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July 2009

True Sake
premier merchants of fine sake
Dear Sake Drinker,

Welcome to the July Issue of America's sake-centric Newsletter. In this issue read about a new powerful way to buy sake on-line:, take a peek at a sake freezing experiment, read a great Sake Spotlight on a special brew, circle Oct 1st, watch the zaniest sake segment on the net, and say goodbye to a dear friend.

In this issue:

Sake Story - "Rice, Water, & You"

Sake Social I used to refer to it as the "Shipping News" - the countless and endless updates that kept most out of state readers with frowns on their sake sipping faces - frowns because we could not ship great sake to them. But alas the "Shipping News" turns a new page today for you folks in all corners of this superb country looking for better ways to have premium imported Japanese sake dropped on your doorstep. Cloudy skies are parting!

Without going over the long and laborious - trials and tribulations - of our efforts to ship sake in a free market economy from one state to another - please allow me one brief rant about a "system" that we have in this country that is BS at best and completely self-serving for a handful of "protected" people and companies at worst. As many of you know you can ship pencils to anybody - anywhere - anytime without any problems. But you cannot do that for alcohol. Why? There is simply no logical answer - no matter who is trying to spin it - their best arguments are the weakest in terms of a free (laissez fair) market economy scenario. They cannot justify this protectionism in any way, shape, or form. Certainly states that have their own liquor boards and use a "state store" system can say that it's their right as a state to sell and tax alcohol by them for them, and all outside sources be damned! Horrible logic - as all State-Run stores virtually have zero sake representation thus denying their free citizens the ability to purchase and explore sake and other forms of alcohol. This is almost akin to communist countries telling their citizens what they can and cannot have. Is that American?

Worse than state-run states are the states that protect local distributors. Hell's hottest fires burn for you hypocrites. These states simply throw up state laws limiting the amount and types of alcohol that can be shipped to their citizens. Some do this using sneaky and quite frankly tacky "registration" fees for each label of booze that you would like to "ship" within their borders. For example one state throws a $350 fee per label that must be paid each year. Is that worth it for a store or small winery that wants to ship five to ten cases per year? Is it worth it for a store like True Sake that has an inventory of over 250 sakes - to pay that amount on each sake label (sku) to register it? No way. And then some states use a devious method that places a limit on how much alcohol it's citizens may purchase within a year from outside sources. Think in terms of one case of wine, 2 gallons of hard alcohol, etc. Purely Communistic controlling methods in the "free-est of all nations!" NICE! And why do they do these tricky state regulations - to protect their own distributors of alcohol - plain and simple!

How does it work? You own a small distributing company in Blank City. You do not want competition in any form, so you call your State Representative and say please protect me from these outside distributors who are taking my customers. You create a diversion such as - they are not paying taxes to the state whereas I am. You send the State rep several cases of booze and voila! The state representative creates a bill that limits outside retail/winery etc intrusion into the state - not for the benefit of its citizens, but rather for the benefit of it's distributors and certain private businesses. And this bill requires compliance for that specific state. Compliance is the bane of my existence!

To be compliant in all of the states is not only a paperwork nightmare, but is also costly as hell. And that is the point. To make it so difficult that folks such as myself don't even try to climb the hill! (Now there are certain "grey area" ways around this - like just ship to anybody however much they want and pray that you don't get caught. There is a large contingent of wineries and wine retail stores that place the onus of compliance on the receiver via liability - meaning that when you order and take receipt of alcohol you assume all liability, but this is a pipe dream if and when the Feds catch you. This defense is a very slippery slope, and many of my fellow retail stores take this approach, and I wish them luck. But I cannot operate that way - I must be legal. And therein is the reason why True Sake does not ship outside of CA.)

So for the past four years many people/groups have come to me and said Beau let us take care of your out of state shipping. They have proposed on-line retail empires, but never once did they have the horses to do so. I never felt comfortable partnering with anybody to crack this inter-state issue - until now. Last fall two gentlemen came to me with their idea of shipping sake via a web-based community store. I knew sake communities and I knew stores, but what I didn't have was the money to go completely compliant. That was my golden rule - we must be completely above board compliant. They agreed and using their strengths of technology and community building and my strengths of all things sake we formed a partnership.

