I am continuing to work my way through all of the Sakés I have purchased from Sakaya in New York City. I still have a perfect streak, as none of the Saké I have bought there has yet disappointed me. And this time is no different.
The Hiroki Tokubetsu Junmai ($37.99-720ml) is from the Tohoku region of the Fukushima Prefecture. It is a very new kura, Saké brewery, only having been established in 1999. As "tokubetsu" means "special," it refers in this case to the fact that this unusual Saké was made from two different rices, Yamadanishiki & Gohyakumangoku, and each was polished to a different level, 50% and 55% respectively. Each rice was used at a different step in the brewing process. The Gohyadumangoku was used to make the koji portion of the shubo, mash, and the Yamadanishiki was used as the kakemai (the portion of the rice to which the yeast, water, and koji is added to form the shubo). This is one of the first Saké I have seen made from a blend of different rice.
This Saké has an alcohol content of 16-17% and a Saké Meter Value of +2, which means it tends to be balanced between sweet and dry. I shared this Saké with a group of friends while we enjoyed some Chinese food and it was a hit. I found it to have a rich nose with a touch of rice combined with some pear aromas. It was a very smooth drink, tending a bit more on the dry side, and with a delightful taste of melon and pear. It had a medium body and good acidity so it could stand up to a variety of foods. I did not eat anything spicy so the Saké seemed to go well with everything.
I have to put this on my list of Recommended Saké and I think it should please those new to Saké as well. None of my friends had any complaints about it, and some of them have little experience with Saké.