Hey there sake fanatics! I'm the new guy and proud of it. My name is Alex, I like long walks on the beach, candle light dinners....just kidding. My name is Alex and I'm obsessed with sake. You'll see me around at the store on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Stop in for a friendly chat and some excellent recommendations! Here are my top five picks:
1. OTOKOYAMA "MAN'S MOUNTAIN" JUNMAI DAIGINJO
This bad boy is bright, juicy, and velvety. All the best qualities one would expect in a premium daiginjo. The nose resembles that of starburst, with vibrant aromas of kiwi, cherry, and apricot. The flavor is consistent with the nose, is well-rounded, and worth every penny. Bring this notorious gold medal winner to a summer picnic with friends and shame them for bringing cheap beer.
2. MASUMI YUMEDONO "MANSION OF DREAMS" DAIGINJO
This beautiful spring time sake has an amazing bouquet of strawberry, peach, and cantaloupe with a flavor to match. It has a silky, soft finish that leaves you begging for more. Perfect for date night! Complement this sake with bacon-wrapped scallops, grilled shrimp skewers, alfredo pasta or anything tempura'd. Did I mention I had the pleasure of meeting the owner's son? What a nice guy! Down to earth, humble, and genuine. The brewery lies in a small lakeside town of Suwa in Nagano Prefecture, also known as the "Lake Tahoe of Japan". When I finally make my way over to Japan, I will be hopping on the first bullet train to Nagano for a tranquil hike through the forest finished with a bottle of Yumedono with my friends at Masumi.
3. KOKURYU RYU "GOLD DRAGON" DAIGINJO
Want to impress your husband, boyfriend, or best man at your wedding? Grab a bottle of Gold Dragon. The label itself is an accurate reflection of the magic that lies within. This sake is great at any temperature. Chilled to room temp this brew has silky pineapple notes. Heated up is my favorite though! The flavor completely transforms into chocolate and banana. Take this guy camping! Enjoy chilled with bbq pork ribs or smoked salmon with cream cheese on a cracker. Drink warm with some ooey gooey s'mores by the fire.
4. ICHINOKURA TARUSAKE JUNMAI
This style is an ode to tradition. "Taru" means cedar cask and the flavor of the cedar really comes out. The smokiness of the cedar is very prominent at room temp. I heated this guy up at home and wow! Talk about a smooth brew with a hint of yellow apple on the finish that makes having just one glass impossible. The price is very affordable so I often by 3 at a time (just to give you an idea of how much I love it). Grab yourself a masu cup and really pay homage to the old school. The flavor of the cedar cup complements the cedar flavor in the sake.
5. TAMAGAWA "TIME MACHINE" KIMOTO JUNMAI KOSHU
Talk about a rare gem. This brew is aged two years in the bottle and the natural amber color really blows people away. This is very similar to a port or sherry with a lighter texture. Another fun fact is the brewmaster is a British guy named Philip Harper, and he is the only non-Japanese brewmaster (Toji) in Japan. Using a recipe from 1712, expect a nose of bourbon-soaked cherries, soy, molasses, and roasted peanuts. The flavor is rich and savory, with notes of butterscotch, dark chocolate, and caramel. Pair this aged sake (Koshu) with a snickers bar for a match made in heaven!
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