Thursday, December 28, 2006

12/7/06: NY de Volunteer Fundraiser Event

My friend Masa happens to work for a noble cause, spending some of his time at a not-for-profit organization called NY de Volunteer, who were looking to host a charity fundraising party. About a month prior to the event, Masa asked me to help with a significant part of the evening: Saké Tasting.

For the event, I called upon Sakurai-san from Asahi Shuzo of Dassai label, who gladly accepted being one of the featured selections. Through Sakurai-san, we were also able to get contributions from good people at Nanbu Bijin Brewery. Lastly, I was able to call on Ozeki Saké USA, whom I helped design the back labels couple of months ago. With more help from Rihaku, the final list of saké selections were quite amazing:

* Dassai 50 Junmai Ginjo
* Dassai 50 Junmai Ginjo Nigori
* Dassai 23 Junmai Daiginjo (See Dassai tasting notes here.)
* Nanbu Bijin Tokubetsu Junmai
* Nanbu Bijin Daiginjo (See Nanbu Bijin tasting notes here.)
* Ozeki "Karatanba" Honjozo (SMV: +7, Acidity: 1.5, Rice: N/A, Seimaibuai: 65%, Yeast: N/A)
* Ozeki "Osakaya Chobei" Junmai Daiginjo (SMV: +4, Acidity: 1.3, Rice: Yamadanishiki, Seimaibuai: 50%, Yeast: N/A)
* Rihaku "Dreamy Clouds" Nigori (SMV: +3, Acidity: 1.6, Rice: Gohyakumangoku, Seimaibuai: 59%, Yeast: N/A)
* Rihaku "Wandering Poet" Junmai Ginjo (SMV: +3, Acidity: 1.6, Rice: Yamadanishiki, Seimaibuai: 55%, Yeast: N/A)

Considering that entry fee was $60 for advanced payment for pair of tickets ($30/individual) for essentially all-you-can-drink event with food and fabulous opera singing by one-of-a-kind Ms. Asako Tamura (Japanese blog), this turned out to be a super bargain! As a matter of fact, you can see me enjoying Ms. Tamura's singing in this page.

Speaking of food, there was one interesting twist to the evening. Just for tonight, Choux Factory created a limited release special cream puffs using Dassai 50 Junmai Ginjo Nigori saké and saké kasu (lees). This was a resounding success, where the gentle fruity flavor of the saké was a sublime complement to the rich choux cream.

How were the new sakés? Osakaya Chobei had distinctively nutty, earthy aroma compared with Dassai and Nanbu Bijin, although the palate was fruity. Rihaku "Dreamy Clouds" Nigori was earthier style showing balanced fruit compared with Dassai, but not a big surprise when factoring in the Seimaibuai (59% to 50%) and Rice (Gohyakumangoku to Yamadanishiki). Think of Rihaku as a lighter version of Shirakawago. Rihaku "Wandering Poet" was a medium-bodied Junmai Ginjo, showing well rounded flavors, depth, and clean finish.

To get my money's worth for the evening, you probably can guess that I visited the saké booth on more than one occasion!

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