I would like to introduce you sake enthusiasts to, which one day soon will house the largest and freshest collection of sakes on the internet, and most importantly will ship legally and compliantly to as many states as possible. We launched and re-launched this website very recently, and have been working out some kinks and hiccups with our delivery methodology. In all honesty - two weeks after launching our fulfillment center - the company we pay to store, fill orders, ship, and maintain compliance documents for each order filed for Chapter 11. Talk about bad timing! But everything happens for a reason and we now are in bed with an even better and far more professional business to get you the sakes you want in the fastest manner possible.

As "Sake Director" of I am currently handcrafting our inventory - a process that I wanted to do slowly and effectively. It's pretty hard to just toss up 250 sakes and say buy me. We have to grow our inventory slowly and purposefully - on account of those pesky compliancy issues, but in the end we will have the best selection of sake outside of Japan a click away from you.

Take a gander at the site - read the content - it's all from yours truly. Then come visit me in the Forums! Yes, at long last we have a connection point other than the "AskBeau" on this newsletter. I want these Forums to be "THE" sake-centric meeting grounds for all things sake on the Internet. And when you go you will notice how fresh we truly are, as the forums are still very under-represented. The early bird gets the sake worm. Click here to visit the Forums directly.

"Beau, you should do a blog!" Ahhhhh I have heard that for years. Ask and ye shall receive. "Beau's Blog" is just that - a fun and informative way of expressing sake in an educational and entertaining format. So go and "Blog Me." Read some of the pieces and then make suggestions about what you want to learn about. This is now a two way street. Click here to visit Beau's Blog.

Then check out the inventory. Again we are growing this great selection weekly, and it will mirror the amount of True Sake's selection by year's end. Oh and how about that "Sake Selector" - yes using my TasteMatch System we now have a filtering system that can put you into a sake that speaks to you via three or four simple questions. So for those uninitiated or less motivated let us do the work for you! Hit the Sake Selector and see what comes out. Or for you pros - just click on the inventory and start ordering and rating our brews. Click here to check out the inventory.


Now for those of you who are "Stated" out! I am so truly sorry - I am - I really am. But we are working on and exploring other methods to get sake to you as quickly as possible. It is difficult and a sincere pain in the rear and as stated above it's "UnAmerican." You should call your State reps to complain.

I came up with the slogan "Rice, Water, and You" because of the simplicity and purity of sake. And yet deep within the simplicity is a profound and fundamental complexity, which keeps bringing me back. I hope that will act like that - a meeting ground of sake education and enlightenment that keeps bringing you back! Please make me proud, because I said that the TrueSake Newsletter readers were the best in the industry! Come spread your wings and meet your fellow readers in the forums - lay claim to this new piece of sake turf! It's yours!

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Sake Science - Freezer Burn!

Frozen Sake We all know the temperature slogan - sake can be served from frozen to piping hot!

Hmmmm really? How many of you out there have really tasted frozen sake? How many of you have had a sake slushy on a very hot day/night? How many of you spaced and left a bottle of sake in the freezer that you were trying to cool quickly? And how many of you visited a brewery in Fushimi (Kyoto) and watched as the owner of 400 year-old sake brewery poured his "specially made for freezing" sake from a tetra- pack container into a frozen pitcher from about three feet in height trying to immediate a Las Vegas like cocktail pour? If anybody uttered "yes" to all of these then carry on - there is nothing to see here - move along - don't let the doorknob hit you in the rear as you leave - adios!

Cold sake is splendid - super cold/slushy sake is different - frozen sake is hard to do! The brewery in question is called Tamanohikari and the Ujita family has produced and sold a Junmai Ginjo called Reishu for years - as a sake to place in the freezer and then to pour into a frozen pitcher. These Tetra Packs look like adult juice boxes, and of course they do not freeze solid. In fact - they recommend putting the boxes in the fridge for 10 hours - I always wondered why ten hours as opposed to 11 or 9. They also stressed that you must include the glass pitcher in the freezer with the sake. Why? Because the sake will not " freeze" or "go slushy" as well in a room temperature glass - in fact it doesn't turn to slush at all!

Frozen Sake I like these packs - but in all honesty I sneak more of them into baseball games and concerts than I do freeze them for a sake slushy! (Security will ask - "What is this?" Answer A) Soy Milk - Answer B) Energy Drink - you pick!) So I decided to revisit my sake slushy and the concept of freezing sake - especially in regards to how it changes the final outcome of the product. Freezing is creating stress - there is no question. If I froze a brew - does it drink differently back at chilled or room temperature. Did I damage or affect the outcome of that sake by freezing it? Does the fact that sake is 80% water and 20% alcohol have any bearing? Without going into it too deeply - I was privy to see a machine that only a few breweries in Japan have that freezes the sake so the "ice" ergo "water" can be separated and the result is a higher alcohol content 24%-26% brew that drinks much larger and robust.

For my experiment I decided to freeze one Tetra-Pack and chill another. I also decided to do this with a sake that is not supposed to be frozen. So keeping the experience in house I used the Junmai Daiginjo (They call it a Ginjo but it's milled to 50%) from Tamanohikari as well - one in the freezer - one in the fridge! I put the freezer Daiginjo in a bowl in case it did freeze/shatter. I left all for 10 days - far longer than the 10 hours! The Daiginjo did not freeze. It carries an alcohol content of (16%-17%). Of course each brew was from its same respective batch. Herewith are the results of the freeze-off:

Tamanohikari Junmai Ginjo Reishu "Tetra Pack":

Frozen - The nose is a little more fruity and the texture is like sorbet - a lightly flavored sorbet which drinks crisp for it being frozen. Oh forgot to mention that I poured both into old-style flat champagne bowls - one frozen and one not. The re-pour into the glass also slushed up. It was pretty cool! When the cool liquid hit the glass it simply went slushy! Even down to the last drop. The flavor stays very neutral - very even - not ricey but with a hint of citrus. More flavor comes when fluid warms in mouth if you hold it - otherwise it is neutral and cold - flavorless margarita. At room temperature - after being frozen - the brew was softer and more gentle with a far more shallow flavor.

Chilled - The nose was salty, oceanic, with a hint of lemon. The fluid was clean and smooth with a dry finish. It has a very gentle rice flavor with a quick slightly bitter finish. The overall drinking experience is clean and there is a touch more fruit in the chilled version with a little honeydew melon, but this is in comparison to the frozen brew. At room temperature the brew drank even rounder with more flavor and a smooth and even finish - more impact.


I believe that by "freezing" this sake an effect almost like a third pasteurization takes place - it neutralizes the brew more, which manifests itself in a calming of the flavor and the feeling of the brew. In this case the frozen brew drank far more flat at room temperature. (But dope it's not meant to be consumed at room temperature! I know - I know - did you just get here? Go sit in the back.) I wrote in my chicken scrawl that "freezing dulls the product." So I guess the point is to drink that guy - slushy style and to better gauge if freezing does dampen the sake a bit we will need another test subject.

Tamanohikari Junmai Ginjo "Omachi" (what we call a Daiginjo in the store)

Frozen - The nose on the frozen brew was mild with rice, custard, rose water, and a touch of banana elements. The first sip at a "chilled" temperature - let it come down to chilled - fridge temp - was chewy and tight with an immediate astringency and a snappy hot finish. A smaller vessel produced a rich sweeter - not fruity - brew that drank zesty and semi-boozy. A larger glass drank a little more rich with softer and rounder elements with a better finish. The brew did drink richer than I recalled with cooked pear elements. At room temperature the sake drank richer, heavier, and flatter. A far more muted personality showed itself at room temperature - you could taste a suppression that also had a nagging astringency that was off balance.

Chilled - The nose on this guy was more fruity with honeydew, pear, and vanilla notes. The first sip from a smaller vessel was round and soft gentle hints of nougat and flavored taffy. Larger glass brings out a velvety feeling that is smooth and even with a tingle of heat in the finish. Again - this guy drank more rich than I recalled - (pros take note that the date on both of the Daiginjos were 20.D which could mean the brew was past its prime and tasted a little more rich in this regard.) There is a nice powder sugar flavor that had hints of sweetness in a gentle round flow. At room temperature this brew drank even sweeter with a hint of snappiness, which made it brighter and more lively.


In a head to head tasting there is no question - the freezer did something. The brews drank remotely the same, but the balance was out of whack in the frozen sake. The balance was frozen away! Is that possible? The frozen brew drank boozier and less sweet and the chilled brew drank softer, rounder, and more rich sweet. The frozen brew drank snappier and more astringent with muted flavors. The chilled brew had more drinkability personality - more balance.


Oh I do not like generalizing but if I had to I would say that yes freezing a brew alters the overall structure of that sake. In a lower alcohol sake it muted the brew. In a slightly higher alcohol brew it through the balance and astringency out of whack. The evidence presented itself better when the brews came to room temperature.

PS: When I put the half bottle of Daiginjo back in the freezer - it froze solid! (Air?) And secondly I put a very light Junmai Ginjo from Yamagata in the freezer to carry on - and that baby is frozen solid - the bottle didn't break - but it is frozen solid!

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Sake Spotlight - Susanne Rost Focuses Her Eyes on Masumi Nanago

Many many issues ago I wrote about my trip to Berlin where I visited a small sake shop and met a very special sake soul - Susanne Rost. Well S-san has graciously documented a very special brew that is near and dear to my heart. She also adds a great update on her expanding empire in Germany. Please visit her website at Sak Kontor.

Masumi Nanago Sake Spotlight July 2009 by Susanne

I have been a sake-specialist in Berlin for five years. Why? Because of a glass of Daiginjo that a friend once served in Japan. Intrigued by its purity and subtlety, I could not believe that it was made of rice and water...

With my company Sake Kontor I import more than 40 premium-sakes from Japan. The whole thing only works because we found great brewery- partners in Japan. Many thanks to them!

We sell to restaurants and consumers all over Germany and Europe. But Sake Kontor also sells sake on 6 square meters in a store in Berlin's Southwest. (Yes, Beau, we doubled the space from 3 to 6 square meters since you last passed by!)

But it is not just about selling the bottles. You have to convey a whole culture. I mainly do sake education and this is the job I love most, describing sakes, publishing, holding tastings and training seminars. The main task now is training multipliers like sommeliers and staff of restaurants. And founding a network, also on a European level. I enjoy that very much, and more and more sake aficionados have sprung up! This will give a strong push to the development of a European sake-culture.

Masumi Nanago "Celebrating #7"

Name "Number 7", sake-type "Yamahai Junmai Daiginjo"- enough to make me extremely curious.

"Number 7" refers to sake-yeast #7. It was discovered by the Miyasaka Brewery in Nagano one day in 1946, when especially beautiful aromas were rising from one of their fermentation-tanks. Nowadays, yeast #7 is used by sake-breweries all over Japan. Naming this sake "Masumi Nanago", the Miyasaka Brewery dedicates it to their famous yeast.

"Yamahai" in combination with "Junmai Daiginjo" sounds cool and crazy to me. "Junmai Daiginjo" suggests very sophisticated, clean sake made from highly polished rice. "Yamahai" suggests complexity and a wild, uncontrolled, funky touch. What an exciting combination!

Yamahai is an old yeast-starter method in which wild yeasts and bacteria from the air are allowed to play in the vat until they perish by the lactic acid they produce themselves. Only then the "good" brewing yeast - here glorious #7 - is added. Yamahai takes twice as long and is more risky than the common modern method (in which you add lactic acid from the beginning). And the wild play leaves interesting traces in the sake. What a challenge to use this technique for a portrait of your sake-yeast.

(By the way, my first bottle sold five years ago was a Yamahai. Why start the easy way if complexity is much more fun...)

Given those parameters, prepare for an adventure and open the bottle!

The first fragrance emerging is aromatic with a note of cheese on the horizon. Free Nanago into the glass, and this smell spreads beautifully, joined by a sweet element and a salty hint of smoked ham.

Nanago has to be stored nice and chilled. Just out of the fridge, it has little more than 8 degrees, and first contact with the palate is a bit reserved, like covered with an opaque layer. Warming in the mouth, the layer vanishes and the picture becomes clear. First, a subtle saltiness and a touch of smoked ham. Then a sweet kernel opens, like honey, melting in your mouth.

