That’s probably my most favorite Dewazakura of the lower lineup, the Omachi “Jewel Brocade”. It’s more bolder and bit more earthier as a result of using the heirloom rice “Omachi” of which there are not quite as many sake exported using this rice. You can take that to pretty much any place and have a blast with it. It will be brilliant with the best izakaya in Southern California, of course but will be just as fun with good Italian fare. And you can just as easily enjoy this with tempura, American and Korean BBQ, and I bet even at a nice place like Hayato.
Here’s another very affordable Junmai Ginjo that hopefully you can find at Marukai and maybe Mitsuwa (I vaguely remember Costa Mesa location carried it and it came in a box), and last I remember it was under $30 retail, excellent bottle and great QPR
This is also brewed with Omachi rice from Okayama prefecture which is well known for it, and the sake brewery is also in the same prefecture. Give it a try! If you want to throw a sake party, do a side by side tasting with the Jewel Brocade and have fun with it.
Once you start appreciating non famous brand name low key stuff like this Muromachi, you’ll be totally ready for regionally produced jizake in Japan which isn’t quite as well loved these days even over there…
Refreshing / lighter sake to drink on their own… that’s more for the higher end Junmai Daiginjo and perhaps some of the fruitier /less dry Junmai Ginjo, and most single pasteurized sake and of course most nama sake too. I would also recommend fall release nama (the latest release appears to be a fall release of Shichida Junmai Ginjo that would work) or whatever summer nama sake are available (these are too light for me but you may enjoy them), there are many to choose from via truesake.com under seasonal nama, although it is unclear to me how they handle shipping of unpasteurized sake.
Are you going to SF Sake Day, @beefnoguy?
If so, can you report on it?
Please check out the EHH Enterprises booth. They have some great products that are (relatively) new to the U.S.
From them, I especially love Takeda Shuzo [brands: Katafune, Koshi no Sesshu] (line expanded this year), Nechi Otokoyama, and Takachiyo (very new to U.S.).
EHH’s site (lots of sake not shown): https://sipsake.com/?age-verified=0678a9434b
I’m very familiar with EHH, met them last year Sake Day, also exchanged a few emails with Yuka Egan of EHH, and I’ve tasted all their Takachiyo which is fantastic but super limited production stuff. They only sell Takachiyo to true sake though. I did enjoy Kafafune then but find the finish on the amaguchi side (no longer my thing) and for some reason the bottles from the show tasted different from retail… Minakata is also part of their portfolio and my top favorite of theirs are the competition Daiginjo (Chotokusen or Tokusen) and the Cho Karakuchi Junmai (brilliant and so well balanced). Nechi Otokoyama used to be Niigata Sake but they are now distributed by EHH. Nechi Otokoyama is one of my top favorites as well but the export retail pricing is super high for the regular Black Junmai Daiginjo. Not easy to find Nechi Otokoyama in Tokyo (Takashimaya has it) including the super rare 2014 Nechi below which went up in price by 10,000 since last year
This was taken a few days ago from the Shinjuku Takashimaya basement
I was delighted to find this thread about a month ago. I know a good amount about wine and general fermentative processes, but just recently becoming obsessed with sake and hoping to learn more. I’ve been gravitating towards kimoto & yamahai for the bolder flavor. Just had this really nice kimoto junmai from Izumibashi. At slightly warmer than room temp, it went well with strong & stinky cheeses, particularly raclette. Had an awesome balance of savoriness and hints of lychee. There’s a great store near me devoted to sake (sakayanyc.com) that I’ve been buying from. They have a monthly sake club (and will ship out to Cali) which I’ve been enjoying.
You’re quite lucky @jperelmuter to also get access to variety of sake that is only available in and distributed only to the East Coast. Please join in and post more about your NY encounters with sake so we are all aware of which coast has what , as from a glance I thought you got it from Tokyo, I saw Izumibashi there but not many places have it, though if this came through LA Mutual Trading maybe just maybe Northern California could get it via some other means. As someone who enjoys wine and structure, you’re hopping right into the intermediate/beginner advanced level already, as you can revel in full bodied sake especially the more traditional flavors and brewing processes, particularly the heightened acidity in kimoto and yamahai. If you get a chance, try the Kihuhime Junmai Yamahai, and the other Junmai I believe it’s called Kinken that is more amber/yellow ish from the aging…those are East Coast exclusives and more on the funky side so strong cheese flavors (e.g. Epoisse or blue) or grilled camembert with honey, and of course oily fatty salty items, would be fun. Or you can even do the Japanese thing and put fermented bonito guts (shuto) on top of Epoisse and give those bad boys a spin with.
