Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Hiyaoroshi PART 3!!!

Continuing on my Hiyaoroshi binge...
Great fall brews are popping up everywhere!
This time we are going to take a trip (an imaginary trip) down to Akita Prefecture to visit our friends at Akita Seishu.

Makers of Kariho (刈穂) and Dewatsuru (出羽鶴), made an appearance at the sake tasting event the other day, Akita Seishu is throwing down all the stops in this years Hiyaoroshi, definitely a must drink!

Kariho / 刈穂
Yamahai Junmai Hiyaoroshi / 山廃純米冷卸
Alcohol: 16% / Polish: 60%
SMV: +3
Akita Seishu / Akita Prefecture

Tasting notes:
On the nose: Big nose with lots of sweet honey and over ripe banana rounded by a sharpness to the nose and hints of rice.

On the palate: Light to medium bodied, honey and banana notes continue, but are far less prominent. Comes off sweet at first, but finishes quite dry. Not as round a mouth feel as I was expecting.

* Above tasting notes were done in a white wine glass, I later switched to a smaller "Sake cup." The result was a much mellower nose, a much rounder mouth feel and smoother finish.

Other notes:

  • I didn't play around too much with the temperature of this brew but I wouldn't be surprised if it drinks really well at room temp or luke warm.
  • The difference between the white wine glass and the sake cup was really big and I was thoroughly  surprised at what a huge difference just changing the cup can do to the flavor of the sake. This was a real learning experience for me, and in the boom of "drink your sake from a white wine glass," I offer these words of advice: White wine glasses are not always better.
  • This is a textbook example (although much tastier than a textbook) of a yamahai sake, and would be well paired with heartier foods, although not overly heavily flavored foods, as well as tangy foods like sweet and sour.
  • This sake is available in both the 1.8L and 720ml bottle size.

Thats it for this installment, I'll keep drinking if you keep reading.
(Thats a lie... I'll keep drinking no matter what you do)


Meishu no Yutaka staff

Monday, October 5, 2009

Hokkaido Sake Store Association's fall tasting!

So as it turns out I was too busy helping out with the event That I didn't get a chance to up anything from my phone. I did manage to get in some pictures, so I will give a recap of the event in a normal post.

This was the second tasting event for the year that the Hokkaido Sake Store Association (Hokutou Sengoku kai 北斗千国会 in Japanese) has put on. It is a yearly event with a spring and fall tasting.

Six sake breweries and two shochu distilleries makes for a lot of good cheer!

Here are some highlights:

The event hall Just as things were opening up. There were booths set up around the perimeter of the room with tables laid out in the center for "notes."

Going around the room counter clock wise we had Ryusei's (龍勢) president Fuji-san. Personally delivering his trademark "delicious acidity" (旨い酸味).

Next up we had Matsuoka-san from Rokkasen (六歌仙) serving up a delicious selection of Yamahoushi (山法師) Including a fantastic Daiginjo Genshu (not on sale yet) that was to die for. Also up for taste was their umeshu and sparkling sake Hitotoki.

In the next booth over we had Nakaya-san from Fukumitsuya, delivering their usual blend of awesomeness, in both Kagatobi (加賀鳶) and Kuro-obi (黒帯). Plus looking smart in his bright orange Happi!

Next in line was Akita Seishu (秋田清酒) bringing to the table a little bit of Kariho (刈穂) magic, and mixing up the routine with a little Dewatsuru (出羽鶴). The booth was so busy that I unfortunately could only get this shot of the bottles when the event was closing. (^_^;

Continuing we have Tanaka-san, president of Daishinshu Shuzou! He brought a great selection of sake including several of my most favorite, and a good selection of fall brews. If you haven't enjoyed a Daishinshu brew, you are missing out!

Unfortunately I didn't get around to getting a picture of the last brewery Jyousan (常山), but they were carrying a pretty impressive selection of their own.

That about says it, a fine selection of sweet potato shochu from our friends down south.