Gently, flowery aromas breeze in. Meadow flowers, wild herbs, a hint of lavender and hay. You feel transferred to an alpine meadow, not like in spring time in the Japanese Alps (to give you a wonderful experience of this there is another Masumi-sake named "Sanka", "Mountain Flower"). Instead, Nanago leads us to an alpine meadow in late summer, Bavarian Pre-Alps Allgaeu in Germany, for example. It is full of life and rich in aroma. But at the same time, elegant, drawn with a light stroke, like an impressionistic painting, built of many single colour spots. Ripe green and gold, sprinkled with groups of wild flowers, red, lavender, white. You stroll through the grass, honey bees humming, here and there a group of cows grazing (we need them for the cheese- and lactic note, don't forget).

After enjoying yourself a while in the sun, you come across a clear, cold mountain spring. A freshness that you feel at the border of the palate, lively, like spring water surrounding this Nanago-world. Actually, this is the beautiful acidity of Nanago, the border and the foundation of this sake. It keeps your palate awake, and the picture alive and moving. And in perfect balance!

This acidity is an effect of the Yamahai yeast-starter. I am not sure to which more credit goes, to the wild elements that were invited or to #7. But the more I search my soul, the more I feel it is #7, dancing over the meadow, playing with the elements, ruling them all, flowers, ham, bees, cows.

I leave you here on that meadow. If the bottle is empty, rush to True Sake and get a new one. If you lose your way back from the Alps - ask for Berlin, you will find a fellow sake-soul there and a fresh bottle of Nanago, too.

How great was that? Thank you Susanne - this is an instant classic for the Sake Spotlight. You rock! Ironically the bottle and label for this brew just changed from a twist off to a 1.8L stopper top! The label is now silver and herewith is my somewhat dated review:

Masumi Nanago "Seventh Heaven"
From Nagano Prefecture.
Yamahai Dai Ginjo.
SMV: -1 Acidity: 2.0
This unique sake has a brilliant nose filled with citrus, blossoms, minerals, and hot wood. Nanago is fascinatingly delicious on so many levels. Firstly it is a Dai Ginjo made using the Yamahai technique, which should make it deep and rich, but it is quite the opposite. Bright and crisp elements push this sake to the pinnacle of flavor and the higher acidity level balances out like a dream. How do they do this? Nanago is a must for those wine lovers who think that they have had it all, and serious must for all sake aficionados.
WORD: Bright
WINE: Tannin reds/crisp whites
BEER: Crisp Ales
FOODS: Dances with citrus based dishes, salty grilled meats/fish, and great with salads.

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SakeDay 2009 - Mark It Down!

Get your calendar out! Circle Thursday October 1st. Call your peeps and get ready to Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrruuuuuuuuuuuuuuuummmmmmmmmbbbbbbbbbllllllle Sake Day for SakeDay 2009 our annual sake celebration that focuses on education and entertainment.

(This version of the site is from last year - update to come!)

This year we have some exciting new features that we will keep you posted about - until then SAVE THAT DATE!

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True Sake In The News: The Gary V Show

Sake Education Show A HUGE shout out to Newsletter reader and pal Justin Renard, who put me in touch with the maniacs at Wine Library. I went to New Jersey to film a short segment on sake, and we ended up filming for an hour - two segments. JR sent me the only episode that host Gary V had ever done on sake and said that I should go do a sake intervention. One simple word convinced me - GIN-jo! When Gary repeatedly said GIN-jo I knew we had to do something. So grab a glass of sake and watch these two episodes - more goofy than knowledgeable? That's your call, but let's just say that one of the leading Japanese sake experts emailed me that he saw the segments and he feels that I should have my own sake TV Show. What do you think?

Sake Education Show - Part 1

Sake Education Show - Part 2

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New Store Arrivals: The Summer Nama Flight x 6 - And Many More!

Okay Nama freaks - the next flight of unpasteurized brews has arrived - en mass! We have some new faces this season and if you want to taste them all without buying, check out Miwa's Nama tasting at Yuzu on the 22nd.

