November 2005

New Store Arrivals November 2005

Posted by Beau Timken in 2005, New Store Arrivals, Newsletter, November

Over the summer I went to a food trade show put on by a local distributor of Japanese food and sake. This second annual event had many more sake "stands" than the year before, and they actually had a flyer which stated "make money sell sake" that promoted the event. Typically what you will find are representatives of the breweries who travel over from Japan to speak about their brews that this company distributes. In many cases the big man of each brewery will come to speak to the American customers. I like this a lot as it reminds me that they value our "overseas" market. The owners of Dassai and Sudo Honke (makers of Sato No Homare and Kakunko) have been to the event twice.


This year I had a great time meeting and tasting the product from a brewery called Take no Tsuyu out of Yamagata Prefecture. The owner Masao Aisawa immediately became a sake blood brother as he came to the show with sake bottles filled with the brewery's water. I love that! In fact when I do tasting at breweries I always ask to taste their brewing water when I try their line-up of sakes. I feel that it is important to taste, what ends up being 80% of the final product in raw form. And in this case the water was brilliant.


Masao-san has three products – soon to be four – that are on our shores in the US, and they are tremendous. Never before have I added three sakes from the same brewery at the same time in a "New Store Arrival" fashion. But behold, three really impressive sakes from Yamagata that drink super smooth, but better yet, have loads of flavor! They are all made with lower acidity levels and this may account for their really soft textures and complexions.


Takenotsuyu "Bamboo Tears" 

Yamagata Prefecture – Junmai
SMV: +2 Acidity: 1.4
The nose on this superb Junmai is filled with cherry, plums, dried fruit and saw dust aromas. Talk about a soft sake. This brilliant brew is both clean and light and incredibly silky with layers of plump flavors. Yet flavorful is an understatement as hints of richness conceal a mild sweetness that ends in a semi-dry finish. An elegant sake that drinks way too easy, and represents another great example of a Yamagata-style sake that screams "Drink me!"
WORD: Easy
WINE: Pinot Noir/Chewy whites
BEER: Light ales
FOODS: Salty and savory fare, grilled everything, and sushi surprises.


Takenotsuyu Hakuro Suishu "Winter Water" 

Yamagata Prefecture – Junmai Ginjo
SMV: +1 Acidity: 1.2
Bingo! One of the best noses in the sake world filled with grape, sweet rice, ash, mineral, balsa wood, and cotton candy aromas. Welcome to liquid style! This tremendous Ginjo is silky, plump and luscious. How can something be so watery-clean and luscious? Who knows, and who cares because you will be amazed at how soft and elegant this semi-sweet brew drinks. There are mild fruit tones including pear and apple and these are enhanced in a larger glass. So clean and no aftertaste, must be the awesome water!
WORD: Juicy
WINE: Plump Pinot Noir/Chardonnay
BEER: Honey Ales
FOODS: Think cuisines that have natural sweetness, shellfish, avocados, and pastas that are clean and savory.


Takenotsuyu Yuki Honoka "Pure Snow" 

SMV: +1 Acidity: 1.3
Yamagata Prefecture – Junmai Ginjo Hatsushibori
A whisper soft nose filled with skating ice, grape skins, and hints of cedar tones. A very gentle draft sake with a gracious amount of subtlety that results in a treasure hunt of flavors that are deeply layered and hidden waiting to be unearthed. Simple flavor, simple feeling, but a serious sake that extols the virtues found in rice and water. Look for hidden flavors such as toffee and marshmallow, and enjoy this fresh sake that is silky and semi-sweet. One of the best valued sakes in the store!
WORD: Silky
WINE: Cabernet/ Rieslings
BEER: Light beers
FOODS: Lightly flavored dishes, sushi, and mellow pastas.


And lastly, and this is sort of a hush because I only have two cases available for now. True Sake has added the Junmai Dai Ginjo from one of our favorite breweries – Urakasumi – makers of a great Junmai, brilliant Junmai Ginjo called Zen, and a Fall Draft Junmai. This is one of "those" kind of sakes that just yells class! $79/720ml.


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