Spring having sprung, we are currently featuring some "seasonal" release sake only available to us for a limited time, and we hope you'll be able to stop by and enjoy a glass (or bottle) or two before they're gone until next year.
Also happening at the shop:
New Sake Release Party: Cedar River Taru
Saturday, May 2 @ 6-9 pm
Please join us this Saturday, May 2, from 6 pm as we welcome back toji (master brewer) Jeff James of Cedar River Brewing Company for a special tasting event. Jeff will be presenting his line up of made-in-Seattle sake, including his latest, Taru.
Taru refers to a traditional style in which sake is aged in cedar barrels once used for brewing. Jeff's taruzake has a Northwest twist to it, in that it is aged on Western Red Cedar, imparting a unique spicy aroma and flavor to the sake.
With the introduction of Taru, Cedar River now produces 4 varieties of sake, and all will be available for purchase at this event by the glass, flight, and bottle.
We will also be "re-introducing" a couple other brews this weekend, including:
Kagatobi Ai "Indigo Blue" Junmai Daiginjo (Ishikawa prefecture)
Due to changes in the distribution chain, this sake has been
unavailable to us for a few years now, and we are delighted to have it back! It has a gorgeous floral nose of peonies, though it drinks a bit drier than the nose would lead you to think. Ai is refined and elegant, with a smooth, full, gentle richness, and it finishes with a playful pucker of melon notes. Price: $50/720 ml bottle
Yuki no Bosha "Cabin in the Snow" Junmai Ginjo Nigori (Akita)
Nigori ("cloudy") sake is a frequent request, and though we don't often feature nigorizake on our "regular" menu, we do enjoy the style and we're proud to offer a delicious variety of this intriguing style.
We've just got the Yuki no Bosha back in stock, and as an experiment, we're featuring it as our "house" nigori, with special discounted pricing of $40/720 ml bottle and $10/4 oz glass. This tasty nigori has a creamy yellow tint, with yogurty dairy notes in the nose. There are hints of chocolate sweetness on the palate, but with a drier finish than most nigori. It is soft, smooth, and clean drinking, with a pleasant acidity that might make a good match for rich, spicy foods.
This Week's Menu
To paraphrase Rod Stewart, "Every sake tells a story, don't it?" Fairly early on in this venture, we realized a lot of folks were struggling with remembering the names of sake they enjoyed, but they could often recall the brews in relation to some story about the label or brewery or region in which it was produced.
Quite unwittingly (no surprise, since most of the time he does not appear to have his wits about him), Johnnie selected quite a few of his "desert island sake" for this week's menu, and their stories go something like this:
Tsukinowa Yoinotsuki "Midnight Moon" Daiginjo (Iwate)
From Johnnie's adopted Japanese hometown of Shiwa in Iwate prefecture, this sake is produced by a small brewery around the corner from where he used to live. The toji, Hiroko-san, was one of Johnnie's middle school English students 20-odd years ago.
Denshin "Haru" Junmai Ginjo (Fukui)
This nama (unpasteurized) genshu (undiluted) has a brilliant golden hue with a gorgeous floral and candied bouquet. Very limited production and seasonal availability.
Dewazakura "Omachi" Junmai Ginjo (Yamagata)
A brilliant expression of heirloom sake rice, Omachi. Word has it the distributor will soon be significantly raising the price on this brew, so get in on it while the getting is good!
Kaiun "Better Fortune" Junmai Ginjo (Shizuoka)
Terrific sake in a beautiful package, this brew is marketed as a "celebration sake," and we celebrate every glass.
Takatenjin "Sword of the Sun" Tokubetsu Honjozo (Shizuoka)
From Doi Shuzo, producers of the above mentioned Kaiun, the story we heard on this one is that this is the sake the guys brewing the sake most enjoy -- so much so that they had to increase production of it in order to have enough to sell to the rest of us!
Nyukon "Into Your Soul" Tokubetsu Honjozo (Niigata)
Easily winner of the "Most Unique Pairing Suggestion" award (whenever that's presented). According to the importer, Nyukon pairs best with The Rolling Stones' Exile on Main Street album. Yes, we've tried it, and yes, it works.
