Deck the halls with bottles of sake!
BY ELISE GEE
Looking for a unique gift or a nice change from wine for your party contribution during the festive season? Here are some new sakes available in BC worth seeking out. Prices listed are LDB and may be higher at private liquor stores.
Hakuin Masamune Special Junmai
Shizuoka prefecture is known for making finely balanced, fruity, yet dry sake. This junmai from Takashima Shuzo is a great example of that flavour harmony. Made with local Homare Fuji rice and using spring water from nearby Mount Fuji, this sake is best served at room temperature with elements of banana, cherries with a clean finish. Pair with charcuterie or pizza.
Shichihonyari Wataribune Junmai Daiginjo
This is craft sake at its finest. Tomita Shuzo in Shiga, which borders Kyoto by way of famous Lake Biwa, is a very small brewery, producing only 5000 cases per year. Tomita-san, the young brew master is also the 16th generation owner. The brewery has been making sake since 1540—the fourth oldest continuous operating sake producer in Japan. The brand name, Shichihonyari, pays homage to seven spearsmen who fought nearby in the Battle of Shizugatake (1583), which means this producer was established longer than this historical samurai battle.
Made with Wataribune, an heirloom sake rice with a very distinctive flavour profile, this sake is an extremely rare and delightful treat. Fennel, licorice aromatics abound with a gentle sweetness and tight acidity. Drink slightly chilled and pair with medium to light cheeses like gouda or cheddar or havarti.
Tatsuriki Blue Dragon Daiginjo
Tatsuriki means “Dragon’s Might” and although the brand name may sound powerful and foreboding, this sake is memorable for its elegance. Created by Honda Shoten in Hyogo Prefecture, an area renowned for their high quality rice, the sake has an incredible tropical nose, with the pervasive scent of ripe pineapples. Smooth, light as air and mildly sweet, this is an easy drinker. Using AA Yamada Nishiki—the top tier of the reigning king of sake rice—Blue Dragon is truly an expression of the brewer’s art and might. Drink chilled on its own, or pair with a light salad like caprese, or raw oysters.
Elise Gee is a certified sake educator. For info on sake classes and upcoming sake events, visit her website at VancouverSake.com.