This is the booth that I was working in. "what? That's not sake you fool that's smoke eggs!"
Yes thats right, smoked quail eggs and chicken eggs.
Meishu no Yutaka was in full force with our friends over at Big Egg (the woman in the pic is Wada-san from the egg company) This tasty little treat goes like bread and butter with sake, and is our newest joint venture in our escapades to further all things sake.

Things underway in the second half of the event (the event was broken into two parts, the first for restaurant, bar, etc owners, and the second for everyone else). Every one drank their fill, and then went home with a sake souvenir!

Lastly, my favorite part, the after party!
With close to 100 different sakes to choose from, it truly was heaven in a smoke filled room (A high percent of Japanese people smoke...inside). (>_<)
This is the way to throw a real sake party!

That's it for this time around, will be posting tasting notes on some more great sake soon so stay tuned!

Meishu no Yutaka staff

Saturday, October 3, 2009



(note from my PC: Since blogger now accepts email blog posts, I thought I would give it a try.
Tomorrow is a big sake event so I will throw up some pics when I have the chance.
I apologize  about the all capitols, but using caps normally is a pain in the butt from my phone.
By the way, I will be posting from my phone, so posts will be short and mainly for the pics.
Let me know if you love it or hate it.

Meishu no Yutaka staff

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Nihonshu no Hi (Sake Day)!

In celebration of Sake Day, and because the net is alive with the sound of sake day, I would like to give a little explanation I like to call: "what the heck is Sake Day?"

Sake Day (Nihonshu no Hi, 日本酒の日) Is much more than a party put on by True Sake SF, or a celebration at Sakaya NYC (although both of those are an awesome way to celebrate Sake Day!).

First "why October 1st?"
Two reasons:
  1. The Kanji (Japanese symbol) for Sake is made up of two parts: the three lines on the right, representing water, and the covered box part on the left 酉, which represents a Sake jug or pot.  The progression from pot to Sake is believed to have gone something like this:
  2. the symbol 酉 Can be read as "tori とり" which can mean bird 鳥. Tori or bird is the tenth animal in the chinese zodiac (which Japan uses as well), and when put to the Roman calendar becomes the tenth month of the year, October. Therefore the first day of the month of the bird is Sake Day! And:
  3. In Japan we use a really confusing system (for those who are not used to it) for marking the date of production for sake. Some of you out there may be saying "Oh yeah, I've heard of that, the Imperial calendar, Heisei year 21 and all that, old news." That is only part of the story. In fact, just to confuse you Roman Calendar only people out there, the sake world uses three labeling systems. The Roman Calendar, the Imperial Calendar, and to top it off The BY Calendar (Short for Brewers Year).

    The Brewers Year calendar is about 6 months behind the Imperial calendar, so that the start of the brewers calendar is July (Meaning that the sake you have been drinking all year was made in BY 20 and the sake they are about to start brewing will be BY 21). Why is this important? Before 1965 the start of the brewers year was October 1st! In 1965 in order to better accommodate an earlier brewing season, as technology was Changing to allow it, the National Brewers Association of Japan Changed the start of the brewing year to July 1st.
The very first sake day was held on October 1st, 1978, as decreed by the national Brewers Association that year.

"So now I know why Sake Day is on Oct 1st, but what am I supposed to do for Sake Day?"

Well similar to St. Patties day in Ireland one should dress in red and make an ass of themselves, right?
Not exactly... Although I won't stop you.
Sake day is a day when we should all grab our favorite brew, relax and enjoy.
A lot of blood sweat and tears goes into the making of every bottle of sake, and we should all take a moment to reflect on the fabulous brew.
Going to True sake's event or stopping by Sakaya NYC is a good start too!
If you live in Japan it gets even easier!
Just stop by your local Jizake Senmonten (地酒専門店 specialty sake store) and grab your favorite brew.

Till next time


Meishu no Yutaka staff