February 2009

Sake Exclusives - Extremely Limited Sakes For You

Posted by admin in 2009, February, Newsletter

sake exclusives feb 2009Consider this a "last chance" to get your paws on three "never in this country" sakes. Yes it's true and not just a selling pitch. I asked two importers to bring three limited runs of some very important and exciting brews. The first is a koshu - aged sake - that is truly a masterpiece in terms of elegance and balance. The second is one of the really important sakes in the nihionshu world - a brew that represents one of the most famous brewing yeasts. And the third is a very unique Junmai Ginjo that speaks to those who like rollercoaster sakes that move a mile a minute in flavor time.

  • Takenotsuyu Yuzuki "Snow Moon"

From Yamagata Prefecture.
Junmai Ginjo Koshu (10 Years).
SMV: +1 Acidity: 1.5
Note: I wrote most of the descriptions on the label for this stellar sake. The brewer named this incredible achievement in aged sake (only 30 bottles available in US) after his first daughter and he calls it a "Dai Koshu" because it has been aging at 42F degrees for over the past ten years. Such a delicate aroma profile with hints of honey, orange blossom, caramel, and leather. Talk about an intelligent sake! Round, soft and incredibly elegant - this is not your dad's koshu! Gentle flavors such as caramel corn and clover honey dance with butter-toffee on a rich fluid that drinks overwhelming light for such an old sake. Room temperature pulls out deeper richness and more hints of butter, warming pulls hot-buttered nuts flavors, and chilled reminds one of a Heath Bar.
WORD: Buttery
WINE: Complex Reds/Rich Whites
BEER: Light Belgians
FOODS: Steak, game, smoked fish, risotto, cheese courses, and cigars!

Ahhhh yes - one of those very important "stepping stone" sakes. Roughly three years ago I encouraged an importer to offer the extremely "significant" Junmai Ginjo from this relatively young brewery in Kumamoto Prefecture. Why? Well for one it tastes great, but for the second and most important reason this Kura invented the extremely popular and heavily used Kobo #9. Yup! Without question you have tasted this yeast before - as it is used by all! (well almost all).
The Association No.9 (Kumamoto Kobo) is used almost as much as Yamadanishiki brewing rice for the national sake competitions. (Ever hear the term YK9) It is that effective in giving off great aroma elements and providing body within the brew. Basically the "Rolling Stones" of sake brewing yeast for Ginjo class of sakes. So naturally every drinker at some point should try a brew from this kura. The importer only imported 6 cases of this sake for True Sake - that's 30 bottles - and 18 have already disappeared!

  • Kouro

From Kumomoto Prefecture.
Junmai Ginjo.
SMV: + 0.5 Acidity: 1.6
This extremely "educational" sake (only 24 bottles in the US) has a vast nose filled with strawberry, lychee, honeydew, vanilla and apple elements. How can something drink so clean and yet have so much body! This is the mystery of a classic brew that has an enormous mouth feel, which coats the mouth with gentle and nuanced flavors. A rice- driven Ginjo with hints of unripe fruits, a layer of vanilla, and a whisp of the infamous umami characteristic. So soft, so chewy, so rich and yet so well balanced. For the well versed behold "shibumi" (estrigency) in a delicate delivery and "kire" (quick finish), which is amazing for so much body. Larger glasses and closer to room temperature bring out more "moods."
WORD: Big Story
WINE: Pinot Noir/White Burgundy
BEER: Big Belgians
FOODS: Anything off the grill, out of the ocean, from the soil, or felled from the heavens.


A lot of importers get samples to try to see if they should carry them in the west. Luckily enough many of these importers ask me if I would like to try some of these brews. Hard work indeed! One such brew came through the pipe-line almost four years ago from a brewery in Miyagi Prefecture that was constructed when four small breweries joined forces as one. We carry many of their offerings, but we never had access to one of their best products (in my mind) until now! The Ichinokura "Kuronohana" Junmai Ginjo (made with kuronohana brewing rice) is one smooth and flavorful operator, and the importer secured for True Sake two cases - he took one case to NYC - so we have 12 bottles of a very elegant and expressive sake that is - well extremely limited!

These sakes are LIMITED so get them while they last.

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