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The Top Ten – Top 10 Sakes That Go With Sheep!

Top Ten List – Year of the Sheep

Okay Okay! I get it. It's sick. Yes it is. I am creating a Top Ten list of sakes that pair with the Chinese New Year’s symbol of 2015 – the sheep! Gross! Well it’s also the year of the goat if you feel better about pairing sake with goat! Hmmm. Have I lost you yet? Thank god it’s not the year of the monkey or rat! Wait! Don’t race your eyes away. Don’t scroll down! Think of this Top Ten list as ten wonderful sakes that pair well with meat and dogs! Ha gotcha! Year of the Dog! Oh drats you left. Well for those who didn’t leave check out these great and full-bodied sakes that work better then red wine for meat and game of whatever type!

Top Ten Year of the Sheep Sakes January 2015a

Cowboy Yamahai

  • This sake was specifically designed to go with meat! What more can you say? It’s a meat eater’s dream sake come true as it is fat and bold and has a good pop which is surprisingly wrapped in an awesome smoothness.

Tengumai Yamahai

  • Hey you crazy red wine lovers this sake is totally right for your glass. Use all of your big and bold wine terms like earthy, nutty, dark chocolate, leathery and complex. A very large brew that knows what to do with meat and game
Top Ten Year of the Sheep Sakes January 2015c

Minato Tsuchizaki Nama Yamahai Futsushu

  • It’s not every day that you hunker down to a huge cut of meat or better yet game, but when you do you need that libation that meets power with power. Say hello to this can of liquid dynomite. As sake so vast it needs to captured in the can. Huge flavors and massive punch will make your venison buck, your wild boar roar, and your sheep leaving you baaah’ing for more!

Wakatake “Demon Slayer” Junmai Genshu

  • In some cultures I’m sure sheep are considered demons, so why not go to meat battle with the original demon slayer? This Junmai Genshu (undiluted) is on the dry side and as such it really cleans up the oils found in meat and game and gives you a solid pairing companion. Big and dry meets meat!

Dewatsuru Kimoto Junmai

  • This awesome feel good sake speaks to those who like “feelings” as much as flavors when pairing your libation to your center of the plate creation. This traditionally made “pole-rammed” sake is smooth, rich, and extremely flavorful with hints of chocolate on a flow that feels great in the palate. And considering it is “pole rammed” then it’s perfect for your sheep.
Top Ten Year of the Sheep Sakes January 2015d

A Zen “Ai” “LOVE” 5-year aged Junmai Koshu

  • Okay okay! It’s time to take your meat pairing to the next level! Let’s call it the connoisseur pairing. Why not try pairing your game with an aged sake that is rich, full, lush, and complex? Aged sakes tend to get a little bigger and a little more gamey and make terrific pairing partners. I once won a competition pairing this sake with a wild board pork pie. You do the math!


Fuku Chitose “Happy Owl” Yamahai Junmai

  • Who Who Who? Yup, that is a sad attempt for the owl on this cool bottle’s label to call big red wine drinkers who have a home in the zinfandel and huge cabernet realm. Nutty and earthy this Yamahai drinks surprisingly clean for all of the rich and strong flavors. Serve this baby at room temperature and you are looking at a perfect pairing partner for smoked game and fowl as the sake itself has smoky and rich characteristics.

Gunma Izumi Yamahai Junmai

  • This underrated brewery makes some excellent sake. (See my Beau-Zone Section this month) And this Yamahai is no exception. Talk about a flavorful sake that drinks incredibly smooth. Think velvety and lush and who doesn’t want that when pairing with large flavored meats and game. This brew puts the aaah in “Baah” because you might just forget what’s on your plate while focusing so lovingly on what’s in your cup. Also this brew is great for warming with your pairing.
Top Ten Year of the Sheep Sakes Jan 2015e

Kenbishi “Black Pine” Honjozo

  • So not all sake must be chilled when paired with meats, game and fowl. In fact most of the brews mentioned do better served room temperature with the pairing. But if you want to really expand your sake pairing repertoire then warm up this honjozo and match your meats. This is one of the best warming sakes in the business and it makes for a wonderful warm and rich experience. Warm it! Give it a try!

Sawanoi Kiokejikomi Iroha “Fountain of Tokyo”

  • So you think that you know sake? This brew is made in a wood vat and not the typical enamel or stainless steel and the result is a higher acidity sake that goes right at meat pairings. A very balanced sake that compares well to large red wines, and has layers and layers of very unique and elegant flavors. The “made-in-wood” mystique gives this sake a wonderful pairing edge!
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