Monday, January 29, 2007

1/27/07: Japanese "Nabe" Dinner Party

I was very excited for this party, as it was my first time to try "kiritanpo nabé," a hot pot dish famous in the northern prefecture of Akita. What separates this nabé dish from the others is the kiritanpo, which is made using "mochi" rice of Akita Komachi. I have to say that this was the second best use of Akita Komachi after this.

The event was held at Hiroki and Megumi's place on Upper East Side, and was attended by Haruka, Namiko, Yuki, and Taira. While the ladies were in charge of prepapring nabe and making pear tart, I was in charge of selecting beverages for the evening. The beverages, including white wines, red wines, dessert wines, shochu, and of course, sakés, were as follows:

White Wines
* 2004 Rudera Chenin Blanc, South Africa (exotic tropical fruits and quince on nose, medium-bodied, fruity, with dry minerality on the finish.)
* Non Vintage Sokol Blosser Evolution 9, Oregon (blend of Alsatian varietals, fuller, richer, and juicier, with depth, not as dry.)

Red Wines
* 2003 Duca San Felice Reserva Ciro, Italy (light red with floral/cherry nose, cherry, spices, and violet on the palate, dry)
* 2002 Marc Brocot Marsannay "Les Echezeaux," Burgundy (clean raspberry/cherry fruit on the nose and palate, slight minerals on the finish, very light body.)

* Ozeki "Kaikouzu" Aged Imo Shochu (mellow and smooth on the body, yet intense and balanced on the palate.)

* Shirataki "Jōzen Mizu No Gotoshi" Junmai Ginjo (SMV: +3, Acidity: 1.4, Rice: Gohyakumangoku/Miyama Nishiki, Seimaibuai: 55%, Yeast: N/A)
* Sudo Honké "Sato No Homaré" Junmai Ginjo (SMV: +3, Acidity: 1.3, Rice: Yamadanishiki, Seimaibuai: 50%, Yeast: Sudo)

Dessert Wines
* 2005 Vajra Moscato d'Asti, Italy (floral, honey, tropical fruits, lightly sparkling white)
* 2005 Selak's Ice Wine, New Zealand (intense white raisin, tropical fruits, medium/full-bodied)

Well, the food was incredible, perfect antidote to a cold winter's day. The complex flavors and various textures of the nabé dish lived up to my expectations, and I could've overdosed on chimaki roll, a steamed flavored mochi rice ball (pic right). Both the wines and sakes were great match for the kiritanpo nabé and chimaki rice roll, complementing the flavors without competing. For the wines, Evolution was top notch for the whites, and spice elements of the Ciro was ideal for the kiritanpo. In terms of saké, the umami of Sato No Homaré matched perfectly with umami from the nabé, and at the same time, I was surprised at how much fruitier and sweeter Shirataki tasted when drank side-by-side with Sato No Homaré. Naturally, the pear tart was perfect finisher to the evening.

What I will be doing for sure is to study the recipe for both kiritanpo nabé and chimaki, as it was so good. This means that I will have to seek out mochi rice, preferably Akita Komachi, and worl on the assumption that I don't make saké out of it instead. Either way, it's a win-win proposition.

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