Tuesday, June 05, 2007

5/12/07: Cyber Tasting at Urban Saké Headquarters

Back in late October of 2006, Saké Bloggers held their cyber tasting event. Since this blog began three days later, I did not qualify then. Now is a different story, however.

Tim has disclosed that the theme will be a vertical tasting featuring two different grades of saké by two different brewers from two different regions. Fearing that four sakés total would not be enough, I volunteered to bring a saké I never tried before in Koikawa Junmai Daiginjo. I was particularly interested in this bottle, as the main sakamai (saké rice) is a rarely used "Kame No O."

Attending the event were Tim, Robb Satterwhite from bento.com where he works with a noted saké blogger based in Japan, Atsuko (who I coincidentally met at a friend's wine party... oh the benefit of retro-blogging!), Min from Joto Saké, and Scott.

Here are my tasting notes:

• Hana No Mai Junmai Ginjo (SMV: 5, Acidity: 1.2, Rice: N/A, Seimaibuai: 55%, Yeast: N/A) from Shizuoka. Gentle steamed rice on the nose, hints of fruitiness. The flavor initially shows sweetness, but eventually shows koji/rice oriented flavor and long on the minerals. Firm and dry finish. Sweetness/acidity adds some complexity and layer.

Overall Rating: 6/10 (generous 6 at that.)

• Hana No Mai Junmai Daiginjo (SMV: 3, Acidity: 1.2, Rice: N/A, Seimaibuai: 40%, Yeast: N/A) from Shizuoka. Very subtle nose. Clean Yamadanishiki flavor, but shows underlying minerals. Too much bitterness on the finish... They should’ve added jozo alcohol. Straight-forward and underwhelming.

Overall Rating: 4/10

• Suigei Junmai Ginjo (SMV: 7, Acidity: 1.6, Rice: N/A, Seimaibuai: 50%, Yeast: N/A) from Kochi. Subtle nose. Clean with yeasty minerals on the palate. Shibui. Firm, trailing bitter finish that overstays its welcome.

Overall Rating: 2/10

• Suigei Tokubetsu Junmai (SMV: 7, Acidity: 1.6, Rice: Matsuyama Mitsui, Seimaibuai: 55%, Yeast: N/A) from Kochi. Mild hints of rice. Mild grain, koji yeast, minerals. Medium-bodied but light on the palate, bit watery (in a good way).

Overall Rating: 6/10

Here are the notes on other selections:

• Koikawa Junmai Daiginjo (SMV: 5, Acidity: Rice: Kame No O, Seimaibuai: N/A Yeast:N/A) from Yamagata. Subtle nose of celery, sweet rice. Rice, grain, fruit, spices, and earthiness. Has some brawniness underneath, like Omachi. Mild umami on the finish.

• Kaika Muroka Nama Genshu (SMV: 1~2, Acidity: 1.4, Rice: Gohyakumangoku, Seimaibuai: 59% Yeast:N/A) . Milder nose this year. Intense fruitiness is complemented by hints of fresh shiitake mushrooms. Almost off-dry.

The best saké of the night was provided by the host, and it happens to be one of the more popular one we see around: the ubiquitous Kurosawa Junmai Kimoto. Kurosawa offered familiarity through distinctness, simplicity through balance, and high quality through everyday value. You can't ask much more than that!

No comments: