Dear Sake Drinker,
Welcome to the November Issue of America's sake-centric Newsletter. In
this issue it's time to get fowl about sake and drill in your mind
that Thanksgivings are made for nihonshu, recount Sake Day2010 and
what you missed, enjoy Chizuko Niikawa's Sake Spotlight on the
Daishichi brewery, taste sake and Spanish food pairings, and discover
what it would take for a sake Vlog in the True Sake sense to be born.
In this issue:
True Turkey - Ten Fowl Sake Facts & Brews To Choose
Okay! It's that time of the year again. Holiday season. And it's time
for you "sake drinkers" to do what? REMEMBER the sake people! Remember
the sake! Herewith is a quirky union of facts of both sake and
turkeys. Huh? Yup, this is a real gobbler!
So there you have it! Some seriously goofy Turkey and sake facts.
kidzone.ws for some of the turkey bits). Why
did I do this ten turkey and sake facts? To subliminally remind you to
think "sake" when selecting your Thanksgiving Day dinner libation. Did
- Ben Franklin wanted to make the wild turkey, not the Bald Eagle,
the national bird of the United States.
Sake is not the real name for what you call sake. In Japan,
all alcohols are referred to as "sake." The real name for what
you consider sake is "Nihonshu." And the legal name for
Nihonshu is "Seishu."
- Wild Turkey = "Meleagris Gallopavo"
Koji Mold = "Aspergillus Oryzae" (The special brewer's mold
that is the engine of converting a starch to a glucose.)
- Wild Turkeys spend their days foraging for food like acorns,
seeds, small insects and wild berries.
Sake spends roughly 30 days fermenting in large vats via a
technique called "Multiple Parallel Fermentation," which means
that the brew is saccharifying and fermenting simultaneously.
- Wild Turkeys spend their nights in low branches of trees.
Sake spends 6 months to a year in dark tank warehouses after
fermentation to mellow the brew or take the edges off. This
aging process is a technique that makes the sake more
drinkable. (Not to be confused with unpasteurized sakes, which
are released almost immediately.)
Male Turkeys also called "Tom Turkeys" or "Gobblers" puff up
their bodies and spread their tail feathers. They grunt, make
"gobble gobble" sounds and strut about shaking their feathers to
Some older and more experienced tojis (head brewers) can tell
how far along a fermenting batch of sake has progressed by
listening to the bubbles, which form on top of the fermenting
mash as yeast converts the sugars to alcohol, pop. They can
also judge by the size of these bubbles how far along the
fermentation has progressed.
- After the female turkey mates she prepares a nest under a bush
in the woods and lays her tan and speckled brown eggs. She
incubates as many as 18 eggs at a time. It takes about a month for
the chicks to hatch. Baby turkeys are known as "Poults."
After a month of fermenting, sake gets "filtered." But in the
west this use of the term "filtered" or "unfiltered" sake is a
misnomer. When people call Nigori sake "unfiltered" sake, they
are actually missing the point that the sake was charcoal
filtered, thus it was filtered. If a sake is not run through a
charcoal filter system it is called "Muroka" or "unfiltered"
- Wild Turkeys are covered with dark feathers that help them blend
in with their woodland homes. The bare skin on the throat and head
of a turkey can change color from flat gray to striking shades of
red, white, and blue when the bird becomes distressed or excited.
The true color of fermented sake is a mild yellow or golden
color. As it ages it turns to a more amber shade and
eventually goes to a hue along the lines of maple syrup or soy
sauce. The charcoal filtration process strips the natural
colors away producing an almost clear fluid. Nama or
"unpasteurized" sake has a green tinge to it.
- What do Turkey (the country in the Middle East) and the American
bird have in common? A case of mistaken identity resulted in the
American Turkey being named after the country. When the Spanish
first found the bird in the Americas more than 400 years ago they
brought it back to Europe. The English mistakenly thought it was a
bird they called a "turkey" so they gave it the same name. This
other bird was actually from Africa, but came to England by way of
Turkey (lots of shipping went through Turkey at the time). The
name stuck even when they realized the birds weren't the same.
The name of specific sakes can be a brand name, a family name,
a brewery's name, or a marketing name. For example a brewery
in Nagano sells sake under their brand name (Masumi) and under
their family name (Miyasaka) and under a brand name
- The Turkey's gizzard is a part of the bird's stomach, which
contains tiny stones that help to grind up food for digestion.
Brewing rice is milled or polished to achieve certain size
levels. To mill or polish rice large milling machines are
used. Rice is dropped on millstones that grind away layer
after layer of the rice. The rice powder that is removed then
gets sucked away by large vacuums, and the now smaller rice
grains go back through the process.
- The Turkey's "Snood" is the flap of skin that hangs over its
beak. The "Snood" turns bright red when the turkey is upset or
Tsumami is the name for foods that go very well with sake.
Usually folks either love these types or foods or hate them,
as the flavors are very intense and are often quite salty
What about some specific sakes that work well with Turkey? And why do
This comes from a piece I wrote in year's past:
Here is a quick hit list of sakes that will go very well with your
"I look for a robust acidity when I pair with meat, game or fowl.
Add to that butter and other mouth filling flavors I like sakes
that have some staying power in terms of flavor. I select fatter
sakes that fill the mouth, rather than the light clean ones that
fire right through the palate. Think meaty sakes for meaty
flavors, and also use a larger glass than usual to mix up that
acidity. Go with your big reds glasses, and don't worry about the
next day big reds hangovers."
- Kiminoi Yamahai Ginjo
- Kamoizumi Junmai Daiginjo
- Tomio Genzo Junmai Daiginjo
- Tengumai Yamahai Junmai
- Chikurin Fukamari Junmai
- Shirakabe Gura Kimoto Junmai
- Mukune Junmai Ginjo
- Hiraizumi Yamahai Junmai
- Kikuhime Yamahai Junmai
- Taiheizan Kimoto Junmai
- Tenzan Junmai Genshu"
- Narutotai Nama Ginjo Genshu
- Kasumi Tsuru Yamahai Ginjo
- Born Muroka Junmai Daiginjo Nama Genshu
- Tsukasabotan Junmai Daiginjo Shizuku
- Wakatake Junmai Genshu
Back to top
Sake Day 2010 - You Missed It Dude!
Wow! Starting to feel a little nostalgic here. Why? Because there was
a day back in the True Sake Newsletter days when I used to write a
summary review for every tasting event that we ever did, albeit a
koshu tasting for ten selected people or a nigori tasting for 100
tasters. I liked the summaries, because it helped me remember the
details of what we accomplished each tasting - the brews that drank
well, the surprises, the favorites, and the not so favorites. It was a
way to communicate to and include those who cannot make it to our
Well in this vein I wanted to communicate to you and include those who
could not attend Sake Day 2010. But first I want to admonish those
dorks that could have attended! What were you thinking? In a word Sake
Day 2010 was SUPERB. We have crafted such a unique and sake-centric
event that I am more sad than peeved for those who did not attend. You
missed a chance to really see a different side of the sake world.
Herewith is a brief "summary" of a very special Fifth Anniversary that
was filled with great sake and great smiles:
- It was the largest Sake Day yet with over 200 guests and 25 volunteers.
- We had 13 vendors pouring over 80 different sakes.
- We had five brewery owners or representatives pouring their wares.
- We had one brewery owner whose sake is not available in the US fly over to see how his sakes would be received.
- We had one super sake enthusiast who is a label printer in Niigata show his vast collection of killer sake label artwork.
- We had a dedicated Sake Tour station where people could sign up for sake brewery tours in Japan.
- The event space - the gymnasium at the JCCCNC - was so damn comfy and old-school that it really made the tasting feel more like a sake community than some slick high end function space.
