Monday, August 18, 2008

Two events

Over the summer, I attended two events that are worthy of mention:

June 24, 2008: Sakagura welcomed two breweries by Joto Saké: Kasumi Tsuru from Hyogo Prefecture and Fuchu Homaré brewery (of "Wataribuné" label) from Ibaraki Prefecture.

As Timothy of Urban Sake does a fantastic job of narrating the evening, I'll focus on the unique sake and the aftermath. (After all, I have to fit two entries in one here!)

Fukumoto-san of Kasumi Tsuru with Midori-san of Joto Saké.

Yamauchi-san of Fucho Homaré. His Wataribune Nama was one of my favorites of the evening

Since I was conversing with quite a few friends, I couldn't quite keep up with the amount of sakés coming my way...

One of those friends Masa with Henry and Fukumoto-san

This was, as we may say in Japanese, "Maboroshi no saké" (the mirage): Kasumi Tsuru "Tenno No Toiki" (天女の吐息, "Breath of an Angel")

The gentle name is very misleading, as this saké comes in at 25% alcohol by volume. The high alcohol content is achieved by freezing genshu then removing ice. This technique is actually used in making some dessert wines, such as Bonny Doon's "Vin de Glacier" and Selak's Ice Wine. Unlike the those dessert wines, this saké had earthy elements with hints of chocolate and nuts with dry finish.

Afterwards, Timothy, Masa, Hideo and I went to Donburi-ya for some casual Japanese munchies. Donburi-ya features "don," or dish based on rice with various generous toppings such as Tonkatsu pork cutlet. A perfect remedy after a night of drinking...

Timothy noticed on the menu that they carried Ozeki One Cup. Hideo essentially told Timothy, "you've never had One Cup? You're wasting your life!" Here is Timothy's reaction on such life-changing event.


July 1, 2008: Saké Hana hosted Takasago Brewery for an evening of saké from Hokkaido. I was invited to be translator for Mr. Shunsuké Kohiyama from the brewery, but his charismatic presentation hardly required my assistance.

Again, Timothy provides a nice recap of the evening here.

As always, the ambiance at Saké Hana is rather intimate

The sashimi combination was paired with Taisetsu Junmai Ginjo...

...while the sea-urchin flavored rice and sushi was paired with their flagship Ginga Shizuku "Divine Droplets" Junmai Daiginjo, made in the free-run style.

Being at the northern-most point of Japan, Hokkaido offers creative means of handling saké. Here, Mr. Kohiyama shows illustration of the igloo where they store their saké.

These were the last two events I attended during summer.

With the baseball season being over and saké season ready to kick off, I look forward to an active autumn.

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