Thursday, October 29, 2009

Sake Education from Wine Library TV

Gary Vaynerchuk at Wine Library TV has boundless energy and and real enthusiasm and passion for wine. In these two episode from June 2009, he puts the spotlight on sake as he interviews Sake Social/True Sake's Beau Timken (above) on the basics of sake drinking and production. There is a wealth of information in these segments: Sake education part 1 and Sake education part 2.
Vaynerchuk mentions he's a fan of sake and one of his favorite places to imbibe is Blue Ribbon in Manhattan where he often tries three or four sakes during a meal. (Lucky guy: I've wanted to check that place out on Columbus Circle). Among the fun facts: sake is "built like beer but drinks like wine," from Timken--a very succinct description. Together they taste some sake including a Joto Chikurin Fukamari Junmai; Timken advises the vernacular of wine is appropriate when discussing sake's flavors and aromas.
Wine glasses vs. ceramic cups: definitely drink premium sake with glass or crystal--only use the ceramic cups when sake is warm as smaller ceramic cups (ochoko) don't reveal its aromas or capture its essence. One very useful tip: drink sake within 15 to 18 months of its brew date (found on the label--but that's another post). If it's past 18 months or so, heat it and drink it warm. Thanks guys. Good stuff.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Meet the brewer: Miho Imada of Fukucho Sake Brewery

I was able to further my sake education while tasting many brands at Mutual Trading Company's annual Japanese food and restaurant show held in its downtown parking lot. While not the most glamourous tasting room, the main benefit was meeting many visiting brewers (toji) and brewery owners from Japan. Above is Miho Imada of Fukucho Sake Brewery located in the Hiroshima prefecture. One of only 20 woman brewers in Japan, she began her career in the brewery more than 15 years ago and became a master brewer five years ago. She's holding Fukocho's Junmai Ginjo Biho, made from yamadanishiki rice. The sake is very delicate with a very nice flowery finish---Fukocho's sakes are pasteurized in the bottle helping maintain aroma and flavor. She begins brewing Oct. 17.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Happy National Sake Day! Oct. 1st

A new holiday to celebrate: National Sake Day! Japan celebrates today as the annual sake brewing process is well underway. Above is Otokoyama's "Yukishibare" sake from Hokkaido. I got this sake @ True Sake in San Francisco (thanks Beau!). He recommended it as I prefer very dry sake; this junmai sake is very smooth with a slight effervescence. The brewery was established in 1661, almost 350 years ago.