We had a tremendous "Welcome Sake" in the form of the Shirataki Jozen Mizunogotoshi Junmai Daiginjo, which was the first time that this sake was available to the "masses" in the US. (It was also by far one of the most popular sakes of the evening.) (Oh and whoever "borrowed" one of the ladles - we would really like that back!)
- Nombe restaurant featuring stellar chef Nick Balla threw down some amazing pairings and had some fun "bulk" food stations - think drinking filler!
And for the fifth year we had the Berkeley Sushi Band playing some terrific Okinawa music that rocked the house again.
- Yes there were raffles per usual and all sorts of shwag was won, including a very hard to get bottle of Daiginjo, which is of course unavailable in the US.
- We had some very smart Sake Challenge Stations this year. I will list in detail as per our program:
Sake Day Tasting Stations
I realize that timing may be an issue for most people, but you now
have a year to circle October 1st 2011 and make it happen.
- Station 1 | Bang For The Buck The value of sake is determined by
the producers taking into account all of the costs associated with
the raw materials, the brewing, the storage and the shipping of
their efforts. But the true value of a sake is determined by the
consumers, who are willing to pay that price or not! Imported sake
is generally 20%-40% more expensive in the US than in Japan. So
the "value" of sake takes on new meaning in an export/import
environment. THE CHALLENGE: Taste 4 different sakes in the same
category that are positioned at four different price points. Then
pick the price range for each brew using the $10's - $20's - $30's
- $40's cards to determine your "Value" for each sake. (Hint:
Balance is a great price determinant)
- Station 2 | In The Raw Nama or "unpasteurized" sakes have become
extremely popular to the Western sake palate. These brews that
have not taken the typical two "heatings" and the usual half-year
maturation process tend to act differently in the glass. In most
cases they are very pungent and the flavors have been called
bright, brash and three-dimensional, which is appealing to those
who like bigger and more expressive flavors that can only be found
in the raw! THE CHALLENGE: Taste 4 different sakes and find the
one "true" Nama sake. (Hint: Use your nose and don't forget that
there is also a category of single pasteurized sakes as well.)
Station 3 | Sweet 'n Low - High and Dry The SMV, or Nihonshu-do,
is a very scientific way to measure the residual sugars found in
fermented sake. This gauge is so "accepted" that most brewers
will put the SMV on the bottles themselves to show drinkers how
sweet or dry that sake drinks. But is it totally accurate? Is
science accurate? Or is there room for self-determination? Some
sakes drink sweeter than their SMV and some drink drier! Keeping
in mind that a starch sweetness is far more muted than a juice
sweetness, many drinkers feel that you can achieve more body with
a semi-sweet sake. THE CHALLENGE: Taste 7 sakes from all corners
of Japan. Figure out which two sakes are the same, then which brew
is the sweetest and which is the driest. (Hint: Fruitiness is not
always an indicator that a sake is sweet.)
Station 4 | Are You a Hottie? In the rush to drink premium
sakes, many people believe that only "good" sakes are served
chilled and only "bad" sakes are served hot. This is simply
untrue. Every sake has a "sweet" spot in the temperature zone
where it drinks best with the most flavor and feeling. Indeed
there are some premium sakes that you wouldn't want to heat, but
on the whole most sakes may taste more appealing to you in a
different temperature zone. THE CHALLENGE: Taste the exact same
sake at three different temperature points - chilled, room
temperature and warmed - to discover your favorite "hot spot."
(Hint: Make certain to take the same sip size at each temperature
point for a more accurate comparison.)
link to some photos that Keiko took of the celebration.
