Nomidachi News Archive

March 2021



March 30

Hello, Nomidachi!




It has been incredibly heartening (and just good for the soul) to see so many of you during our first month of Saké Nomi 2.0!

Reconnecting with you is of such vital importance to us that our typical evening exchange is not, "How was your day?" or "How was business?" but "Who'd you see today?"

Thank you for not forgetting us on account of our involuntary down time at the end of last year.

We're still getting back into the swing of things and reactivating the "saké muscles" we'd built up over the past decade, and our new digs are slowly and surely beginning to feel like home.

In appreciation of your support, and maybe to help limit your trips out and about during this critical time battling the virus, we're offering some discount pricing deals (2-pack & 3-pack), providing an incentive (we hope) for you to explore multiple sake from the same producer.

(PLEASE NOTE: Pricing posted below is regular retail price before the discount is applied.) 

We've also still got a pretty good supply of the spring namazake mentioned below, so if you want to add some of those to a 2- or 3-pack purchase, we'll piggyback them onto the 10% discount deal.

As ever, thank you very much for your friendship and support, and we look forward to raising a glass with you in the near future.


Kanpai!
Johnnie & Taiko
 


New Sake Arrival: Daikoku Masamune
We are absolutely thrilled to be able to introduce a trio of brews from Kobe, Hyogo prefecture's Yasufuku Matashiro Shoten, under their flagship label, Daikoku Masamune.

Established in 1751, the brewery is one of the smallest in the famed Nada brewing district, and probably one of the most beloved by the locals and sake enthusiasts "in the know."

As the importer (Oregon's SakéOne) tells it: "
Daikoku Masamune has always had a cult-like following in Kobe, Japan, and their brewery had one of the most celebrated water sources for saké brewing. In 1990, the Kobe earthquake destroyed nearly everything at the brewery, but their loyal drinkers included the leadership at Hakutsuru Brewery. When the president of Hakutsuru learned what befell Daikoku Masamune’s brewery, he offered to let them use their facility in Hyogo. Daikoku Masamune took them up on their gracious offer but decided that to keep their saké true to its roots; they brought the water via tanker, from their original source near the old brewery."


Though we are still in the glow of just becoming acquainted with these brews, we think they are extremely well crafted, very delicious, interesting, and tremendous sake values in their grades. Please give them a try, enjoy them, and enjoy some extra savings, while you're at it, by hitting the Daikoku Trifecta!

DAIKOKU MASAMUNE
“INFINITE BEAUTY”
Brewery: Yasufuku Matashiro Shoten (est. 1751)
Region: Hyogo (Kobe)
Type/Polish Ratio:
Junmai Daiginjo/50%
Tasting Notes: Mild sunflower golden tint. Balanced fruit with elegance, depth of flavor, a confident presence, and sharp finish. A sake of substance!
Price: $60/720 ml (10% discount in Daikoku "3-pack")


DAIKOKU MASAMUNE
“INFINITE WISDOM”
Brewery: Yasufuku Matashiro Shoten (est. 1751)
Region: Hyogo (Kobe)
Type/Polish Ratio:
Junmai Ginjo/60%
Tasting Notes: Very slight amber color, with floral, minty, and melon aromas. Light mouthfeel, with elements of tangerine, citrusy sourness, brightness, and faint salinity.
Price: $35/720 ml (10% discount in Daikoku "3-pack")


DAIKOKU MASAMUNE
‘INFINITE STRENGTH”
Brewery: Yasufuku Matashiro Shoten (est. 1751)
Region: Hyogo
Type/Polish Ratio:
Junmai/60%
Tasting Notes: Light, shiny greenish gold tint, with a nose suggesting persimmon and brown sugar. Soft, light texture and nice body. Gentle sweetness with traces of astringency and young fruit tartness. Tremendous value and quality – it punches well above its junmai weight class!
Price: $32/720 ml (10% discount in Daikoku "3-pack")





The Return of "Best in the East," Azumaichi
While we don't see a lot of sake from Kyushu in southwest Japan (it's definitely "shochu country" down there), some of our absolute favorites originate there, including these couple from Azumaichi which arrived this past weekend. We're thrilled to welcome them back to the shelves after an extended absence due to hiccups in the supply chain.


