Nomidachi News Archive

September 2018



September 25

Konnichi wa, Nomidachi!


Many thanks to those of you who were able to join us for our latest "Meet the Brewers" tasting event last Monday evening.

Both Keith (Miyasaka/Masumi) and Kamota-san (Dewazakura) mentioned how much they enjoyed the environment, commenting that they don't often get to talk about their sake with the people who are actually buying and enjoying them.

While it was a little busy (and a bit chaotic), we're glad so many of you were able to join us in welcoming our special guests, and we hope to facilitate many more of these unique learning experiences in the coming months.



New, Limited Release Sake: Masumi Hiyaoroshi
One of the most popular brews at Monday's event was the Masumi Hiyaoroshi Yamahai Junmai Ginjo.  Unfortunately, we didn't have any bottles available for sale at that time, but we are excited to announce that we will be taking delivery of this year's initial case this Friday, September 28.

A quick refresher on what hiyaoroshi is all about:  While most saké undergoes two pasteurizations (once before the six-month ageing period, and once again before being bottled, prior to shipment), the hiyaoroshi are released in Autumn, when temperatures have cooled a bit, and forego the second pasteurization.  This allows them to retain hints of the freshness and "zing" of namazake (unpasteurized saké).

Though there is some variation in the flavor from year to year, our notes from past versions say: "Quince aroma with soft, delicate body and mild yamahai astringency. Very wine-like, with a dryish finish.”  

We're planning on receiving a couple cases of this very limited release (last year, there were only 15 cases allotted to Washington state!) this Friday and pouring and selling it throughout the weekend.  

The price is $50/720 ml bottle, with the usual 10% “case” discount on orders of six or more bottles.  If you're unable to stop by this weekend, but are interested in reserving a bottle or two (long-range planning for Thanksgiving??!!), please confirm your order by noon, Thursday, Oct. 27 for Friday, Oct. 28 availability.

Thanks again for your continued support.

Arigatou, and Kanpai!
Johnnie & Taiko
September 20

Hello, Nomidachi!


Here's a quick reminder about some fabulous sake we're currently featuring, and a specially scheduled tasting event this Monday, September 24.


Current Menu: A Guide Through the Grades
Our current menu is deliciously diverse, featuring brews from each of the six main premium grades.  As always, we offer you the opportunity to explore them all by the glass or in grouped flights.

Of particular note is a sake that we've been mentioning of late,
Phoenix Junmai Daiginjo.  After having the opportunity to finally taste the sake for ourselves (notes below), we can confidently encourage you to believe the hype.

This very limited edition sake was launched as a tribute to the band's friend and sake mentor, Toshiro Kuroda, a Paris-based Japanese restauranteur and sake expert who passed away from cancer in February 2017.  A portion of the sake's sales is donated in Kuroda-san's memory to the Japanese Red Cross Society.

Brewed with local Yamagata Dewasansan rice milled to 50%, Phoenix Junmai Daiginjo is also a nakadori, which means they only used the middle portion of the mash pressing (the most delicate and valued portion) for this bottling.  It has a greenish golden tint and an amazingly complex nose of blackberry, mint, lavender, mulch, and tree bark (aromas detected and confirmed by Jazz).  It is light, lively, and lissome, with absolute perfect acidity!

We were only able to get our hands on 2 cases of this beautifully fresh brew (shipped in July), and we're rapidly making our way through the remainder of the second case.  What we have left is available for retail purchase by the bottle ($60/720 ml) and by the 4 oz. glass at the bar while it lasts. 

 


Save the Date!
"Meet the Brewers" Tasting Event: Dewazakura and Masumi
Monday, September 24 @ 6 pm

Yes, you read that right: we're going to be open on a Monday later this month in order to welcome some very special guests who will come bearing delicious gifts.

Please join us Monday, September 24 @ 6 pm for a special presentation of a variety of premium sake from the makers of Dewazakura (Yamagata) and Masumi (Nagano) sake.

We'll be featuring some rare and seasonal brews, including Masumi Hiyaoroshi (once pasteurized autumn release) and a new nigorizake from Dewazakura at this tasting, and you won't want to miss it!

(Please Note:  Due to the scheduling of this special event, we will be
CLOSED Tuesday, Sept. 25, and we apologize for any confusion or inconvenience.)

 

Arigatou, and Kanpai!

Johnnie & Taiko
September 11

Hey There, Nomidachi!


While we feel any kind of weather is sake-drinking weather, there's something particularly satisfying about sipping in these mildly cooling temperatures.  Autumn is on its way, and with it, the arrival of some delicious fall seasonal release sake is imminent (we mention one below -- a "guest star" at a very special "Meet the Brewers" tasting on Monday, Sept. 24).


New, Limited Release Sake: Phoenix Junmai Daiginjo
We are absolutely thrilled to confirm that we've been able to secure a couple cases of a very special sake that has been the talk of the sake (and music?) world, Phoenix Junmai Daiginjo.

This very special sake is the result of a collaboration between Yamagata prefecture's Tatenokawa, Inc. and Grammy Award-winning French rock band, Phoenix.

This very limited edition sake was launched as a tribute to the band's friend and sake mentor, Toshiro Kuroda, a Paris-based Japanese restauranteur and sake expert who passed away from cancer in February 2017.  A portion of the sake's sales is donated in Kuroda-san's memory to the Japanese Red Cross Society.