Back to top
Sake Spotlight - Chizuko Niikawa Takes on Daishichi
"Sake Spotlight" is a unique section within the Newsletter that takes
a closer look at specific sakes that may be purchased at True Sake. I
approach different professionals within the industry to give their
perspectives and insights to the how, what and why's for very special
sakes. These insiders are importers, brewers, authors, sake
sommeliers, or just enthusiasts who will take your knowledge base a
little further. What I like about this segment is that often my review
is quite different than that of the guest professional's adding to the
point that there is no right or wrong when discussing your opinion
November's Sake Spotlight features a sake sommelier from NYC in the
form of Ms. Chizuko Niikawa, who is a total sake enthusiast - so much
so she has turned her passion into a sake business. From her days as a
sake sommelier at Sakagura to her new endeavor:
sakediscoveries.com which does all things
sake, "Chiz" is well-known in the sake industry for her enthusiasm and
sake craziness. In a word she is thrilled with sake and likes to
thrill others via her business "Sake Discoveries." So here is
Chizuko's Spotlight on a brewery that has much lore in the sake world.
Daishichi Sake completely changed my life! This silky and elegant
Daishichi Minowamon Junmai Daiginjo was my first "WOW!!"
experience at Sakagura restaurant in New York. It was about 6
years ago on my first day as a Sake sommelier at Sakagura. I was
very nervous at the time. Sakagura is one of the most famous sake
restaurants in U.S. (and probably in the whole world), and carries
over 250 sake selections.
I just moved to NY from Tokyo right after I got a certification of
Kikisake-shi (Sake Service Institute Sake Sommelier Certification)
in Tokyo, and my biggest concern at the time was that I had never
worked in the sake industry nor in a restaurant. (I was in the
fashion industry for over 10 years) Oh, and I couldn't speak
English either! However, I got this great job opportunity through
my friend who was one of the waiters at Sakagura. Mr. Kadoi, the
manager of Sakagura at the time said "Chiz, Starting today you can
try all sake in here as a sake sommelier", then I picked Daishichi
"Minowamon" from a bar fridge for my first tasting.
I don't know why I picked Minowamon, but I felt something about
the bottle calling me. I'll never forget that moment. Right after
one sip, all my fears about my work, living in NYC and the past
and future of my life.... all fear was gone. I thought that I MUST
introduce this Japanese treasure to New Yorkers even if I can't
After that, Daishichi has been my lucky charm. Maybe Kimoto energy
always guides me on a good path! One of the special memories of
Daishichi was that Mr. Kadoi got Myoka Rangyoku Grande Cuvée for
my last day working at Sakagura. The sake was released 2007 and
they only made 732 bottles (released only in Japan).
This is a blend of Junmai Daiginjo shizuku genshu (trickled and
undiluted super premium pure rice sake) from the 1988 to 2004
vintages. It was an absolutely super special moment in my life!
I'm very proud of my life in sake industry now, and very happy to
share my Daishichi story with sake fans in SF. If I hadn't met
Daishichi, my life would have been totally different! Thank you
Daishichi Kimoto Umeshu
This umeshu tastes very special too! The great richness and
mellowness comes from the Daishichi Kimoto Junmai flavor, but
also there is the juicy plum flavors... the balance between
the two is a work of art! This umeshu was awarded the gold
prize for last 4 years as the best Japanese liqueur at the
competition of the Japan Prestige Sake Association.
Thank you "Chiz"! Yes we also love the Daishichi brewery at True Sake
and we carry three of their efforts. We carry the Junmai Daiginjo
"Minowamon." The Junmai Ginjo "Masakura" and the Kimoto Ume-Shu. And
coincidentally enough I took the Junmai Ginjo to an Indonesian
restaurant in this month's Sake Challenge, which is the next section.
I have written pretty extensively about the Daishichi in past
Newsletter issues - in fact the brewery had me as a guest to do an
extensive interview for the extremely popular food and beverage
magazine called Dancyu. So I will let you dig around in the archives
if you want some more Daishichi stories to go with Chiz's thoughts.
If you would like to contact Chiz for anything sake from branding to
planning events, from staff training to connecting new people to sake
please try her at
info @ sakediscoveries.com.
Lastly for all of those who have not tried the Minowamon we are
currently selling this brew at a huge discount! $20 off!
Back to top
Sake Challenge - Sake vs. Spanish Tapas
I am on a spiritual sake quest that will finally put a nail in the
coffin of "sake can only be consumed at a sushi restaurant" mantra.
