Sunday, January 21, 2007

1/18/07: Tasting for Daily Candy, Part Deux

Shortly before the New Year's, I heard from my friends at Daily Candy (NYC), for another round of saké tasting. This event was held near my office, and right by the Ed Sullivan Theatre.

The event was similar in format to the last Daily Candy event in November, with few changes in the selection. The featured sakés include the following (click on the picture on the right to enlarge the labels):

Bandai Junmai: From Fukushima. Aged one year in tank, resulting in a slightly oxidized style. Full- bodied with dried fruits and nuts on the nose, followed by dried fruits and hints of soy sauce on the palate. Pair with earthy dishes or red meat. Serve warmed or chilled.

Daishichi Kimoto Honjozo: From Fukushima. SMV: +1, Acidity: 1.4. Made in a labor-intensive Kimoto method to enhance fermentation (=richer flavor.) Mildly fruity nose followed by refreshing notes of mild fruit and grain on the palate. Pair with fish, lighter meats, or well-seasoned vegetables. Best served chilled but can be warmed.

Hiraizumi Yamahai Tokubetsu Junmai: From Akita. SMV: +4, Acidity: 1.9. Made in a time-consuming Yamahai method to enhance fermentation (=earthier flavor). Aromas of cream and hints of floral elements followed by balanced bitterness/sweetness of the palate leading to a long finish. Complex and dynamic. Pair with earthy dishes or red meat. Can be chilled or warmed.

Itami Onigoroshi Junmai: From Hyogo. Nose of dried fruit/steamed rice. Full-bodied style with mellow fruit on the palate and firm dry finish. Good all-purpose house saké for parties. Can be chilled or warmed, or even used in saké bombs.

Kuromatsu Hakushika Junmai Chokara: From Hyogo. SMV: +12. Earthy, nutty aroma leading to initially sweet flavor that evolves to a very clean, spicy, and dry finish. (“Chokara” means extra dry.) Pair with non-spicy richer dishes. Best served chilled, and also good as a mixer (saketini, saké bombs)

Kaori Junmai Ginjo: From Yamaguchi. SMV: +3, Acidity: 1.5. Features flavor of sharp, fruity, and juicy Muscat grapes. Medium-bodied with medium dry finish. Pair with fish, lighter meats, well-seasoned vegetables, creamy sauces, and tomato sauces. Serve chilled only.

Sawanotsuru Zuicho Junmai Daiginjo: From Hyogo. SMV: +0, Acidity: 1.7. Richer style of daiginjo. This particular one has a very low fruit in the palate, instead featuring sweetness of the rice. Versatile pairing with food, ideal with appetizers. Serve chilled only.

The tasting began with the brief description of each selection, highlighting different grades, ideal serving temperature, and production method where applicable. This was followed by Q & A session, all the while enjoying the flavors. One thing I can say about this group, based on excellent questions and display of curiosity, is that they were a very enthusiastic bunch. Furthermore, nothing was music to my ears than when Abby (left) confessed that all she has been drinking since I last saw her was saké, and Jane (right)told me exactly the same thing later!

The hour and half went by quickly, and I want to thank the Daily Candy for giving me the forum to discuss the subject that I am very fond of. Hope to see you again in the near future!

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