AZUMAICHI
“BEST IN THE EAST”
Brewery: Gochoda (est. 1922)
Region: Saga
SMV: 0
Type/Polish Ratio: 
Junmai Ginjo/49%
Tasting Notes: Greenish gold coloring, with tropical fruit and sweet grain aromas.  Fruity, lively, and nama-esque (like an unpasteurized saké).  Exquisite balance and harmony of acidity and astringency.
Price: $60 (10% discount in Azumaichi "2-pack")




AZUMAICHI

YAMADA NISHIKI JUNMAI
Brewery: Gochoda (est. 1922)
Region: Saga
SMV: +/- 0
Type/Polish Ratio: 
Junmai/64%
Tasting Notes: Soft and billowy texture, with an elegant aroma of grains and steamed rice.  Defined, sturdy body, with subtle depth and umami.  Strikes a delicious, delicate balance between the dry, sweet, and tart flavor elements.
Price: $40 (10% discount in Azumaichi "2-pack")




Welcome to WA 3-Pack
Featuring new label, Izumibashi (est. 1857)

This time, featuring our tasting notes

We've been desperately trying to get our hands on sake from Izumibashi for years, and during the past couple months we were privileged to take part in a couple online sessions with the brewer, serving only to intensify our unquenched desire.

As the importer explains, "Believing that good sake is made with good rice, Izumibashi is one of the few breweries in Japan that polish AND grow their own sake rice with their own hands. The name Izumibashi comes from the Izumi river which is used to irrigate their fields, and Hashi, their family name - together Izumibashi means 'Izumi Bridge.'"

Because the distributor still has some available stock, we're reviving the "Welcome to Washington" promotion, offering a 10% "3-pack" discount price if you pick up one of each.

IZUMIBASHI
MEGUMI “BLUE LABEL”
Brewery: Izumibashi (est. 1857)
Region: Kanagawa
SMV: +7
Type/Polish Ratio: Junmai Ginjo/50-58%
Tasting Notes: Deep greenish gold coloring with a nose of bread, yeast, wheat, sweet flowers, muscat, and strawberry. Full-bodied, with a strong, comforting presence. Hint of raspberry on the palate before the dry finish.
Price: $55/720 ml (10% discount in Izumibashi "3-pack")


IZUMIBASHI
KUROTOMBO
Brewery: Izumibashi (est. 1857)
Region: Kanagawa
SMV: +10
Type/Polish Ratio: Junmai/65%
Tasting Notes: Pronounced dark gold color with sweet notes of cupcake or birthday cake. Rich-bodied umami and a hint of tanginess. Super smooth with citrus notes and surprisingly more acidic when gently warmed.
Price: $60/720 ml (10% discount in Izumibashi "3-pack")


IZUMIBASHI
AKI TOMBO RAKUFUMAI
Brewery: Izumibashi (est. 1857)
Region: Kanagawa
SMV: +4
Type/Polish Ratio: Junmai Ginjo/55%
Tasting Notes: Greenish gold coloring with Asian pear and sweet grass in the nose. White wine-like in its tartness and astringency and, perhaps, drier than the SMV +4 would suggest. Room temp seems just right.
Price: $55/720 ml (10% discount in Izumibashi "3-pack")




Limited Seasonal Release Namazake
Still possible for you to experience the "zing" of spring



 




Rihaku “Origins of Purity” Junmai Ginjo Nama Genshu (Shimane)                   
Fairly pronounced golden tint, with aromas of peach, mango, kiwi, nectarine, and a touch of mint.  Silky, soft mouthfeel, with citrusy flavors of young fruit on the palate.  Richness and depth of flavor with an overall impression of being substantial but not overpowering.
$60/720 ml bottle
 

Fukucho “Moon on the Water”
Junmai Ginjo Namazake (Hiroshima)                
The nose shows notes of pine needles, oranges, cloves, ginger, and persimmon. Lively and fairly acidic on the palate (nearly carbonated!).  Juicy and sharp melon flavors contrast nicely with the sake’s soft texture.  $60/720 ml bottle
 

Taka “Noble Arrow”
Tokubetsu Junmai Namazake (Yamaguchi)            
Golden, slightly hazy coloring with vaguely citrus and mineral notes in the nose. Soft, pretty mouthfeel. Mildly sweet, but with tart, almost sour accents, as well. Nice acidity and a finish that kind of hangs around.  $50/720ml bottle

March 15

Helloooo, Nomidachi!



