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True Sake In The News - Grape Magazine Spring 2011

True Sake Okay folks here is a new twist on the True Sake In the News section. I was interviewed by the wine rag "Grape Magazine" for a big story that they are doing about the nectar of the gods. Spent a good deal of time going over everything sake - perhaps an hour interview. What you are about to read is a "Proof" that they wanted me to go over for fact checking! Truthfully I was a little shocked as there were some pretty big mistakes. So I at least had the opportunity to make some corrections. But for the fun of it I will only show you the proof and then we will wait and see how the article turns out. So herewith is the "Proof" of my participation in Grape Magazine's article of sake:

Grape Magazine Spring, 2011
Article: "Desperately Seeking Sake"
Proof Copy for: Beau Timken
Please review for accuracy

In the U.S., most people first start drinking sake that's of a lower quality. It can leave one with a bad taste for the stuff, or worse, a bad hangover, according to master sake sommelier Beau Timken. He's the author of Sake: A Modern Guide and owner of San Francisco's True Sake, the first all-sake-focused boutique in America.

"People have had their 'tequila moment' (with inferior sake) and say they can't drink it" says Timken. "Bade sake makes bad hot sake. However, not all hot sake is bad sake."

Timken is among a growing crop of sake experts in the U.S. who want to educate Americans on premium sake's allure. Learning about sake's nuances and grade levels can reveal a spectrum of flavors. But first you need to understand the Japanese terms to discern what's inside the bottle. Essentially, there are six grade levels of premium sake:
  • Ginjo: premium sake made with distilled alcohol. The rice has been polished to 40 percent (meaning 60 percent of the grain remains intact) and it's fermented at colder temperatures yielding aromatic and fruity notes.
  • Daiginjo: higher-grade artisan sake, with 50 percent of the grain remaining and brewed with distilled alcohol. It has more complex and balanced flavors.
  • Honjozo: basic premium sake where the grain is only milled to 30 percent, but is also combined with distilled alcohol to bring out flavors that are lighter and floral.
  • Junmai: sake produced purely from rice and water. The rice is polished to at least 30 percent, creating a fuller-bodied, clean flavor profile.
  • Junmai Ginjo: A subclass of Junmai, where the rice is polished to at least 40 percent, revealing a higher grade that offers highly refined, crisp and fruit-filled sake.
  • Junmai Daiginjo: The highest grade of Junmai, with 50 percent of the rice polished. This is highly fragrant, complex and refined sake.
Now the mistakes are not huge! But they are confusing right? This is and has been the nature of the beast getting the word out about sake. Sometimes educational outlets get it wrong, and then we are back to ground zero. At least these guys showed the proof. And to be honest, I rarely read proofs of interviews that I have conducted because it feels weird. Just print what you wrote. I'm glad I looked at this one.
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