Wake up people! Food and sake go together - always have and always
will. If it has a tail, roots, feathers, leaves, or a damn beak sake
will go with it - anytime and any place. And that is my quest - the
place or origin of the cuisine does not matter. It can be Spanish,
Italian, Brazilian or ughhhh British chow and sake will walk the walk.
Japan has chickens! Japan has salad! Japan has beef! Japan has spicy
and savory dishes! Japan has sweet and salty fare, so why not think
about having sake with these "tones" from other countries?
The Sake Challenge is my way for you great consumers to see outside of
the sushi paradigm, and to achieve this "new view on brew" I will
usually select two different sake styles and price-points and bring
them to a non-Japanese restaurant with a celebrity, sake-sleuth or
hell even a friend in tow. Read about past challenges:
When reviewing restaurants and their specific cuisines paired with
sake I use the following criteria:
This criterion is more true to the mission of bringing a beverage to a
restaurant not knowing what you will pair with. The point is to make
the general pairings "work." Rare is the day that you bring a specific
wine or sake to pair with a specific dish - we look for generalities
and the entire eating/drinking experience. Think of fishing with a net
as opposed to a hook and line - a pairing is supposed to reach out and
catch more flavors as opposed to just hitting one match.
- Works World Class (WWC)
- Works Well (WW)
- Works (W)
- Does Not Work (DNW)
This month's Challenge featured two popular sakes and the woman who
imports them. Hiromi Iiuchi has played a very large and impressive
role in the short history of small brewery exports to the US. She is
one of a few sake dignitaries, who have been at the game from way back
when. She is the Director of Kuramoto Selects and has a stellar sake
pallet to boot. This is here second Sake Challenge. Where did we go?
We took two of her brews and visited a wonderful Spanish tapas and
paellas restaurant called Esperpento in the Mission -
esperpentorestaurant.com. And with a bi-line of
"Food and Fantasy of Spain" how could the fantasy of Japan go wrong?
I selected two sakes to attack this Spanish fare:
And away we go!
- Daishichi "Masakura" Junmai Ginjo
- Ken Junmai Daiginjo
1st Course: Jamon Serrano en pan con tomate - Canapes of Spanish
cured ham on toasted French bread, spread with ripe tomatoes, and
2nd Course: Tortilla de potata - Potato and onion omelet "THE Spanish
- Ken - A very nice pairing as the acids of the Ken blend with the
acidity of the onion and tomato and the salty ham goes
surprisingly bright with a long savory tail. The sake really
enhances the flavor and the feeling of the cured ham and works
surprisingly well with the tomatoes. Hiromi felt that the sake
became a little fruitier because of the saltiness of the ham.
BT - WW
HI - W
- Daishichi - This kimoto brew has presence and a velvety feel and
that feel wraps up all of the flavors of the dish - a sort of
feeling blanket that absorbs the tomato acidity and makes the
savory ham drink smooth and rich. By itself with no bread,
tomatoes, and onions the Daishichi works quite well with the ham
for a "wow" pairing. Hiromi said the Daishichi controlled the
saltiness of the dish.
BT - WW
HI - WW
3rd Course: Croquetes de Bacalaco - Salt cod croquettes.
- Ken - The acidity of the sake comes out with the starch union.
The saltiness of the potatoes makes the brew drink a little
crisper and acidic. Ken does provide a good wash, but the flavor
of the dish changes with the sake and starch combination. Hiromi
thought the starchiness of the dish makes the sake drink pretty
BT - W
HI - W
- Daishichi - The smoothness of the sake blends very well with the
smooth potato feeling. The balance of the sake does very well with
the salty and starchy appearance of the "tortilla de potata." A
very good union of rice and potatoes! Hiromi was impressed with
how balanced the Daishichi drank and how it tasted less fruity
with the sodium of the dish. A mild flavor and feeling.