Brewed with local Yamagata Dewasansan rice milled to 50%, our understanding is that Phoenix Junmai Daiginjo is also a nakadori, which means they only used the middle portion of the mash pressing (the most delicate and valued portion) for this bottling.

We will be taking delivery of this rare brew this Friday, September 14, and it will be available for retail purchase by the bottle ($60/720 ml) and by the 4 oz. glass at the bar Friday- Saturday (9/14-15) while limited supplies last. 

If you are interested in reserving a bottle or two of this rare bird, please contact us by 6 pm tomorrow, Thursday, Sept. 13.



Save the Date!
"Meet the Brewers" Tasting Event: Dewazakura and Masumi
Monday, September 24 @ 6 pm

Yes, you read that right: we're going to be open on a Monday later this month in order to welcome some very special guests who will come bearing delicious gifts.

Please join us Monday, September 24 @ 6 pm for a special presentation of a variety of premium sake from the makers of Dewazakura (Yamagata) and Masumi (Nagano) sake.

We'll be featuring some rare and seasonal brews, including Masumi Hiyaoroshi (once pasteurized autumn release) and a new nigorizake from Dewazakura at this tasting, and you won't want to miss it!

 

Thank you for reading.  We hope to see you at Saké Nomi again soon.

Arigatou, and Kanpai!
Johnnie & Taiko
September 6

Greetings, Nomidachi!


We'll just dive right in  . . .


"Dry" Sake: What it is (and what it is not)
On a pretty regular basis we have customers come in to Saké Nomi and declare they want to purchase, and only enjoy, "dry" sake.

Fairly early on in our experience of dispensing premium sake, we came to understand that dryness and sweetness in sake is not necessarily perceived or experienced the same way as they are in other beverages (particularly, wine).  One thing that led us to believe this is that the customer who came in declaring their undying preference for dry sake inevitably purchased sake that definitely showed some fruitier aspects and we wouldn't describe as being dry at all.  Many times these customers leave kind of shaking their heads and muttering something along the lines of, "I thought I liked dry sake . . ."

Of course, sake tasting is highly subjective, and everyone's palate is highly individualized, but in an effort to differentiate the sweet vs. dry thing in sake, we have gradually come to describe premium sake more in terms of those that show some fruity aspects or notes, and those that do not.

In Japanese, dry sake is described as being karakuchi (kara being "dry," or even "spicy,"), and it is sometimes modified (for marketing purposes or shock value?) to cho-karakuchi or o-karakuchi, which translate roughly to "super dry."

We recently came across an article that described how karakuchi became part of the sake lexicon, and it seems as though it originally came into play post- World War II, in reaction to the proliferation of an extremely sweet style of sake known as sanbaijou, a type of sake resulting from wartime rice rations and the addition of multiple adjuncts (distilled alcohol, sugar, etc., even MSG!) to essentially triple (sanbai = 3 x) brewing batch volume.  Once the rice rations were lifted, brewers wanted to distinguish their time-honored, high-quality sake from the sweet stuff, and karai (dry, spicy) was used not to necessarily describe the flavor of the sake, but as an antonym to "sweet."  Gradually, karakuchi sake developed an image of being high class/high quality, and we suspect some folks still favor this term when ordering their sake to show how high class/high quality they are.

We're still convinced there are only two kinds of sake: good sake and bad sake.  We're also convinced that life's too short to drink bad sake, so please be confident in your palate and drink what you most enjoy, with those whose company you most enjoy.

But, if you insist on "dry" sake, we've got a new one you must try . . .

 

Akishika O-Karakuchi Junmai Ginjo Muroka Nama Genshu
(now available and featured on this week’s menu)

Quick vocabulary review:

Muroka: unfiltered (non-charcoal filtered)

Nama: unpasteurized

Genshu: undiluted (cask strength)

(*cue theme from Shaft*)

O-karakuchi: dry as a mother— Watch your mouth! I’m just talking ‘bout this sake!  Seriously, probably the “driest” namazake we’ve encountered.

Our notes: Golden tint with bamboo essence in the nose.  Fairly full mouthfeel.  Opposite of “fruity.”  Dry and tart with a slightly peppery finish.

$60/720 ml bottle; $16/4 oz. glass



And, though we've mentioned it quite a bit lately, this one's the polar opposite of dry, one of our new favorites, and also featured on this week's menu:
 

Kameizumi "Eternal Spring"  Junmai Ginjo Nama Genshu 
With its abundantly fruity, almost perfumed, nose of banana, strawberry, carmalized pear, and candied fruit, this sake boldly announces the presence of famed CEL-24 yeast right from the start.  Much fruitier than most of the sake we have thus far encountered from Kochi, the acidity perfectly balances the sweetness and allows one to enjoy the harmony of the flavors and aromas.  Its delicate mouthfeel and slightly lower (14%) ABV makes it just right for summer sipping.

Price: $60/720 ml bottle; $16/4 0z. glass



"Meet the Brewers" Tasting Event: Dewazakura and Masumi
Monday, September 24 @ 6 pm

Yes, you read that right: we're going to be open on a Monday later this month in order to welcome some very special guests who will come bearing delicious gifts.

Please join us Monday, September 24 @ 6 pm for a special presentation of a variety of premium sake from the makers of Dewazakura (Yamagata) and Masumi (Nagano) sake.

We'll be featuring some rare and seasonal brews at this tasting, and you won't want to miss it!



Thanks so much for reading.

Arigatou, and Kanpai!
Johnnie & Taiko
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