Otokoyama "Sasaori" Nama
From Hokkaido Prefecture. Tokubetsu Junmai Nama.
SMV: +5 / Acidity: 1.4 / $24 (500ml)

Ohyama "Big Mountain" Nama
From Yamagata Prefecture. Tokubetsu Junmai Nama.
SMV: +2 / Acidity: 1.3 / $28 (720ml)

Yonetsuru "Rice Crane" Nama
From Yamagata Prefecture. Junmai Nama.
SMV: +3 / Acidity: 1.3 / $28 (720ml)
Newcomer this year!

Tsukinokatsura Kohaku-Ko "Luster of Amber" Nama
From Kyoto Prefecture. Junmai Ginjo Nama.
SMV: +3 / Acidity: 1.6 / $32 (720ml)
Newcomer this year!

Tsukasabotan "King of the Peony" Nama
From Kochi Prefecture. Junmai Ginjo Nama.
SMV: +5 / Acidity: 1.5 / $14 (300ml)

Umenishiki "Gorgeous Plum" Nama
From Ehime Prefecture. Junmai Daiginjo Nama.
SMV: +3 / Acidity: 1.3 / $26 (500ml)

Also herewith are some "left unsaid" reviews of brews that have been on the shelves for a bit but have not had the written word bless their little hearts! All good stuff!

Fukuju Awasaki "Bubble Blossom"
From Kobe Prefecture.
Sparkling Junmai.
SMV: -80 Acidity: 4.5
This sparkling sake (second fermentation in the bottle) has a clever nose filled with orange and other citrus aromas. Behold a bright and crisp new world sake with layers and layers of citrus flavors from tangerine to Florida orange. How can rice and water taste like a Mimosa? Who knows, but who cares when this sparkling sake drinks like sunshine in a bottle. The brewers leave little chunks of unfermented rice particles to complete the orange juice pulp-like comparisons. Think snappy, bright and effervescent.
WORD: Citrus
WINE: Sparkling
BEER: Crisp ales
FOODS: Champagne and picnic fare.

Ozeki Komatsu Tatewaki "Samurai Sake?"
From Hyogo Prefecture.
Junmai Taru.
SMV: +5 Acidity: 1.6
This cedar-aged (less than two weeks) brew has a smoky, grainy, vanilla, charcoal, and cedar nose. A well-balanced taru sake that has several degrees of flavors that are best expressed in different sized glasses. A small cup brings forth more cedar tones on a dry fluid with a quick finish. A larger cup displays a more open cedar flavor with a deep layer of sweetness similar to caramel or nougat with more pronounced acidity and a slightly tangy finish. The brew gets more vast at room temperature highlighting the cedar and acidity play. If you like drinking sake from a masu (cedar box) this brew will speak to you.
WORD: Cedar
WINE: Zesty reds/Crisp whites
BEER: Crisp smoky ales
FOODS: Smoked meat, fowl, fish, and cheeses.

Chokaisan "Chokai Mountain"
From Akita Prefecture.
Junmai Daiginjo.
SMV: +1 Acidity: 1.4
The nose on this sake made with Miyaminishiki brewing rice and flower yeast is very floral with hints of gardenia, grape, blueberry, and pear. Round, soft and smooth this brew speaks the language of premium refined sake. Look for layers of gentle fruit elements such as strawberry, blueberry and Concord grape, and take note of a layer of candy-like mild sweetness. Softer and sweeter in a smaller vessel; a larger glass brings forth more expressiveness especially in the finish. Think very soft, very smooth, and very drinkable.
WORD: Floral
WINE: Fruity reds and whites
BEER: Fruity ales
FOODS: Shellfish, oysters, cheese and fruit plates.

Kikuhime "Chrysanthemum Princess"
From Ishikawa Prefecture.
Yamahai Junmai.
SMV: +2 Acidity: 2.0
This massive brew has a monster nose filled with chocolate, earthy, musky, soy-sauce, and aged-sake (koshu) elements. How can so much flavor be offset with such excellent acidity to create superb balance? Who knows and who cares when drinking one of the true sakes of the sake world sakes! If you like your brews dirty with large and expansive flavors of dark chocolate, tangy fruit, and a distinct gaminess then hold on to your hat for one of the most unique and "Yamahai-ish" sakes in the market. Smaller cups bring forth more koshu-like qualities with chewy old fruit, and larger vessels produce more rich and tangy expressions that tingle on sour. A masterpiece for those who run from Daiginjos.
WORD: Immense
WINE: Huge Dirty Reds
BEER: Stouts, Dark Belgians
FOODS: Grilled, salty, savory anything.