BT - WW
HI - WW
4th Course: Paella de Marisros - Seafood paella with calamari,
shrimp, clams, and mussels. The traditional dish of choice!
- Ken - This Daiginjo takes the creamy and saltiness of the salted
cod and pushes this large flavor to the back of the pallet. The
Ken makes the cod a little more salty and makes the creaminess a
little more light - I wrote "It lightens the dish." Hiromi thought
the Ken really worked with the salted cod as it took all of the
flavors and straightened them out. Dare we say it "cut" through
BT - W
HI - WW
- Daishichi - A very nice pairing. The Daishichi's smoothness and
sound qualities blend extremely well with the salty and "fishy"
flavor of the dish. The creaminess of the sake immediately
attracts the creaminess of the salted cod. And interestingly
enough the sake drank a little more "salty" in flavor, which is
probably on account of the complete sodium infusion of the salted
cod. Hiromi felt it was a better match brew for the dish.
BT - WW
HI - WW
- Ken - The temperature of the Ken has now come closer to room
temp, which brings out more body and wine-like finesse - good
acidity meets the rice of the dish and brings out more fruit in
the sake. The body of Ken accepts all of the flavor actions from
the seafood to the rice itself. A very good union of body,
acidity, and flavor. Hiromi thought the pairing worked initially
and then the finish didn't work.
BT - WW
HI - W
- Daishichi - What is ironic is the fact that Hiromi felt the Ken
finish didn't finish and I felt the same about the Daishichi. The
start was superb as the creamy brew hit the ricy dish head on -
rich and savory and velvety - but the finish was tight and too
tingly. Hiromi loved the mellow flavor union and especially the
middle mouth feeling.
BT - W
HI - WW
Man I love doing these Sake Challenges, because sake has so many
strengths. Hiromi recommended that we try a glass of white wine that
was recommended by the host to go with the spectrum of dishes. In
comparison to the wine the sakes tasted far more complex and made a
far better pairing partner. In honesty the wine ended up taking on a
more of a juice feeling - too sweet, too acidic, too brash. It was a
great lesson, and I was quite impressed how two premium sakes stood up
to a ton of flavors, and enhanced most of the dishes. Sake goes with
Paella - go figure!
Back to top
Sake Events - Hiyaoroshi, Hayes Valley Block Party
November 18th - Hiyaoroshi Tasting
Come and taste Autumn-released seasonal sakes!
When: Thursday, November 18th
Where: True Sake
What: Wakatake, Urakasumi, Sawanoi, and Kikusui Hiyaoroshi
RSVP: Just show up and bring $1
Bonus: 10% off if you decided to buy any Hiyaoroshi
December 3rd - 20th Annual Hayes Valley Block Party
Join us in the evening to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the
famous Hayes Valley Block Party. Many merchants will be offering
specials, music, beverages, and more.
When: Friday, December 3rd
Where: Hayes Street (between Franklin & Laguna)
What: True Sake will offer 20% off on selected sakes
Back to top
New Store Arrivals - Seasonal, New and Exclusive
From Tokyo prefecture / SMV: +1 / Acidity: 1.8
Wakatake Hiyaoroshi Aki-no Ki-ippon
From Tokyo prefecture / SMV: +2 / Acidity: 1.2
From Tokyo prefecture / SMV: +1 / Acidity: 1.5
From Niigata prefecture / SMV: +2 / Acidity: na
Ura Gasanryu Koka
Refreshing, flavorful yet clean. One of the best Honjozos in the house.
From Yamagata prefecture / Honjozo (Nama-zume) / SMV: +2 / Acidity: 1.0
Ura Gasanryu Fuka
Complex and balanced. Enjoy the brew with autumn vegetable dishes.
From Yamagata prefecture / Junmai (Nama-zume) / SMV: +/-0 / Acidity: 1.4
Dry, clean, compact. Speaks to vodka or gin drinkers.
From Yamagata prefecture / Junmai Ginjo / SMV: +12 / Acidity: 1.4
Isojiman "Pride of Shore"
If you are fan of any brew from this well-known brewery, don't miss this.
