New Store Arrivals – NamaPalooza!
Masumi Arabashiri "First Run"
From Nagano Prefecture. Junmai Ginjo Nama Genshu SMV: -1 Acidity: 2.0 The nose on this unpasteurized “nama” sake is a nice collection of steamed rice, tangerine, and honey clover aromas. Well here it is! One of the most popular and longest standing imported Nama Sakes from Japan. And it has been a consistently awesome sake loved by all. You might notice that the bottle color has changed, but not what’s on the inside. This year look for floral, vanilla, citrus, and orange creamsicle flavors on a frisky but smooth flow that gets more edgy and brash in a larger wine-like glass. A mid-sized vessel controls and balances all the nice lively elements of “raw” sake. What I like is that when the fluid warms in the glass you can really smell what a sake brewery smells like when they are pressing fresh sake, only this sake is “free run” or Arabashiri so it is not pressed! WORD: Fresh WINE: Brisk Reds/ Tight Whites BEER: Crisp Ales FOODS: Everything from grilled fare to international spice. $40/720ml
Fukucho “Moon On The Water”
From Hiroshima Prefecture. Junmai Ginjo Nama Genshu SMV: +3 Acidity: 1.4 Yay! It’s so much fun when we get the “nama” or unpasteurized version of sake that we usually carry at the store! Why? Because you get to taste the sake in 3D without pasteurization and living! The nose on this brew made by a very cool woman toji (master brewer) is a splendid array of strawberry, mango, and other tropical fruit tones. Soft and spritzy! There I said it! This nama drinks wonderfully soft for a raw sake, but there is a very special spritzy or tingly element that is very popular in the sake world these days (Hello Aramasa). Look for good tropical fruit flavors of strawberry and banana and enjoy the silky soft feeling. I call it “Soft Magic” because it is so smooth and juicy with a little tingly hello. WORD: Soft WINE: Smooth reds/ Spritzy whites BEER: Light Ales FOODS: Gentle flavors, steamed fare, sushi, sashimi, oysters, shellfish. $47/720ml
Ama no To “Heaven’s Door”
From Akita Prefecture. Tokubetsu Junmai Nama. SMV: +4 Acidity: 1.5 The nose on this freshly released unpasteurized “Nama” sake is a cool collection of blackberry, steamed rice, vanilla, and jam aromas. Not all raw sakes are alike! And this brew is very true to the point as it has very unique and complex qualities that are a thrill to discover and taste. Smooth and solid this sake drinks long in the palate. It is rich but not bulky and has a gentle tail that keeps talking. Surprisingly there is a roasted quality to the fluid which has a sweetness like a sweet roasted corn, and a yeasty play that speaks to wine drinkers. It’s a good example of a round sake that doesn’t drink edgy or tight rather smooth and balanced. A legendary brewery makes a very unique and tasty nama that will have you pondering what flavors are in each sip and enjoying every one of them. WORD: Smooth WINE: Pinot Noir/ Pinot Gris BEER: Soft Ales FOODS: Does well with an array of flavors grilled and raw, very versatile. $47/720ml
Rihaku “Origin of Purity”
From Shimane Prefecture. Junmai Ginjo Nama Genshu. SMV: +3 Acidity: 1.7 The nose on this seasonally released “Nama” or unpasteurized (typically sake is pasteurized twice as a preservation technique) is a mild collection of steamed rice, rich earth tones, and wax candy aromas. Hey Nama drinkers! It’s time to get a little funky with a raw sake made with the very rich and complex rice varietal known as Omachi! Fat, large, and chewy this brew drinks rich and thick. It’s an adventure in a glass with loads of flavors pushing off the solid and balanced fluid. Plump and gooey look for green apple tartness and hint of sourness found in peaches. But wait there’s more! There is also a tangy theme that comes forth as the fluid warms and together this all works because of the balance and solidity of the sake. It is unique. It is complex. And it would speak to wine drinkers who like stories with their rich red wines. This is a frisky bold nama that isn’t fruity per se, but keep an eye out for dried fruit tones that boarder on astringency “Shibumi” expressions in each sip. WORD: Rich WINE: Tannin Reds/ Huge Whites BEER: Stouts FOODS: This baby works it all. Throw complexity at it and enjoy the pairing. $40/720ml
Denshin Haru “Spring”
From Fukui Prefecture. Junmai Ginjo Nama. SMV: N/A Acidity: N/A Welcome back to one of our most popular seasonal unpasteurized sakes. The nose on this freshly released brew is a mild collection of yeast, dried flowers, and steamed rice aromas. This year’s Haru is a walked on the calm side! It is gentle, relaxed, and controlled. In year’s past it has had more edginess and brashness but not this version. It’s very even-keeled, smooth and fleshy. A slippery brew with hints of mild melon and pear flavors with a nice under current of apple. A crowd pleaser this Nama separates itself from the pack of other fresh brews by being smooth and very relaxed, which leads to a calm drinking experience. Good flavor and good feeling! WORD: Smooth WINE: Soft reds / Silky whites BEER: Gentle ales FOODS: Sushi, sashimi, gentle flavors and light fare. $24/720ml $48/1.8L
From Saga Prefecture. Junmai Ginjo Muroka Nama . SMV: +2 Acidity: 1.6 Not a lot of Saga sake is available in the US, but this brewery is a great representative of sake from that region. With a powerhouse nose of plums, grapes, sweet beets, and sweet rice aromas this “raw” sake is a party in your glass. It’s a big party as it is crazy bright and very frisky. There is a lot of tingle in each sip, which makes for a refreshing, lively, and edgy drinking experience. A very nice assortment of crispy apple, tight pear, and young mango flavors with a vein of grape and dried fruits. It is an exciting fluid that is brisk, brash and darn near electric. I wrote “tingle time” in my notes and I was very impressed with how the flavor and feeling of this brew jumps right out of the glass. WORD: Bright WINE: Hot reds/Crisp whites BEER: Crisp ales FOODS: This big brew can dance with every food partner, stick to bigger and spicier fare. $50/720ml