Every time we do a virtual tasting, I'm reminded of just how much I have to learn, especially about things like saké. Happily, Steve Vuylsteke, CEO of SakéOne, and Greg Lorenz, SakéOne's Brewmaster, are more than able as educators, demystifying the drink and enhancing the experience with their breadth of knowledge. Some of their product is brewed in Oregon, with others imported from Japan. In honor of the traditional Japanese holiday "White Day," we tasted 3 of SakéOne's signature sakés: Momokawa Diamond and Momokawa Pearl, both Domestic, along with SakéMoto, an Import. The saké provided for the tasting was in 300mL bottles, perfect for sampling without having to commit to a certain style.
Much like craft beer, saké is brewed with four ingredients: rice, Koji mold spores, yeast, and water.
SakéMoto Junmai Saké - light-bodied, low acid and a full mouthfeel make this a good introductory saké. A real surprise was a suggested pairing with parmesan cheese - amazing combination!
Next up was the Momokawa Diamond Junmai Ginjo - probably our least favorite, contrary to what most others were saying. Perhaps a need for more exposure to drinking this style. As with the last style of saké, tasted with dark chocolate, this one with sea salt caramel filling - simply amazing.
The last was the most unusual and maybe the most interesting. Momokawa Pearl Ginjo Nigori Genshu Saké - a milky saké, this is less filtered, with rice particles imparting a creamy look and texture. To drink, one must first turn the bottle over several times to mix, before pouring. Paired with a straight dark chocolate, like milk and cookies for adults.
Ultimately, we learned so much and are excited that a U.S. producer is working hard to bring quality saké to the States. Next up is a possible exploration of terroir - sakés brewed from single rice paddies. Fascinating stuff. Saké is an interesting beverage, with some misconceptions out there, but plenty of upside to trying it out. As Martin Redmond so simply summarized: "Essence of saké: brewed like beer, tastes like wine."
Disclaimer: These sakés were provided as media samples.
Like 50 States Of Wine on Facebook
Follow 50 States Of Wine on Twitter
Subscribe to the 50 States Of Wine YouTube channel