Kenbishi Mizuho Kuromatsu
From Kobe Prefecture.
SMV: -0.5~+0.5
Acidity: na
This iconic brand sake has finally made it to the US albeit in a different version than Japan. The nose is an array of rich and earthy tones highlighted by raisins, steamed rice, sweet nuts and straw. A rich and roasted presence that speaks to the 17% alcohol level putting forth a briskness that is rounded out closer to room temperature. A virtual treasure trove of flavors including caramel, nougat, sweet rice, toffee, cooked banana, roasted nuts, and sweet raisins. Think rich and snappy with a feel that speaks to dark alcohol fans. A smaller cup brings more brightness and a larger glass exudes more richness.
WORD: Rich
WINE: Bordeaux/White Burgundy
BEER: Dark Belgians
FOODS: Game, meat, fowl, stews, hearty pastas, smoked cheeses.

You can review many of our sakes on our web site.

Our inventory list is here.

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True Sake Selects - Team True Sake Select Monthly Brews of Note

Miwa, Lynette, Keiko Welcome to "True Selects" - featured sakes that are selected and championed by Miwa, Lynette, and Keiko - our three resident sake studs. As we can only stock so many different brands of sake - think limited space - this effort is a way to offer sakes that we wouldn't usually carry. They will select by price-point, uniqueness, availability, and other factors that make these selections unusual for the store.

Miwa's Pick

Hakkaisan "Eight Peaks" Tokubetsu Junmai
From Niigata Prefecture / Hakkaisan Brewery
Tokubetsu Junmai / SMV: +5 / Acidity: 1.4 / $23 (720ml)

A brand new product from well-known Hakkaisan. (Many of you have had their Junmai Ginjo or Tokubetsu Honjozo.) This sake has aromas of grain & fruit with soft & semi-fat texture yet drinks dry & clean.

Lynette's Pick:

Mantensei "Star-Filled Sky"
From Tottori Prefecture
Junmai Ginjo
SMV: +3 / Acidity: 1.4
720ml $31

This sake is called a Junmai Ginjo but the rice is milled to Daiginjo levels with a semaibuai of 50%. It is light and slightly dry overall but has a hint of richness and fruitiness which keeps it balanced.

Recession Specials:

$130 off
Daishichi Houreki "The Age of Emperor"
This sake is one step up from its sister brew Minowamon.
From Fukushima Prefecture. Junmai Dai Ginjo.
SMV: +2 Acidity: 1.3
Regular price: $210 / NOW $80!!! (Offer starts Thursday, July 16th)

$35 off
Kaika Tobin Shiuku
Beautiful package, a great gift.
From Tochigi Prefecture. Daiginjo Shizuku.
SMV: +5 Acidity: 1.2
Regular price: $125 / NOW $90!!! (Only 5 bottles)

$250 off
Kamenokou Kotobukigame "14"
Yes, this is the "$500" bottle of sake you see at the store. And yes, this is the sake that is brewed with Kameno-o rice, milled to 14%! The sake has been out of reach; now it is a step closer to your glass.
From Hyogo Prefecture. Ultra Ultra Junmai Dai Ginjo.
SMV: +5 Acidity: 1.7
Regular price: $500 / NOW $250!!! (Only 7 bottles)

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Sake Events - July 15th in CT. - July 22nd Nama Tasting at YUZU - OCT 1 is SAKEDAY 2009

July 15th - Wine Class: The Art of Saké (in Connecticut)

West Side Wines The availability of high quality, artisanal, crafted saké in the U.S, has exploded and more and more top restaurants from L.A. to New York have included them on their wine lists. Join us for an exploration of saké and a tasting of the key styles and quality levels. Learn what daiginjo, honjozo and junmai mean and what it means if your sake is served hot. If you haven't yet tasted top quality saké, its diversity, complexity and deliciousness will surprise you.

