Last night, a virtual tasting opened my eyes up to the whole new world, to me, of Saké. Tasting samples were sent to me and, with SakéOne's owner and brewer, along with a bunch of high-level wine bloggers, we tasted and talked. I definitely wasn't the only newbie, so plenty of questions were thrown and answered.
Saké is not beer. It is not wine, nor is it a distilled spirit. It is a brewed rice beverage made from rice, water, yeast and koji. Koji (aspergillus Oryzae)—are mold spores introduced to steamed rice in a traditional cedarwood-lined room. The mold digests the rice with enzymes that convert the starch into sugars. Pretty much the only time I'd had Saké in the past was when we visited Japanese restaurants, drinking from tiny square masu cups, certainly an exotic experience, though not always the most pleasant one. Saké can also be served warm, which is how most of us know it, but practices have changed.
For this tasting, the Saké was served cold, in white wine glasses (or other larger vessels), to release the aromatics and tastes within. The four we tasted were the Murai Family Tokubetsu Honjozo, SakeMoto, Yoshinogawa Winter Warrior, all imports, and the G fifty, SakéOne's craft Saké brewed in Oregon.
I'm definitely a novice when it comes to Saké and won't try to break each Saké down into its components, but to say I was totally surprised is an understatement. These were all fresh, with lovely floral aromatics, round mouthfeel, tropical and citrus flavors, and smooth finishes. I tried it with a few different food items that I had around, and they seemed to complement each one, which is saying a lot.
One of the benefits of Saké is that they will remain fresh for several weeks after opening, so there is no rush to finish a bottle.
I for one, feel a bit overwhelmed right now, knowing that I want to try more Saké, but not sure where to start. The craft Saké that SakéOne shared was amazing, as were the three imports, so head over to the SakéOne website to learn more, you can't go wrong with that as a starting point.
SakéOne is an importer of Japan’s finest saké as well as America's premium saké company. SakéOne’s Greg Lorenz is the only American sakémaster in the world. He has learned his craft in a hands on manner at the Oregon brewery with guidance from some of Japan’s leading brewers.
Disclaimer: These sakés were provided to me free of charge, for tasting purposes - all opinions are my own.
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