As we mentioned in our last newsletter, March is a fabulous time to be a sake drinker. The NCAA has their "March Madness" (Go Drexel Dragons!), but we're all about that Saké Gladness that we're able to experience this time of year via spring seasonal limited release namazake.

We don't want to sound like we're stuck on repeat, but since the time period these sake are available to us is so short, we're kind of on a mission to promote the heck out of them and, hopefully, give as many of you as possible a chance to experience these rare, good things.

So, we've listed below the namas that are still available and in stock, as well as a couple super rare selections from one of the industry's true masters (some even call him a "god").

Thank you for helping us off to a pretty fantastic start at the new shop -- it's been wonderful to see so many of you after some of those long, dark months. Please keep an eye out in the coming weeks for a special (and long awaited?) announcement, keep taking good care of each other, and we hope to see you at 106 Cherry Street again soon.


Kanpai!
Johnnie & Taiko
 



Do we carry any sake brewed by a "God?"
Why, yes. Yes, we do.


While we are still going strong on the Noguchi Muroka Nama Genshu Honjozo (it's already become one of the year's best sellers -- our notes below), we are about to go “next level” with the Naohiko Noguchi Yamahai Miyamanishiki.

 
Noguchi-sensei had a huge influence in bringing back the ultra-traditional yamahai style of brewing, and this new offering sounds like it’s the culmination of those years of back-breaking work and the resulting hard won knowledge.
 
 
According to the importer, the Yamahai Miyamanishiki is an "elegant sake with a slightly long finish. Botanical scent of lush berries with refreshing acidity. As you hold it on your tongue, it presents a pleasant balance of umami and acidity with a soft mouthfeel, with a finish of fresh herbs." 

ETA for in-store pick up: Friday, March 19
Price: $160/720 ml bottle


This sake comes to us in 6 bottle cases, and this Friday we will receive our first two cases. Though many of this first allotment have been spoken for, a few yet remain, and if you're interested in giving it a try, please let me know, and I'll be glad to set a bottle or two aside for you.
 


Noguchi Naohiko Muroka Nama Genshu Honjozo (Ishikawa)
Extremely limited: It’s brewed by one of the “Gods of Saké Brewing,” and is intended to be sold in restaurants only. Via a special arrangement with our distributor, we are managing to take delivery of a dozen bottles at a time.

Mellow gold tint with aromas and flavors of spiced apple and cinnamon. Tingling and lively with terrific balance and full of umami – flavorful, but not overwhelming, and not at all overpowering at 18% ABV. A special bottle for special times -- Saké Nomi times.
ETA for in-store pick up: Friday, March 19
$80/720 ml bottle



Limited Seasonal Release Namazake
Still Available

And we're going to keep stocking it until we can't!


Gokyo Arabashiri “First Run”
Junmai Nama Genshu (Yamaguchi)
Tart, young fruit flavors of pear and apple.  Soft mouthfeel is in pleasant contrast to solid acidity and slightly bitter notes in the finish.  The brewery, Sakai Shuzo, was established in 1871. 
$60/720 ml bottle


 
Koshi no Homare Shiboritate
Junmai Nama Genshu (Niigata)    
Elements of rice and yeast in the nose.  Entry is quiet and soft, but then the brashness and boldness of the genshu (undiluted saké) makes its presence known.  A coating, dairy-like, “feel the heat” spread to the finish.  Direct and unostentatious; it’s all about the character of the local rice. 
$40/720 ml bottle
 


Kasumi Tsuru Shiboritate Yamahai Nama Chozo
Futsushu (Hyogo)                
Extremely limited seasonal release, and one of the rare futsushu we offer. Light gold tending toward amber tint. Yeasty, bread-like aroma, with a soft, light mouthfeel. Mildly sweet in the beginning palate, ending in a drier, slightly boozy (@ 18% ABV) finish.  Traces of yamahai tanginess on the edges.
$38/720 ml bottle





Rihaku “Origins of Purity” Junmai Ginjo Nama Genshu (Shimane)                   
Fairly pronounced golden tint, with aromas of peach, mango, kiwi, nectarine, and a touch of mint.  Silky, soft mouthfeel, with citrusy flavors of young fruit on the palate.  Richness and depth of flavor with an overall impression of being substantial but not overpowering.
$60/720 ml bottle
 

Fukucho “Moon on the Water”
Junmai Ginjo Namazake (Hiroshima)                
The nose shows notes of pine needles, oranges, cloves, ginger, and persimmon. Lively and fairly acidic on the palate (nearly carbonated!).  Juicy and sharp melon flavors contrast nicely with the sake’s soft texture.  $60/720 ml bottle
 

Taka “Noble Arrow”
Tokubetsu Junmai Namazake (Yamaguchi)            
Golden, slightly hazy coloring with vaguely citrus and mineral notes in the nose. Soft, pretty mouthfeel. Mildly sweet, but with tart, almost sour accents, as well. Nice acidity and a finish that kind of hangs around.  $50/720ml bottle

 

March 23

Greetings, Nomidachi!



