January 2010

Sake Bests - Team True Sake Picks "Sakes of the Year 2009"

Posted by Beau Timken in 2010, January, Newsletter
Okay - this is the First Annual "Sakes of the Year" selections that we at True Sake really enjoyed this year. Now this is all completely personal, and as you know my other motto "You are the champion of your pallet" means that you may not agree with our selections. I have asked each Team True Sake member to name a brew or two that really spoke to them in 2009. This can be the seasonal namas or the regular selections that just drank very well last year. And again, these are not the "Best" sakes, just ones that spoke to us!

Sakes of the Year Beau's Sakes of the Year 2009:
  1. Urakasumi Honjozo Genshu
    This brew is not for everybody! But it's for me! Massive and vast and such a food friendly sake - this guy was my go-to restaurant sake. Deep and rich and 19% alcohol content. $34 (720ml)
  2. Kiminoi Junmai Ginjo
    This Niigata brew (you know me and my avoidance of the ever popular Niigata sakes) just drank great last year! Such a solid and well-built sake that is both rich and smooth - plump and balanced - round and drinkable. $29 (720ml)
  3. Gokyo Junmai
    I was told that my review for Gokyo had a word "mushroom" in it that did not best describe the 2009 version. I was told that Gokyo got "fruity"! No way - so I had to taste this very well balanced sake again and again and again and again - And you get the picture. I disagree that the brew got fruity, but it did drink velvety and solid with loads of flavors all in a smooth push! Great at room temperature - just a superbly drinkable Junmai. $25 (720ml)

Miwa's Memorable Sakes of 2009:
  1. Urakasumi Tokubetsu Junmai Nama
    I said "Wow" when I took a very first sip. Being imported for the first time, I had no expectation for this spring nama-zake (unpasteurized sake). Explosive yet this sake had an extreme balance for such a young brew. "How do they do that?" was a question in my mind. The quality reflected the skill of Saura Brewery. I look forward to 2010 brew.
  2. Tsukunokatsura Kohaku-Ko "Luster of Amber" Junmai Ginjo Nama
    Word "elegance" came to my mind when I had the first taste of this summer nama-zake. Bright, fruity and gentle, even me the "nama-shy" loved it. It complimented bright yet soft summer early evening light. The sake was poetic, romantic and beautiful. I hope for its return in 2010.
  3. Tsukunokatsura Jumai - Served hot
    It was a cold night. While I was cooking a dinner, I forgot that I was warming this soft, flavorful Junmai from Kyoto. By the time I took tokkuri (a serving ware) out and pour the sake into a cup, it was "hot, hot". I took as sip as if I was drinking tea, then I went "O.M.G., it is SOOO smooth". There was no harsh tone that over-heated sake gives. The moment was like finding a treasure that I never knew existed. Tsukinokatsura Junmai served warm deserves 2009 Yummy Ward. $25 (720ml)

Lynette's Favs for 2009:
  1. Masumi Okuden Junmai
    Good food friendly sake, slight body, smooth, ricey tones. $26 (720ml)
  2. Born Junmai Daiginjo
    Bright, delicate layer of fruit, definitely a "WOW" sake and worth the price. $45 (720ml)
  3. Shirataki Jozen Junmai Ginjo
    Smoother than the former version, round, balanced, clean yet flavorful. $32 (720ml)

Best Impressions Sakes Keiko's "Best Impressions" Sakes 2009:
  1. Yuho Junmai
    It was really great with spicy food especially shrimp curry. $32 (720ml)
  2. Sato no Homare Junmai Ginjo
    It was elegant and bright. $48 (720ml)
  3. Ichinokura "Hyakkoi" Nama
    It was very refreshing and clean. $26 (720ml)

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