From Shizuoka prefecture / Junmai Ginjo / SMV: +5 / Acidity: 1.3
Full-bodied and layered. Unique blue cloth label on the bottle. Great gift item.
From Hyogo prefecture / Junmai Daiginjo / SMV: +2 / Acidity: 1.4
Rich and complex. After years of absence from the store, Tenmi is back! Unique bottle.
From Ehime prefecture / Junmai Daiginjo / SMV: +2 / Acidity: 1.4
Harushika Junmai Ginjo Nama Genshu
Rich, complex and fruity. Matured for 210 days, 60 bottles of this exclusive brew is back.
From Nara prefecture / Junmai Ginjo Nama Genshu / SMV: -5 / Acidity: 2.0
You can review many of our sakes on our web site.
Our inventory list is here.
Back to top
Deals & Specials
From Beau's favorite to a sparkling Nigori. Here are some deals this
Mukune "Root of Innocence"
Deep & Dry. Beau is very loyal to this brew.
From Osaka prefecture / Junmai Ginjo / SMV: +2 / Acidity 1.8
NOW $34 !!! (720ml)
Classic and elegant. Brewed with 100% Yamadanishiki rice.
From Ishikawa prefecture / Junmai / SMV: +/-0 / Acidity: 1.7
NOW $28!!! (720ml)
Bishonen "Beautiful Boy"
Loved the originally gold-letter label? Only a couple left.
From Kumamoto prefecture / Junmai Ginjo / SMV: +2 / Acidity: 1.7
NOW $14!!! (720ml)
Fruity and complex summer nama (unpasteurized sake). Must try.
From Kyoto prefecture / Junmai Ginjo Nama / SMV: +1 / Acidity: 1.7
NOW $28!!! (720ml)
Full-bodied and layered summer nama. Great with food.
From Yamagata prefecture / Tokubestu Junmai / SMV: +4 / Acidity: 1.7
NOW $23!!! (720ml)
Dewazakura Tobiroku Sparkling Nigori
Crisp, tangy and lightly sparkling. Good food paring sparking.
From Yamagata prefecture / Junmai Sparkling / SMV: -3 / Acidity: 1.5
NOW $10!!! (300ml)
Earthy, woody and soft. This cedar-barrel infused sake will be perfect for all things mushrooms and good at any temperature.
From Miyagi prefecture / Junmai Taru-zake / SMV: +2 / Acidity 1.4
NOW $44!!! (1.8L)
Back to top
True Sake Selects - Team True Sake Select Monthly Brews of Note
Matsunoi "Wishing Well"
From Niigata prefecure / Tokubetsu Honjozo / SMV: +5 / Acidity: 1.3
Yeast: Association #10 / $24 (720ml)
I met Mr. Furusawa at a tasting event last month, and we met again
in Tokyo. This Tokubertsu Honjozo has a gentle texture, nice
weight and rich rice taste. For semi-dry sake, the brew offers a
hidden rice-sweetness, which is a great comfort if you are paring
the sake with savory dishes.
We went to an izakya in Iidabash. We drank and chatted for six
hours, missing our last trains. They had an opened bottle of 1.8L
Mastunoi Tokubetsu Honjozo, only a few ounces left in it. So, the
bartender was nice enough to open a fresh bottle for us--using a
term "kuchi-kire." To my nice surprise Furusawa-san asked for the
taste of the opened bottle as well, and he drank the two side-by-
side. The fresh bottle had a more drier and compact quality; the
opened bottle had a mellow and gentle quality. Furusawa-san
recommend this brew warm as well as slightly chilled.
From Yamagata prefecture / Junmai Ginjo Kimoto / SMV: +2 / Acidity: 1.7
Yeast: Kumamoto KA / $40 (720ml)
Brewed with Omachi rice and Kumamoto yeast in traditional Kimoto
style. Pressed with "fune" method, the brew is from the favored
middle pressing part "nakadori."