This is just a brief reminder that yes, spring has officially sprung. Aside from groundhogs and equinoxes, for us the clincher is the bounty of limited release namazake currently ensconced in our fridge.

We mention them again because we cracked a bottle of the Rihaku "Origins of Purity" mentioned below and were reminded how mind-blowingly delicious it is, and we don't want you to miss out on this year's versions of these sake and have to wait until next year to try them.

In non-nama news (mana mana), we're excited to welcome back a couple favorite brews from southern Japan under the Azumaichi label that will arrive at the shop this Friday (notes and info below).

And, oh yeah, our hours this coming Saturday, March 27 will be 2:00- 6:00 pm.

Why the change in schedule? Vaccination appointment! Let's do it!!


Kanpai!
Johnnie & Taiko
 


The Return of "Best in the East," Azumaichi
Sometimes it feels like the only constant in the sake world is change. Importers change, distribution channels change, and with these changes prices often change. From our perspective, some great sake suddenly becomes unavailable to us and doomed to undeservedly disappear through the cracks of the system.

While we don't see a lot of sake from Kyushu in southwest Japan (it's definitely "shochu country" down there), some of our absolute favorites originate there, including these couple from Azumaichi which will arrive this Friday, March 26. We're thrilled to welcome them back to the shelves after an extended absence due to some of the changes mentioned above.


AZUMAICHI
“BEST IN THE EAST”
Brewery: Gochoda (est. 1922)
Region: Saga
SMV: 0
Type/Polish Ratio: 
Junmai Ginjo/49%
Tasting Notes: Greenish gold coloring, with tropical fruit and sweet grain aromas.  Fruity, lively, and nama-esque (like an unpasteurized saké).  Exquisite balance and harmony of acidity and astringency.
Price: $60
Availability in-store: Friday, March 26




AZUMAICHI

YAMADA NISHIKI JUNMAI
Brewery: Gochoda (est. 1922)
Region: Saga
SMV: +/- 0
Type/Polish Ratio: 
Junmai/64%
Tasting Notes: Soft and billowy texture, with an elegant aroma of grains and steamed rice.  Defined, sturdy body, with subtle depth and umami.  Strikes a delicious, delicate balance between the dry, sweet, and tart flavor elements.
Price: $40
Availability in-store: Friday, March 26



Limited Seasonal Release Namazake
Still Available

Trust us: You don't want to miss these!


Gokyo Arabashiri “First Run”
Junmai Nama Genshu (Yamaguchi)
Tart, young fruit flavors of pear and apple.  Soft mouthfeel is in pleasant contrast to solid acidity and slightly bitter notes in the finish.  The brewery, Sakai Shuzo, was established in 1871. 
$60/720 ml bottle


 
Koshi no Homare Shiboritate
Junmai Nama Genshu (Niigata)    
Elements of rice and yeast in the nose.  Entry is quiet and soft, but then the brashness and boldness of the genshu (undiluted saké) makes its presence known.  A coating, dairy-like, “feel the heat” spread to the finish.  Direct and unostentatious; it’s all about the character of the local rice. 
$40/720 ml bottle
 





Rihaku “Origins of Purity” Junmai Ginjo Nama Genshu (Shimane)                   
Fairly pronounced golden tint, with aromas of peach, mango, kiwi, nectarine, and a touch of mint.  Silky, soft mouthfeel, with citrusy flavors of young fruit on the palate.  Richness and depth of flavor with an overall impression of being substantial but not overpowering.
$60/720 ml bottle
 

Fukucho “Moon on the Water”
Junmai Ginjo Namazake (Hiroshima)                
The nose shows notes of pine needles, oranges, cloves, ginger, and persimmon. Lively and fairly acidic on the palate (nearly carbonated!).  Juicy and sharp melon flavors contrast nicely with the sake’s soft texture.  $60/720 ml bottle
 

Taka “Noble Arrow”
Tokubetsu Junmai Namazake (Yamaguchi)            
Golden, slightly hazy coloring with vaguely citrus and mineral notes in the nose. Soft, pretty mouthfeel. Mildly sweet, but with tart, almost sour accents, as well. Nice acidity and a finish that kind of hangs around.  $50/720ml bottle




 

March 2

Konnichi wa, Nomidachi!



