I don’t know if I ever told you this, but I love my neighborhood. Aside from having fabulous neighbors, the area is full of a wide range of eateries, service providers, and stores — one of them being The Sake Shop. It helps to have a place like this so close that I can run over for last-minute gifts, or partake in their free sake tastings with my neighbors and stagger home.
Well, this week is “Super Sake Week” at The Sake Shop: The presidents of three breweries in Japan are flying in, so the store will have three special tastings. You can meet the men behind the sakes, ask them about their product, and try some award-winning shu for size. I got a sneak taste, uh, peek, at some of the featured sakes.
From left: The Tsuzuki sake, in the netting, is a mystery to the shop and hasn’t been tasted yet, but it’s supposed to be good with meat dishes. The Kimoto, in the middle, is rich and creamy, I think from an old style method that takes twice as long as other sake production methods. Finally, the Tenko has really really good, rich complex flavor. It’s not just smooth, as a junmai daiginjo sake usually is, but there’s a lot going on in your mouth when you drink it. Most people will say there’s apples and pears, but the label says you will taste melons as well. No wonder this sake won a gold medal 10 years in a row.
I know, it looks a little skimpy, but they’re trying to get a third one in — something called a G2. We’ll see. But in the meantime, from left, the two they have scheduled are:
Ginjo, which is best described as a simple, basic, but clean sake with a taste that people are most familiar with. It’s won a silver medal, though, so it has its place. the Tokubetsu has won gold eight years in a row at the U.S. National Sake Appraisals, so it’s also pretty good. Both sakes are from Fukushima.
Five sakes! Now we’re talking. Harushika means “spring deer” in Japanese, since they are found in the Nara prefecture where the first Capitol of Japan was. People say sake started there, which is where these sakes are from.
The sparkling Tokimeki sake was the only one The Sake Shop had carried until now, so they had never tried the other four, which had to be special ordered for this event.
The other four are described as fruity and floral — I’ll have to wait till Saturday to find out what the differences are. I especially want to try the daiginjo on the far right, called Shizuku. Whereas most sakes are pressed to squeeze as much liquid out as possible, this one is acquired by letting it drip out of cotton bags. That process is called “shizuku” and supposedly tastes best because it’s gentle on the rice, but the yield is low, so it costs $20 more than the next most expensive one. Well.
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