Sparkling & Nigori

Sparkling - 

The sparkling sake, Awa, category is one of the fastest growing segments in the sake industry. Sparkling Sake is not novelty or gimmicky sake. It is the real deal and many brewers are taking sparkling sake to new altitudes of clarity and elegance. If you are a Sparkling Wine or Champagne drinker, this category will speak to you. There are several different methods of production, and now there is even a “Japan Awasake Association'' that acts like a control agency for purity. Some brewers use carbonation, but most use a “secondary” or “lag” fermentation technique that sees the brew still active in the bottle thus creating good bubbles. There are definitely different styles from sweet with fat bubbles, to dry and very crisp with tight bubbles like a Brut. Also, Sparkling Sake usually has a lower alcohol content than typical sake with ranges from 5%-12%. And best of all Sparkling Sake works well in Champagne flutes to capture the bubble play, and pairs well with Champagne fare.

Nigori - 

This popular category of sake represents the famous “cloudy”,  “milky”, or “foggy” sake that has rice particles left in the brew and are not totally filtered out. Many Americans refer to “Nigori” sake as “Unfiltered” sake, but this is a misnomer as all sake is filtered to a degree. This is when we are speaking about filtering out all of those unfermented rice particles, but many brewers will coarsely filter their sake and then add back the unfermented rice particles. Nigori sake comes in all styles and thicknesses. From very creamy and thick to very light and almost misty, called “Usu-Nigori.” Coarsely filtered sake should always be served chilled and it’s always important to undulate or gently shake the bottle before serving. As for food pairings, Nigori sake goes well with spicy cuisines, fruit plates, cheese plates, and of course deserts.

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