Sunday, April 27, 2008

Saké Sunday: UNLVino & Dreyfus Ashby & Co.

Another Sake table was run by Dreyfus, Ashby & Co., an international importer and marketer. Around 1985, the Maison Joseph Drouhin firm took financial control of Dreyfus, Ashby. Joseph Drouhin is a Burgundy wine grower and négociant in France. They concentrate on high quality wines and liquors and their portfolio includes many different countries, from France to Switzerland, from Spain to India.

They import Saké from one Japanese brewery, Hakutsuru, which was established in 1743 and is one of the oldest Saké producers in Japan. The word "Hakutsuru” means white crane, a graceful bird. The brewery is located in Kobe, in the heart of the Nada region.

I tried two of their Sakés, and both are made with the renowned Yamadanishiki rice and Nada’s famed natural spring water “Miyamizu.”

The Hakutsuru Superior Junmai Ginjo ($9 for a 300ml bottle) was light with excellent fruit flavors. It was a smooth and crisp Saké, so easy to drink. Some complexity plus it was well balanced. This is exactly the type of Saké I love. It is something I could sit and drink all night long. It would also go well with food, especially Sashimi. An excellent choice for someone new to Saké. This was one of my favorites of the tasting.

I also tried the Hakutsuru Sho Une "Soaring Clouds" Junami Daiginjo ($24 for 720 ml). This is their highest quality Saké and I too enjoyed it very much. It has more floral notes on the nose and palate. It is also more complex and has a longer finish than just the Ginjo. It is very smooth and well balanced. You lose some of the fruitier elements and get a bit more of rice and a nutty taste. At the price, this is an excellent value for a Daiginjo. As it has more floral tastes, I think this is better with food. It is not something I would just drink all night, without food, like I would the Ginjo. This Daiginjo is certainly comparable to others that sell for $100 or more.

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