Sake Importers – Amelia Catalano Introduces Bix Imports and Takizawa Brewery
The sake river never stops flowing, and this takes many different twists and turns. One great turn in the sake river is when new importers come to market. What’s even cooler is when we know nothing about them or their amazing breweries.
Such is the case with Bix Imports and founder Amelia Catalano, who came to our closed-for-foot-traffic-store during COVID and stated that she was the proud representative of a sake brewery in Nagano Prefecture called Takizawa.
And what did the sake river produce? It produced some serious smiles on the True Sake Team’s faces, as we tasted Amelia’s line-up. Damn good sake! In fact, so good we did something that we’ve never done before, letting our good readers taste it before we even added it to our portfolio via the SECRET WORD. You guys tasted the Junmai Ginjo, and in case you don’t remember you loved it!
I asked Amelia to share with us some of her plight on the sake river, and then following her comments we have added all three reviews for her Takizawa beauties.
“Fueled by a passion for travel and food, I founded Bix Imports in late 2017. Although my first offerings were focused on single cask Scotch and Spanish wines, one of my primary goals has always been to import sakes. My introduction to Takizawa sakes was truly serendipitous, as I had found a Japan-based exporter online who connected me with the almost nearly 200 year old brewery in 2018. Fast forward to the year 2020, I restarted conversations to finally bring in their fantastic Junmai, Junmai Ginjo, and Tokubetsu Junmai sakes.
Being a very small, early stage, and woman-owned business comes with its fair share of challenges. However, one of the most important advantages that comes with all of this is the ability to focus on quality and hand pick every product we import. My goal in the coming years is to discover more craft sake to add to Bix Imports' portfolio and introduce to market here in the US.”
For more information on Takizawa sakes, check out http://www.takizawa-info.com
From Nagano Prefecture. Junmai. SMV: +6 Acidity: 1.5
The nose on this sake is a cool collection of Asian pear, melon, banana bread, powdered sugar, cotton, citrus, and a hint of wood aromas. We love our Junmai sake at True Sake, especially when it's made with a cool rice varietal like Sankenishiki milled to 70%. Using one of the softest waters in Japan "Kokuyo Mizu" this sake drinks very soft and smooth. Hey dry sake drinkers take note, because this is one of those dry brews that is actually thick and chewy and feels great in the palate. Earthy, fruity, creamy, and very viscous this brew has many looks, but the balance is there which makes this an awesome dry sake. Look for butterscotch, oatmeal, nougat, marshmallow, nuts, grapefruit, red apple, banana bread, white mushroom flavors with a healthy thump of umami to round everything out. And as the fluid warms more umami jumps out of the glass. WORD: Dry WINE: Fat reds/Dry whites BEER: Creamy ales FOODS: Salty, savory, creamy fare, chicken on a stick, meats, burgers. $21/720ml
From Nagano Prefecture. Tokubetsu Junmai. SMV: -5 Acidity: 1.6
The nose on this sake is a very cool collection of blueberry, plum, pineapple, vanilla, cinnamon, creamy, and nutty aromas. Juicy, slippery, soft, this sake drinks like a flavor adventure on a fluid that is buoyant and smooth. This brewery is blessed with some of the softest brewing water in Japan, and the result is a sake that you can really feel the softness translate into the brew. Ok, now get your flavor finder out and look for green apple, pear, grape, blueberry, powder sugar, applesauce, pineapple, creamsicles, coconut, nougat, cocoa, pumpkin pie, and rice pudding flavors that dance in the larger glass. The tricky thing about this sake is that it has a tricky richness. It doesn't drink rich, but many of the flavors are on the rich side, but the sake drinks light and buoyant. WORD: Fun WINE: Fruity Reds/Rich Whites BEER: Fruity Ales FOODS: sushi, sashimi, shellfish, oysters, crab with butter. $23/720ml
From Nagano Prefecture. Junmai Ginjo. SMV: +1 Acidity: 1.6
The nose on this is a great collection of green apple, mango, orange, strawberry, banana, bubblegum, and powder sugar aromas. Bang! What was that? A fruit bomb! This explosive and flavorful sake is a perfect example of Ginjo-ka aroma and Ginjo feeling and flavors in sake. Bright and expressive, the Ginjo "action" in this brew is at competition levels. Look for pear, crisp apple, cantaloupe, orange, tangerine, tart berries, banana, and sweet carrot flavors that excel in a wine glass. Basically this is a can't miss sake that most everybody would like, so not only is it great for you it's great to gift to others. It's such a prototypical Junmai Ginjo that it woos the newbies and satisfies the sake aficionados. WORD: Fruit Bomb WINE: Fruity bright reds/Crisp whites BEER: Fruity Ales FOODS: Shellfish, sushi, sashimi, fruit salads, fruit plates, grilled shrimp and fish. $27/720ml