Only four cases became available in the Bay Area. I was able to
get two cases. Velvety texture and complex flavor are accented
with fruity acidity (unlike many kimoto-style sakes) and rice
sweetness. The sake becomes softer the second day after being
opened. I don't know when the next shipment will be, so for those
who are fan of Kimoto or Jokigen, this brew is worth trying.
Kagatobi Junmai Ginjo
From Ishikawa prefecture / Junmai Ginjo / SMV: +4 / Acidity: 1.4 / $40 (720ml)
Jozen Mizuno Gotoshi "Jozen Blue" Junmai Daiginjo
From Niigata Prefecture / SMV: +2 / Acidity: 1.5 / $68 (720ml with box)
This is an extremely elegant sake, silky smooth and with that
Niigata freshness that I love! I tasted this out of a smaller
glass and on the colder side. It was excellent, very clean and not
too sweet or dry. It wasn't "watery" by any means, but had a nice
medium-light body. And the fruitiness, which was subtle at this
temperature, might pop out more as it sits in your hand. But
really, your glass will probably be empty before you realize it.
For those who joined us at Sake Day 2010, this was the Welcome
sake that many of you came back to over and over (and over!)
again. And to that group who I saw crowding the welcome table and
tilting the cask to get that last drop while you thought I wasn't
looking (you know who you are! Haha!), I expect you to take
advantage of this opportunity to pick up a full bottle of one of
your favorite sakes of the evening. And great news, it's even
cheaper than I originally quoted at the event! So enjoy!
Back to top
"Ask Beau" - "Why don't you do SakeTV or a sake vlog?"
I get asked this question a lot. And I mean a lot. After I did
"Wine Library" video circus many folks came to me and
said, "Build it and they will come." Now I could never do one per day!
No way - no chance! But one episode per week? Doable! The question is
do people want geekiness or entertainment? Do they want more giggles
than knowledge? Do they want more recommendations than risks? I am
still very open to the calling. But must have a "true" feeling before
There are a bunch video bloggers here in the Bay Area, and I have been
asked on shows that range from tea to tequila, and I have yet to get
back into the video arena. Perhaps I should go do some shows and to
get a sense and a feel.
The bottom line is that if I do something - it will be "useful" more
than yuk yuk! (Or not!)
If you have some thoughts on the matter please let me know at
info @ truesake.com.
Please send your sake specific questions to
askbeau2 @ truesake.com. (This
address is not for general questions and I only review the questions
once per month. All other correspondence should use
info @ truesake.com.)
Back to top
The SECRET WORD
Ah, at last we have reached the end of this Newsletter and that of
course means that we have come to the now-famous SECRET WORD. To those
who are new the SECRET WORD is a chance for you to try a sake of note
for half of that sake's original price. Just for reading this
Newsletter. It is our way of saying thank you for trying to understand
the wonders of sake.
Please remember the rules: only one bottle per reader, and don't tell
your buddy at the moment if he/she isn't a Newsletter subscriber,
always use a hushed or secret agent voice when saying the SECRET WORD,
and lastly for those who have their sakes shipped we can only include
the SECRET WORD sake in a four-pack purchase - meaning you must buy
three other sakes.
This month, we are featuring Echigo Hana Bonbori Ginjo from Niigata.
We would sell this clean and light ginjo for $25, but for you sake
jockeys we will part with this 500ml (in a box) for $13.
And the SECRET WORD is...check your email inbox -
We only give out the
SECRET WORD in the mailed Newsletter! So
sign up for the Newsletter!
Back to top
Thank you for reading!
Whistle while you work! Historically sake brewery workers sang songs
to not only make the time pass, but used these songs to account for
time itself. Certain parts of the brewing process like soaking the
rice or pole ramming steamed rice, needed very specific timing. Thus
songs were created and used to account for this specific timing.
560 Hayes St., San Francisco, CA 94102
info @ truesake.com
Sake - A Modern Guide