Sunday, October 17, 2010

Saké Tasting & Classes

My passion for Saké continues to spread to others.

It has been a good month for Saké, with me leading two events, a tasting at Urban Grape and a class at the Boston Wine School. At both events, most of the attendees had limited knowledge of Saké but were eager to learn and taste. I believe the majority of them left the events with a much more positive view towards Saké. It was pleasing to see the joy in the attendees when they tasted a specific Saké that they really enjoyed, especially when the taste was so unexpected to them. More people would enjoy Saké if they just had the proper introduction.

In honor of Saké Day, which is October 1, I presided over a tasting of 14 Sakés at the Urban Grape in Chestnut Hill. A nonstop flow of people came to the tasting, a number of them also purchasing some of the Saké. As I poured, I tried to give everyone a brief introduction to this fine drink, including intriguing facts and trivia such as Bijinshu, a Saké made by virgins who chewed the rice. Urban Grape now carries over 35 different Sakés, which is one of the largest selections available locally and definitely an excellent location for Saké lovers.

Some of the Saké we tasted included:
Funaguchi Kikusui Honjozo Nama Genshu (A Saké in a can, and which proved very popular with the attendees.)
Tozai "Living Jewel" Junmai
Ama no To "Heaven's Door" Tokubetsu Junmai
(Another popular choice.)
Mantensei "Star-Filled Sky" Junmai Ginjo
Nanbu Bijin "Southern Beauty" Junmai Ginjo
Fukucho "Moon on the Water" Junmai Ginjo
Sato No Homare "Pride of the Village" Junmai Ginjo
(Another very popular choice.)
Takasago Ginga Shizuku "Divine Droplets" Junmai Daiginjo
Dassai "23" Junmai Daiginjo
(A superb Saké, that most really loved.)
Rihaku "Dreamy Clouds" Tokubetsu Junmai Nigori
Dassai "50" Junmai Daiginjo Nigori
(A popular choice too.)

At Jonathon Alsop's Boston Wine School, I recently conducted a Saké class and tasting. This was a more structured event, with a detailed lesson about Saké, including its history, brewing process, various styles, food pairings, and more. The attendees seemed very interested, asked plenty of questions and generally enjoyed the Sakés we tasted. It was a fun and informative evening, and Jonathon provided some good food too, from sushi to cheeses.

The list of those we tasted included:
Suihoro "Poochi Poochi" Sparkling Saké
Tatsuuma-Honke Hakushika Yamadanishiki Junmai
Tozai "Living Jewel" Junmai
Kikusui Junmai Ginjo
(A very popular choice.)
Gekkeikan "Horin" Junmai Daiginjo (Also very popular.)
Momokawa "Organic Nigori" Junmai Ginjo (Another popular choice.)

In the future, I will be conducting more Saké classes and tasting. For example, next month I will be holding a class at the Beacon Hill Wine & Gourmet in Melrose (details to follow). Probably around January 2011, I will also do another class at the Boston Wine School. And I am working at trying to schedule other classes and tastings.

If interested, I am also currently available for hire to teach Saké classes or lead tastings. Wine stores, restaurants, distributors, or schools, can contact me to discuss potential events. I am also available for consumers if you would like a private class or tasting at your home. For more information, just email me at

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