Saturday, May 05, 2007

4/23/07: Sakagura All You Can Drink

Last May, Sakagura held an all you can drink tasting event. There were 30 different seelctions to taste, for a measly fee of $35. This event was so popular that it sold out in matter of few days after the notice was sent.

Of the 30, there were few that I thought was worth mentioning (and no offense to the other ones!). In no particular order:

Dewazakura "Omachi" Junmai Ginjo (SMV: 5, Acidity: 1.6, Rice: Omachi, Seimaibuai: 50%, Yeast: Ogawa). Dewazakura is one of the top breweries in Japan, located in the northern prefecture of Yamagata. I find this saké very fascinating that they use Omachi rice, a pure strain from Okayama prefecture. Omachi rice, although not as mainstream as other varietals, is nevertheless important in the world of saké as it is the parent strain to Gohyakumangoku, Tamazakae, and Aiyama varietals. To that end, there is definitely that signature Dewazakura structure of lean, clean fruit, but the flavor is more deep, robust, and earthy complexity.

Otokoyama Junmai Kimoto (SMV: 4, Acidity: 1.8, Rice: N/A, Seimaibuai: N/A, Yeast: N/A) from Hokkaido is a real man's saké. While the typical Otokoyama Junmai is known for flavors of grain, slight steamed rice and fruits with a pronounced dry finish, Kimoto has noticeably deeper flavor of koji yeast (yeast, minerals, essence of rice) and a longer flavor.

Daishichi "Houreki" Junmai Kimoto Daiginjo (Data N/A). Made in the traditional kimoto and limited free-run shizuku style while using their patented flat polishing method, this junmai daiginjo may have been my favorite of the night. Unlike the other free-run style, Houreki had nama-like vibrance, and unlike other kimoto sakés, Houreki was elegant. Near flawless saké.

Shichiken Koshu (Data N/A) from wine producing region of Yamanashi was an eye-opener. While I am used to dry koshu from clear, higher grade sakés (e.g., Tenryo Hidahomaré, Dewazakura "Yukimanman" or Akitabaré "Suirakuten"), this was the first time I had a darker koshu that was dry. With its nutty, oxidized character, this was very much like dry sherry along the lines of Oloroso sherry.

I also did hear that Sakagura has begun to receive more Isojiman Junmai Daiginjo (SMV: +3, Acidity: 1.3, Rice: Yamadanishiki, Seimaibuai: 50%, Yeast: Brewer's H-1), which is a great news. In fact, this was featured on this event as well, and I took great pleasure in reaquainting my palate to this fantastic brew.