Though they're all pretty darn good, March is generally a fantastic month to be a sake drinker in the state of Washington. Why? It's the month when we start to see the arrival of the rare, zingy treat: spring seasonal limited release namazake.

Yesterday, we received the year's first batch. Announced in last week's newsletter, they're still available and again mentioned below.

Today we take a moment to inform you that the "second wave" of these sensational seasonal rarities (less than 1% of all sake produced in Japan is released as unpasteurized namazake!) is due to be ensconced in the Saké Nomi fridge on Tuesday, March 9, and if we hear from you by noon on Saturday, March 6, you can pick them up next week.

Notes on previous year's versions (and they all vary a bit, year to year), and pricing information are below.

Please remember, even though we do not enjoy volume discounts from most of our distributors, we're very glad to extend you a 10% "case" discount on orders of 6 or more bottles, and that includes these seasonal sensations.

We look forward to this season every year, in part because enjoying namazake reminds us that sake is a lovingly crafted, alive, delicate, and precious thing, and just one of the many reasons we do what we do. We hope you'll have a chance to join us in raising a glass or two.


Thank you, and Kanpai!
Johnnie & Taiko
 


The Year's First Batch of Limited Seasonal Release Namazake Still Available
Come Help Clear Some Space in Our Fridge!


Gokyo Arabashiri “First Run”
Junmai Nama Genshu (Yamaguchi)
Tart, young fruit flavors of pear and apple.  Soft mouthfeel is in pleasant contrast to solid acidity and slightly bitter notes in the finish.  The brewery, Sakai Shuzo, was established in 1871. 
$60/720 ml bottle

 


Harushika “Spring Deer” Shiboribana
Junmai Ginjo (Nara)                                 
Slight yellow tint, with essence of strawberry and gardenia.  Clean and vaguely citrus. Tingly and astringent character, with mineral notes in the somewhat dry finish.
$45/720 ml bottle
 


Koshi no Homare Shiboritate
Junmai Nama Genshu (Niigata)    
Elements of rice and yeast in the nose.  Entry is quiet and soft, but then the brashness and boldness of the genshu (undiluted saké) makes its presence known.  A coating, dairy-like, “feel the heat” spread to the finish.  Direct and unostentatious; it’s all about the character of the local rice. 
$40/720 ml bottle
 


Kasumi Tsuru Shiboritate Yamahai Nama Chozo
Futsushu (Hyogo)                
Extremely limited seasonal release, and one of the rare futsushu we offer. Light gold tending toward amber tint. Yeasty, bread-like aroma, with a soft, light mouthfeel. Mildly sweet in the beginning palate, ending in a drier, slightly boozy (@ 18% ABV) finish.  Traces of yamahai tanginess on the edges.
$38/720 ml bottle




"Second Wave" of Spring Namazake Arrives Next Week
Don't Delay, Order Yours Today!


Rihaku “Origins of Purity” Junmai Ginjo Nama Genshu
(Shimane)                   
Fairly pronounced golden tint, with aromas of peach, mango, kiwi, nectarine, and a touch of mint.  Silky, soft mouthfeel, with citrusy flavors of young fruit on the palate.  Richness and depth of flavor with an overall impression of being substantial but not overpowering.
$60/720 ml bottle
 

Fukucho “Moon on the Water”
Junmai Ginjo Namazake (Hiroshima)                
The nose shows notes of pine needles, oranges, cloves, ginger, and persimmon. Lively and fairly acidic on the palate (nearly carbonated!).  Juicy and sharp melon flavors contrast nicely with the sake’s soft texture.  $60/720 ml bottle
 

Taka “Noble Arrow”
Tokubetsu Junmai Namazake (Yamaguchi)            
Golden, slightly hazy coloring with vaguely citrus and mineral notes in the nose. Soft, pretty mouthfeel. Mildly sweet, but with tart, almost sour accents, as well. Nice acidity and a finish that kind of hangs around.  $50/720ml bottle


 

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