Leading the class will be David Roth, saké pro and head bartender at Koji in Hartford. David has completed professional saké courses in Japan and has extensive knowledge. Class is Wednesday, 7/15 from 6:30 to 7:45 p.m. Cost is $35 payable in advance. Note: Course reservations are not confirmed until payment is received in full.

Click here to go to their website for reservations

You may also call 860.233.1241 for reservations.

West Side Wines and Spirits
10 Raymond Rd.
West Hartford, CT 06119

July 22nd: True Sake's Miwa Presents Summer Nama Sake Tasting

Yuzu Come & join us for 6 "just arrived" nama (unpasteurized) sake, including two new imports.

  • When: Wednesday, July 22, 2009
  • Where: Yuzu Restaurant, 3347 Fillmore Street, SF (between Chestnut & Lombard)
  • What: Sampling of 6 sakes + appetizer
  • Time: 6:00-8:30
  • Ticket: $27.50 (includes tax)
  • Seats: Limited to 30
  • RSVP: Please call 415.355.9555 (True Sake) $ pay in advance
  • Bonus: If you stay for dinner, 10% off on your dinner bill!

October 1st - SakeDay 2009!
Sake Day

Yes Folks circle the calendar - we are doing it again - our annual sake bash on the day of sake - October 1st! It's a Thursday night so get a nanny or a manny or whatever!
(We will update the website soon.)

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"Ask Beau" - "Who is your biggest fan?"

Minnie Nope - nobody asked that question. I did. Why? Because I wanted to share with you that my biggest fan and best buddy died this week. Minnie - my ten year-old Irish Wolf Hound - my best friend and first "child" lived a great and wonderful life. She was in a word too smart for her own good. She could also smile. Don't you love that? A dog that can smile. I have tears in my eyes as I write this. Minnie used to sit under my table when I did my tastings - a virtual foot warmer and floor mat in one. And after a tasting where perhaps I didn't spit as much as I should have - she and I would then rough house. She was tall enough to put her paws on my shoulders and we would dance. And there is a small chance that you may have seen her, as she marched in the St. Patrick's Day Parade every year with her sister Poppie, who we had to put down three months ago. (Another very special IWH, who was a year younger than Minnie.) Two great hounds. I will miss them dearly.

Please send your sake specific questions to askbeau2 @ (This address is not for general questions and I only review the questions once per month. All other correspondence should use info @

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True Sake Ah, at last we have reached the end of this Newsletter and that of course means that we have come to the now-famous SECRET WORD. To those who are new the SECRET WORD is a chance for you to try a sake of note for half of that sake's original price. Just for reading this Newsletter. It is our way of saying thank you for trying to understand the wonders of sake. And in this regard we typically select a sake with a story, and this month's story is AFFORDABLE. I wrote that in bold because many folks are glancing directly at the bottom of this section just to get the word. We do have a meaning for the SECRET WORD sakes! We try to educate you to different brews and different nuances within the sake industry. And yes this month's SWS is no exception, because it represents how affordable a sake in a box can be. Huh? Sake in a box, doesn't that mean cheap? Well yes and no. It means cheap in price and drinkable in feel. We did the Junmai version in a box last year and people loved it. This is the Junmai Ginjo version from Hakushika.

Please remember the rules: only one bottle per reader, and don't tell your buddy at the moment if he/she isn't a Newsletter subscriber, always use a hushed or secret agent voice when saying the SECRET WORD, and lastly for those who have their sakes shipped we can only include the SECRET WORD sake in a four-pack purchase - meaning you must buy three other sakes.


This month's brew is a Junmai Ginjo from Hyogo that comes in a 900ml box. We would usually sell this brew for $10 or so, but for you sake- jockeys we will part with all 900ml for $6. And the SECRET WORD is...check your email inbox - We only give out the SECRET WORD in the mailed Newsletter! So sign up for the Newsletter!

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Thank you for reading!

True Sake

Consider this...

What does BY mean? BY stands for "Brewing Year" in Japan, and it is the sake calendar year that starts in July. Thus we are now part of the BY22.


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