texture are all in the brewer’s art. A real masterpiece!

In addition to my new and old sake friends, There was fantastic music, food and conversation at this Akita event. Now, I’ve never been to Akita Prefecture myself, but something tells me I have a lot of friends there I haven’t met yet. Kanpai!