As summer is now over, and cooler weather is starting to come, wouldn't you like to reclaim a touch of summer? First, cue up Point Break and all of its surfing action, and then pour yourself a glass of Tensei "Endless Summer" Tokubetsu Honjozo Sake.
The Tensei Sake brewery, founded in 1872, is located in the Kanagawa Prefecture, and draws inspiration from its gorgeous coast and the surfer culture of the Shonan region. Shonan is sometimes said to be the home of Japanese surfing, and is packed with surf shops, surf clubs, and similar businesses. The term "tensei" translates as "heavenly blue sky." The grounds of the brewery also has a beer brewery, Japanese restaurant, Italian restaurant/pizzeria, bakery, and an art gallery,
The Tensei "Endless Summer" Tokubetsu Honjozo Sake ($35/720ml) was produced from Gohyakumangoku rice, polished to 60%. Legally, a Honjozo must be polished down to at least 70%, and the greater polishing here would take it to Ginjo level, which is likely why it is labeled as Tokubetsu, which means there's something special about the production. Honjozo also means that some distilled alcohol has been added to the Sake to bring out certain aromas and flavors. It is then diluted down to the usual alcohol level so it only has a 15% ABV. Information on its Sake Meter Value (SMV) and acidity isn't readily available.
This past Friday, I was relaxing outside at a friend's home, while we grilled shrimp, steak tips, and sausage. It was a warm and sunny day, and I opened a bottle of the "Endless Summer." It was rich and full-bodied, said to be from the high mineral content in the water used in brewing, and possessed delicious flavors of melon and pear, with an underlying salinity to it. It was essentially a briny melon, mouth-watering and compelling, and a perfect summer beverage. And its rich, bull-bodied nature also make it a nice pairing for the grilled foods.
I loved this Sake on its own, but it would also pair well with a variety of foods. I especially want to pair this with local oysters. During the autumn and winter, it would still be a good choice, especially because of its richness, and that briny melon aspect would recall the summer. Locally, this Sake can be found at Malden Center Fine Wines.