That’s what I don’t get…you have LA MTC which is huge, and probably a significantly larger population and Japanese community in LA compared to SF. Granted True Sake is not opened by a Japanese person…but there is no sake centric shop in LA? So you can only buy random sake from wine shops, supermarkets and oddball shops… What gives?! Plus I worry a little about how some of the wine shops store their sake
Chokaisan Junmai Daiginjo (Akita prefecture), distributed by winebow group. A classic entry into Akita prefecture sake, brewed with flower yeast. Savor the aromas (use a white wine glass or burgundy glass). Beautiful sake…I’ve swayed Kubota Manju drinkers to this very easily. Can enjoy at any LA sushi restaurant. Super cost effective. You might find it at Whole Foods also. You can look this up True Sake’s website for tasting notes
Also Akita prefecture, low temperature aged a couple years and has distilled alcohol added for aroma. A bit of an expediture, but absolutely delicious and easy to drink (also “dangerously smooth and awesome”). Enjoy with raw oysters, even uni.
Plush, silky and beautiful. The 720 is expensive but is luxurious. Not too easy to pair food with but awesome by itself. Or by the 180 mL one cup. Worth trying at least once
You might be able to find this at Mitsuwa or Nijiya, not sure for Southern California. Beware of the 19% alcohol content, it’s damn delicious. Lots of umami, and it actually can be very good with the right kind of sushi and otsumami (stronger flavored), and of course izakya fare. I’ve come to re-appreciate Born but it’s a shame only the Junmai Daiginjo lineup is exported. Their low end which is Japan only, is quite awesome…
This is a new entry by a female master brewer from Ibaraki Prefecture. It’s a hand crafted sake made using the drip method, so it’s pretty darn smooth, and also unfiltered and undiluted, but it’s a Junmai Daiginjo. It’s bolder, medium bodied although for me the finish is a bit too quick, however for beginners and intermediates this is a great impactful sake. It’s for sure a bit better than Fukucho Suigetsu Moon On The Water. Also on the pricier side but quite delectable in its own right.
Hope these work for you, should you decide to venture out and order from SF
Thanks @Starchtrade san, that confirms some suspicions I had. No wonder some batches/bottles I’ve had from random sources were so inconsistent . It sucks when you spend $50 on a Junmai, it’s stellar one time, then another batch can taste so lackluster (and worse if you buy 2 or more bottles the next time and they are consistently inconsistent!!)
I guess the best sake is if you hand carry it direct from Japan. No F-ups in between. All you have to do is bubble wrap the crap out of the bottles for safe transit and hopefully you have a direct flight. No joke, my collection survived the transit, including single pasteurized bottles which I took extra lengths to make sure they arrived chilled (I think they were still 3 to 5 deg C at least when I opened my luggage at home). All 14 bottles , think I broke a record. Thank god for bubble wrap, tape, and pocket knife availability at Tokyu Hands, LOL.
Oh thanks! I know you’re just getting back in the country and I appreciate you taking the time with the recs.
Thanks for reminding me about Fukucho Suigetsu (limited version?) Moon On The Water. You know how much I like Moon On The Water. Maybe a side by side tasting (good idea btw) w/Stella Junmai Daiginjo Shizuku Muroka Genshu?
I’ve been busy and a little lazy about mail ordering Sake, but would like to start. Would you say the best bet is to steer clear from ordering unpasteurized Sake thru the mail?
I picked up the Izumibashi at an excellent wine shop in upstate New York (kingstonwine.com). It is distributed on the east coast by NY MTC, so maybe not available via LA MTC. I would be open to some east coast/west coast trades. Shipping in the fall/winter is less risky.
Sakaya can special order the Kihuhime Yamahai; I will also ask about the Kihuhime Kinken next time I go in, thanks for the rec.
Shuto + sake is great! I’ll have to try with some Epoisse. The jars of shuto available at local markets (Sunrise, Katagiri) don’t seem to match the quality I’ve had at some restaurants, so I’ll have to order some shuto to go next time (or start making my own).