Monday, August 18, 2008

8/14/08: Chizuko-san's Last Day at Sakagura

After learning from Kadoi-san that Thursday 8/14/08 would be Saké Sommelier Chizuko-san’s last day at Sakagura, it was time to pay my respects for her outstanding service and friendship. Her reason for departure is to run her own company that focuses on networking and education. Her main client base will be the Japanese brewers.

Here's what transpired over the evening:

Chizuko-san's impact is felt throughout Sakagura...

Chizuko-san and Yamaguchi-san took care of me for the evening

Isojiman Junmai Ginjo. Tonight,I noticed its outstanding depth and acidity.

Chizuko-san let us try Sato No Homaré Yamawatari Nama which had gone bad. This bottle lacked any character and vibrancy, and was truly flat. She cited sotrage issue prior to arriving at Sakagura as causing this type of damage.

MY next selection was Eiko Fuji Nama, as I fondly remembered tasting it in April. Comparing to Isojiman, I noticed its fruitier and focused style.

Next, Kadoi-san opened up two bottles he recently found in Japan. Both were by Tatsuriki from Hyogo Prefecture. The Junmai Ginjo was soft and balanced, and I was surprised that it didn't have the dominant character usually associated with Ginjo made from Yamadanishiki.

The Junmai Daiginjo was initially very soft, and felt like gentle water; however, it gained structure after chilling. The brochure indicate that Tatsuriki makes their saké using five of my favorite rice: Yamadanishiki, Omachi, Yamadaho, Shinriki, and Gohyakumangoku. I'm very intrigued by these selections, and hope I can find them in the States soon...

To wrap up the evening, I ordered Ginga Kougen *gasp* beer from Iwate Prefecture. This was fantastic: crisp, vibrant with taste of barley, followed by complex hops on the finish. I highly recommend this for beer lovers.

Just when I was getting ready to leave around midnight, Kadoi-san asked me to stay. Sakagura was going to hold a staff farewell party for Chizuko-san. Here is Chizuko-san with Yamaguchi-san and sommelier Momose-san.

For a special lady, a very special saké: The Daishichi Myouka Rangyoku.

Myouka Rangyoku with flowers and card for Chizuko-san.

Chizuko-san and her husband Jim.

Staff getting ready to toast. I felt very much honored and also a little odd to be a part of intimate staff farewell party; I kept telling myself that in a way, I am there to represent the customer base...

Kadoi-san enjoying the aroma. The thing that really struck me about this saké was the unbelievably long finish, singing its sweet song on my tongue. The pour easily lasted 30 minutes to finish.

After the party, Chizuko-san, Jim, and I went to Donburi Ya to wrap things up. I ordered "stone-bowl cooked udon" and Yebisu beer. After Myouka Rangyoku, there was no way I was having another saké!

By the time we were done, it was 3:00 am... it was really a good thing I had scheduled day off for Friday!

Chizuko-san - Thank you, and Good Luck!!!

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