Sake Talk Anyone?


Riedel invested a lot of money and research and have decided that the Junmai glass requires a special vessel, in essence to draw out the flavors of umami. Beau Timken of True Sake was in Yamagata prefecture during the International Wine Challenge and met with the head of Riedel to discuss the glass (initially he dissed it first until he tried it for himself to understand what was being done). Unless you have the extra sensory to pick up the subtle bits, it may or may not be worth it. However I am curious, so if I find one in Japan and if I can bring it over with breaking it…I’ll see how it goes. Some say the choice of vessel is not quite as important after you get to a certain stage, but that really depends on your preference at the end and what you can pick up and interpret from tasting through it. Some might even argue drinking sake from wine glass is a placebo effect.

Not qualified to properly explain pasteurization from a professional or brewing standpoint, but I can tell you that all regular sake is twice pasteurized; once after pressing and before storage, and a second time before bottling. You will find some single pasteurized sake as well on the market (e.g. Born: Gold Junmai Daiginjo). Non pasteurized sake are original “nama” sake (some people refer to it as nama nama), and single pasteurized sake could either be nama zume, or nama chozo. Nama zume only goes through the first pasteurization, and nama chozo skips the first pasteurization and goes straight to the 2nd. Nama chozo sake could be matured in bottle for unspecified or targeted periods of time before release to give it more character. Most nama zume (at least the ones we can get here or through True Sake) are also Hiyaroshi sake, or seasonal fall/autumn “draft” release (and thus are limited). These are worth trying (actually any seasonal release) just once so you get a better understanding of the different profiles from one brewery or more throughout the year.

My guess is pasteurization via higher temperatures (~60 degrees C or so) neutralizes the enymes and yeast, to prevent further fermentation and/or ensure they don’t interfere with the flavor, profile, and characteristics of the brew as desired by the master brewer and end result.


Oh cool. I emailed him today. I don’t know what his work hours are, but hopefully he’ll get back to me next week.

BTW… The next sake tasting at K&L will be specialty sakes, like sparkling and such. Really looking forward to that.


Do you notice a difference in the flavor profiles? Do you have a preference?

This is complicated stuff. I’m slowly(!) starting to understand more, but it makes me realize how little I know. :smile:

BTW… I read your post about some thinking the use of a wine glass for sake is pretentious or some such thing. Well, Kerry-san served all of the sakes in a wine glass and I don’t find him pretentious at all. Plus they were great for swirling and smelling the aromas.


BTW… I think Sur la Table sells Riedel products. Next time we’re there we’ll check.


The Riedel Junmai glass is so far Japan only to my knowledge. I have not seen the Daiginjo glass in a wine shop so far (for various obvious reasons).

In US/Europe it is not uncommon these days for sake to be served in various wine glasses at fancy and/or upscale restaurants, Japanese or not. Izakaya and more casual places tend not to do that. The call for pretentiousness comes from those who have more historical perspective on keeping sake more Japanese than sacrificing other elements for the sake of globalization. There should not be a need according to those types of people, to co-mingle wine related things with sake, as there are glass vessels (e.g. kiriko) and stemless glassware designed specifically for sake with a wider opening which also allows for sufficient surface area for sake to breathe and release aromas, those of which which are more commonly available in Japan and some US restaurants (omakase places) could get them…thus these types of folks see putting sake in wine glasses a farce (but then again some of these are the same types that extol the virtues of expensive unicorn brand name Junmai Daiginjo because well, they have to market themselves as experts because their target audience succumb to brand name and bandwagon jumping and couldn’t give a smell about Junmai or Junmai Ginjo).

Bottom line, the master brewer of sake just wants you to enjoy it. In the end as long as you do and appreciate it, they will be happy, and they are probably the last to know all the other little unimportant tidbits of what you had to do to get the bottle, how you enjoyed it, how your mood was, the company you were with etc. It’s sometimes some of these evangelists that have their heads up their you know where :slight_smile: causing a ruckus.


I personally love unpasteurized sake, the more raw and original the better. Though probably not something I would want to have all the time. The most original would be those that are not just unpasteurized, but also undiluted, and unfiltered (putting all three together: Muroka (unfiltered) Nama (unpastuerized) Genshu (undiluted). Probably would be a lot more fun to pair LA’s ethnic food with this type of flavor and profile.

Single pasteurized sake…I find some of the ones available in the US too thin for my liking vs the ones in Japan which are more robust (typically the ones that are not exported). Many factors can affect this.

Keep on drinking more, experiment, and asking questions, you’ll pick it up :slight_smile:


Got it

One thing @beefnoguy - I think you’re in NoCal? These are mostly L.A. recs. Should I ask him about local spots? He responded fast and was eager to help.


Hi @beefnoguy -

Turns out Kerry san lives in L.A., but he got these recs from his colleagues:



Akikos Restaurant on Bush Street

Namu Gaji



Not necessarily my favorite places for sushi (not a fan of Akiko’s; Kusakabe is better), however, they do have a sake list with some very prestigious and hard-to-get bottles, namely some special Kokuryu such as Nizaemon that I can’t find retail, anywhere.

In other news, I believe Asahi Shuzo brewery was flooded in early July :cry: but they seem to be doing alright as of about 3 weeks ago…