My name is Chris Cabrera aka CABS and I've been in the sake industry since 2015. After working as the General Manager of Umami Mart in Oakland California, it is an honor and a privilege to call True Sake my new home base.
In 2018 under the tutelage of Sake Samurai Toshio Ueno, I am also a Sake Adviser certified by the Sake School of America (via the Sake Service Institute in Japan).
In April 2021, I've earned my Sake Scholar certification under the guidance of Sake Samurai, Michael Tremblay aka Toronto's favorite son.
In November 2021, I've earned my Level 3 Award in Sake from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust taught by Jesse Pugach and KJ Rizzo.
I've been lucky enough to travel to Japan a handful of times, and was able to visit various breweries and tasting rooms, as well as attend my first ever Sake no Jin in Niigata. These are experiences I will never forget. I'm looking forward to sharing my knowledge and expertise here at True Sake, and meeting fellow sake nerds, lovers, connoisseurs, and enthusiasts.
Some quick picks from me, new picks with asterisks (updated 1/12/2022):
Harushika Junmai Daiginjo "Spring Deer" - I went to Nara in 2019 for the first time, and it was absolutely beautiful. But, I didn't think so at first though. At first glance it's rather touristy. But, my wife and I ended up doing an awesome bike tour with Hiro-san through the backroads and alleyways along the Saho River that really made me a fan of the "Ancient City" (which I hope is a real nickname for Nara, if not I blame Wikipedia). The last leg of the bike tour ended at Harushika Brewery. Harushika's Junmai Daiginjo is so smooth, so fruity, so juicy. A great Junmai Daiginjo under $100 USD.
Shinkame Aged Junmai "Holy Turtle" - Quite possibly my favorite Junmai sake. Aged for 2 years, this sake is full-bodied, round, and smooth. It's got a nice dryness to it that is quite different from your usual Niigata or Kochi dryness. Shinkame Shuzo were one of the pioneers in continuing to make Junmai sake post World War II, even though Japan was going through a rice shortage. Nice, high-end Junmai sakes are not common, so it's nice to have Shinkame around when you're feeling opulent. Try this warm!
*Shintaro Junmai "Imperial Loyalist" - An old favorite of mine from my working days in Oakland, making it's debut at True Sake. An official review from Beau-san is not penned yet, and is coming soon, but I'll give you the quick and dirty TL;DR version. Dry, crisp, clean, complex. Changes in the glass as the sake temp changes throughout the night. Super easy drinking. Great daily drinker. Great at your favorite yakitori spot, or your favorite tempura spot. Great at all temperatures too. Just great. Great, great, great. The packaging is killer too, as the paper label on the outside is filled with so many quotes that honor Shintaro Nakaoka, a famous samurai from Kochi prefecture. Or you can say the quotes honor Shintaro Sakamoto, which also works too. "He spoke frankly."
*Fukukomachi Tokubetsu Junmai "Fair Lady Komachi" - A tried and true favorite that always makes its return to my staff picks. Graham cracker, marshmellow, caramel notes on a slick and smooth brew. My wife has said that this sake, "...drinks like water." And I think she might be right. We paired this with a fantastic meal at Soba Ichi in Oakland, California and it did not disappoint (pre omicron days, of course). A vastly underrated Tokubetsu Junmai, and I *think* True Sake it the only retailer to carry this at the moment. =)
*Takizawa Junmai "Red" - Full bodied and dry, a great combo for all those that appreciate good food (I refuse to use the word "foodie" haha). This pairs beautifully with al pastor or carne asada tacos. An incredible sake from Nagano and a fantastic price, which goes to show, that you can still pinch pennies and drink good sake. As of right now, True Sake is the only retailer selling this sake. =) Takizawa all day let's go!
Tenbu Junmai Ginjo - Nishi Shuzo is no stranger to Japanese alcoholic beverages. They are typically known for their amazing shochu, which makes sense since Kagoshima prefecture is Shochu Land. But it's crazy to me that their first sake is beyond next level and at such a great price point. A Junmai Ginjo milled to 50 percent. Yet another example of why you shouldn't chase Daiginjos, because you're gonna miss out on some gems in the Ginjo category. If you know, you know...
The tremendous nose on this superb Daiginjo is a vast array of watermelon, strawberry, banana, vanilla, and steamed koji (sweet) rice. This sake is...View full details
The nose on this Junmai that has been aged for two years is a vast collection of earthy, nutty, forest floor, steamed rice, and wet wool aromas. Ta...View full details
The nose on this unique sake that is new to True Sake is a gentle collection of caramel, Rice Krispies Treat, White Chocolate, and steamed rice aro...View full details
The nose on this sake is a cool collection of Asian pear, melon, banana bread, powdered sugar, cotton, citrus, and a hint of wood aromas. We love o...View full details
The nose on this sake made in a prefecture that is known for shochu is a very cool collection of melon, stone fruit, pineapple, tangerine, black li...View full details