Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sake Tasting: Nothing Harsh Here

It pleases me to see someone taste a chilled, premium sake and watch their reaction when they realize it does not taste harsh, that it does not conform to their erroneous preconceptions.

Last Thursday, I presided over a sake tasting for a special networking event held by New England Home Magazine at the Quidley & Company Fine Art Gallery on Newbury Street in Boston.  Close to 100 people in the design field attended the event, mingling and conversing amidst compelling artwork.  Numerous guests also took the opportunity to try some sake, many who had little experience with this intriguing brew.

I chose six different sakes to pour, including:

Shirakabegura “White Label” Tokubetsu Junmai
Kurosawa Kimoto Junmai
Wataribune "Ferry Boat" Junmai Ginjo 55 
Gekkeikan Horin Ultra Premium Junmai Daiginjo
Momokawa Organic Nigori
Hou Hou Shou Sparkling Sake

I wanted to expose people to a variety of styles and types of premium sake, from low alcohol and slightly sweet sparkling sake to a more full-bodied, dry Junmai.  With all of the diversity of sake, there is sure to be something that will appeal to nearly everyone.  And nearly everyone who tried the sakes found at least one which appealed to them. 

The most common reaction was surprise, when they realized the sake was smooth, and not harsh.  They had assumed the sake would be harsh, some saying they thought it might taste like diesel fuel.  They were probably used to hot sake, which certainly can seem like that.  But these premium sakes are much different, more appealing and more similar to a good wine. 

I know I made at least a few sake converts that night, and some people even contacted me the next day seeking more information.  It satisfies me immensely that my passion for sake spreads, and I hope to continue doing so next month, at least four different sake events.

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