Friday, January 3, 2014

Sake News

Kanpai! Here is a short list of some of the interesting Sake articles that have been published lately. It is great to see more and more coverage for Sake, though I recommend that anyone seeking to publish a Sake article check it at least a few times for accuracy. A few basic errors continue showing up in introductory Sake articles, and those errors would be easy to eliminate if you had a knowledgeable Sake person check your facts. Let us also hope that we see more than just introductory Sake articles in the future. Sake has many depths and all those varied facets make great material for articles.

1) Over at Saveur, check out Sake's Second Act, by Georgia Freedman, which discusses a couple of Japanese Sake breweries, including Chikurin Marumoto, Saiya and Huchu Homare. The article also includes reviews of 8 Sakes from these breweries. A caveat though is that the article makes the common mistake that Junmai Sake needs to be polished down to at least 70%. As I have mentioned time and time again, Junmai does not have a minimum polishing requirement. It simply must be produced from only 4 ingredients: rice, water, yeast and koji-kin.

2) Over at Japan Times, you can read Umami: An Ideal Sake Pairing by Melinda Joe, which discusses a Sake & Umami seminar presented at the recent Culinary Institute of America’s annual Worlds of Flavor conference. The session was intended to show that the umami taste of Sake can pair well with other umami-rich foods. It also seemed to show Sake's versatility with food pairings. I am psyched to see this idea getting more publicity. I have written about the Sake & Umami connection since 2008, and you can read my latest article about it here. More restaurants and chefs should pay attention to Sake and umami.

3) The Post & Courier has an interesting article, The Southeast Takes On Sake written by Hanna Raskin, which provides some background on Blue Kudzu Sake Company, a new brewery located in North Carolina. The brewery should be releasing its first products this year. However, Sake in North Carolina? It may seem unusual but with the growth of small, artisan distilleries and breweries across the country, it shouldn't be surprising. There are roughly ten Sake breweries in the U.S., with a few new ones in the planning stages. I can't wait to try the Blue Kudzu Sakes, and I wish them the best of luck in 2014.

4) Wine and bourbon have both been aged underwater and now Sake gets its chance. In The Asahi Shinbun, the article Dream Sake To Be Aged Under The Sea, by Yoshikazu Sato, describes how 3200 bottles of Sake, from 15 breweries, were submerged about 15 meters beneath the sea in November 2013. The Sake will stay there until May 2014. No one knows how the Sake will change after those months in the ocean but it is a fascinating experiment. Once the results of the test are issued, I'll provide an update.

5) If you are traveling to Japan on Nippon Airways, then you might be excited to learn that Nippon Airways is going to showcase Sake, Shochu and Awamori. Until February 2018, the airports will showcase a different prefecture every three months, offering samples as well as information. This is a great way to promote Sake though I wish they could extend these plans to airports outside of Japan as well, which would help to promote Sake across the world.

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