Saturday, December 22, 2007

12/2/07: Koshu Tasting

It seemed that most everyone involved in the saké industry showed up at Hakata Tonton restaurant (featuring dishes made of Tonsoku) for a Koshu tasting event organized by Masa Omichi of Megu. Among the attendees were representatives from World Saké Imports, JFC, Saké Hana, BAO, and Lan, among others. In addition to being a Koshu party, this was a farewell party for Kitahara-san of Shichiken Brewery (back to Japan) and Asami-san of World Saké Imports (moving to London).

There were over 25 types of Koshu, classified as follows: Cold Reserve, Pale Amber, and Special Dark. With Koshu, couple of key factors affect the color: polishing ratio and temperature. More refined the saké stored at cooler temperature will result in Koshu that is more clear, while less refined saké stored in seasonal ambient temperature will result in more earhy, viscous, and dark Koshu.

As they say, a picture is worth thousand words:

Ichinokura, Asagi Suisen, Saké Hitosuji, and Tenzan (103) in the back.

Koshu series from Dewazakura. They were all light in color.

Yuki No Bosha, front right. The bottle was colored, and Koshu itself was clear. You knew from the first sip that you are drinking a Yuki No Bosha - fruity, round, and balanced.

1973 Negoshian, the $2,028.00 bottle. Aged in Chateau Margaux barrel, had complex flavors of cotton candy, vanilla, coffee, dried fruit, nuts, and soy sauce. In the decanter is the 1977 Shichiken, with pronounced oxidized flavor of nuts, prunes, and earth, yet light on the body.

All dishes contain Tonsoku in some form.

Masa Omichi (organizer) and Hiromi Iuchi (JFC)

Teramoto-san (Chanto), Kitahara-san (Shichiken Brewery) and Chris Johnson (BAO)

Toshi Koizumi (Saké Hana) and Tomoko Omori (Chopsticks)

Kitahara-san and me

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