Sake Spotlight - Keiko Moriyama Looks at Otokoyama Yukishibare
This month's Sake Spotlight is an exciting one for me as I get to introduce our newest member of True Sake - Keiko Moriyama. I'm certain that many of you have seen Keiko part-timing around, but now she is pulling some more solid hours. And like a fish to water Keiko has blossomed into one hell of a sake communicator. Oh and let's not forget the smile. (I get a lot of emails complimenting her sake selling skills, and even more about her smile.) What we have noticed is that Keiko has a sweet tooth and we have urged her into the direction of being our "sweet" or "sweeter" sake champion. Please see her sake pick of the month in the True Sake Selects.
Keiko - please introduce yourself:
"I was born in Iwate prefecture and raised in Kanagawa Prefecture. I came here as a student for the first time. I've been in the U.S. for almost 7 years now. I've been in San Francisco for 1 and half years. San Francisco is one of my favorite place to live. SF has great food, people and very characteristic culture that I really like.
I worked at Organic restaurant in Kanagawa Prefecture in Japan, and at Yoshi's here in the Bay Area. My passion (other than sake) is my work as a wedding photographer. That's why I have much interest for the design of variety of sake bottles and label designs. It has beauty.
Also, I have been interested in the power of natural bacteria and fermented food and drink, and sake caught my eye. I also enjoy sake culture and great stories of people who make sake.
I would love to share and help all about sake as much as I can with people in San Francisco, Japan and around the world! Thank you very much and please visit the store!!!"
Thank you Keiko - we are very fortunate to have you as part of the team. Now please tell us about your first "Sake Spotlight:"
Title: It's snowing in the sake bottle.
I am having great spring time with seasonal Sake and dishes with spring vegetables. Today I would like to introduce one of my favorite categories in sake -Nama or unpasteurized sake. This season I had many spring nama sake at my home to study, also to celebrate spring season. One sake called "Yukishibare" from Hokkaido prefecture, very north area of Japan, stood out.
Yuki means Snow and Shibare means really freezing. The temperature in Hokkaido Prefecture is below freezing in the winter. I think that's why the name of the sake is Yuki Shibare. There is a little amount of mist on the bottom. I turned the bottle upside down and turned back, the mist looks like snow falling and dancing slowly in the clear glass bottle.
Finally, I opened the bottle! The bottle nose has a gentle and clean mineral fragrance. In the glass it was more fragrant like chilled Muscat. The first sip was very fresh, super fresh as a snow melting in spring sunshine, then lots of savory fruits pronounced after, such as ripe white grape, green pear and green apple. The texture was crisp and clean.
It was best right out of the fridge temperature. This is a perfect sake for clean and fresh sashimi, especially salmon sashimi. Otokoyama brewery was founded in the Edo period. They have huge dogtooth violet garden for public to show. But when you think of this sake think of the cold winters in which it is born, and enjoy on a warm spring or summer day.
Well done Keiko, thank you for that!
This is the 4th year that this brew has graced our shelves. And the consistency has been pretty stellar. It is what it is - and does not change that much! I like that. Some of the more powerful spring nama's - especially the genshus - tend to vary more each and every season. But not the Otokoyama! My review for this brew can be found in the "New Store Arrivals" section of this newsletter.
I will say that the first time that I tasted this sake - something visual and funny occurred. The bottle was on the table in front of me, and when I opened the cap the misty particles started lifting off of the bottom of the bottle and made a funnel/vortex shape up to the mouth. I was amazed. I just sat and watched this snow storm in reverse. It was snowing up! Robert Frost's downy flake going back up to the heavens. I was not even drinking yet! (some of you are saying suuuuuure!) It's really a magical image, and I agree with Keiko - it's like a snow dance in the spring!
Please note that this is a limited release and you should jump on a bottle sooner rather than later!