'Hope to catch up with you at the shop soon!
Arigatou & Kanpai!
Johnnie and Taiko
Not to sound like an overly excited sake patriot, but, "The namas are coming! The namas are coming!"
That's right: The first shipment of tremendously popular seasonal release namazake (unpasteurized sake) is arriving this Friday, April 10.
As such, we will be featuring them by the glass all weekend long, but since they are in such high demand and relatively short supply, the only way to be sure to get your bottle(s) is to place an order (Tel: 206-467-SAKE; e-mail: email@example.com).
We apologize for the short notice, but if we receive your confirmed order by noon Thursday, April 9, the sake will be available for you to pick up on Friday, April 10 around 5 pm.
Tasting notes and pricing are as follows:
1) Seikyo "Omachi" Namazake Tokubetsu Junmai (Hiroshima)
One of our most popular seasonal selections! Soft & citrusy, with a luxurious, almost viscous mouthfeel. Notes of grapefruit and lemon throughout, creating a wonderful, beguiling contrast between the sharpness of the acidic citrus elements and the silky texture. Traces of minerality and astringency on the edges make it an ideal pairing for oysters on the half-shell.
Brewed with Omachi rice, the oldest recognized sakamai ("sak? rice"), discovered at the tail end of the Edo era (1603-1868). Omachi is often referred to as maboroshi, meaning "phantasmic" or "mystical," having to do with the difficulties involved in cultivating it and the superlative sak? it can produce
Price: $52/720 ml bottle
2) Shichi Hon Yari "The Seven Spearsmen" Namazake Junmai
From one of the oldest (established circa 1540!) and smallest breweries in Japan, this rare brew (we only received 5 bottles last year!) is produced by a crew of 4 workers in the winter, immediately after fermentation is completed. The importer describes it this way: "The sake is layered with abundant flavors and aromas. Fresh, bright, and dry, it has notes of ripe tropical fruits, and a luscious, smooth texture."
Price: $48/720 ml bottle
3) Wataribune Shiboritate Namagin
The nama (unpasteurized) version of the delicious Wataribune "55" junmai ginjo sak?. Thin golden tint and creamy aroma. Soft mouthfeel, with rich fruit flavors of kiwi and pear on the palate. Enjoy the nama tingle on the tongue and subtle spice of this rare, seasonal treat.
Price: $55/720 ml
4) Denshin Haru "Spring" Junmai Ginjo (Fukui)
This nama genshu (undiluted) has a brilliant golden hue with a gorgeous floral and candied bouquet. Richly flavored, with intense ripe peach fruitiness on the palate. Viscous, almost syrupy texture is nicely contrasted with perfect acidity. Very limited production and distribution -- this was one of our favorite new brews last year.
Price: $45/720 ml bottle
If you have any questions about these, or any other premium Japanese sake, please feel free to give us a shout.
Arigatou & Kanpai!
Johnnie and Taiko
This will be just a quick note to let you know about the schedule of events this weekend, but before we do that, let's run down the "bad news, good news" scenario.
We have been disappointed to discover that the recent complications at the west coast ports have created a hiccup in the sake supply chain. At least that's the story we get from our distributors . . .
The bad news: The Spring seasonal release namazake (unpasteurized sake), which are some of our best-selling products every March, did NOT arrive.
The good news: It looks like the first batch of these temporal treats will be arriving next week. As soon as I have pricing and ETA information, I'll let you know. Tentative labels we'll be seeing are Shichi Hon Yari, Wataribune, and Seikyo.
Now, regarding this weekend:
Tonight: First Thursday ArtWalk
Friday, April 3: Business as usual, with some long-awaited deliveries of favorite beer and sake selections back on the shelves.
Sat., April 4: Yakitori w/ Umami Kushi
Chef Harold should have the grill fired up by about 7 pm. (There is a Sounders' home game happening, so please allow time for transportation/parking arrangements). Please Note: The shop will open for business at 3 pm that afternoon (one hour delay).
Sunday, April 5: Easter Sunday
We WILL be open for business @ 1-6 pm, so fasten up your bonnet and stop by for some liquid rice-based brunch.
Arigatou & Kanpai!
Johnnie and Taiko