Domaine LA

Came by here twice so far

Happy to report they DO have a small selection of what appears to be small producer Alsace and some Loire Valley (not at all versed in any of their wines other than a Muscadet I’ve had before).

They do not list sake on their website but they have a very eclectic selection! Also their bottling dates are within reason and some recent (2019). Kudos to them.

There are two bottles of Nama sake there, of particular interest to those seeking it: Harada Muroka Nama Genshu Junmai Ginjo, good stuff! Over $50 a bottle, I think within range of True Sake’s pricing. Bring ice packs with you if you decide to buy and transport. Also they got in Tamagawa Ice Breaker today, K&L Hollywood also has it now.

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Thanks, as always for your expert report.

I also hit these places out of curiosity to inspect their sake selection and quality:

K&L Hollywood
Marukai (Pico)
Wine House
Remedy Liquors (Glendale)
Lincoln’s Fine Wines (Venice)
Mel & Rose

Let’s just say it’s a tough call, and I think Domaine LA is quite acceptable for what they carry and their pricing. It’s an eclectic selection but it works. Pleasantly surprised!

In terms of wine, very happy with what I saw at Wine House, and of course K&L. Wine House has a few random interesting sake but it’s all over the place in terms of exacting profiles.

A lot of the stock at the other places seem either old (could be low turnover).

Conclusion: sake distribution is very weird down here. Although I did see a few at Marukai that I cannot get in Northern California. Though not super compelling enough in general for me to buy as souvenirs, unless it’s something I really want to try.

And super kudos also to Domaine LA for carrying some aged sake, like that Tamagawa Time Machine, but also the Shizengo Cuvee 18 (2009 bottling year?) which is even drinkable by itself in a small glass, as well as that Hanahato Kijoushu which is aged 8 years (Hiroshima prefecture) and drinks like a very acidic sherry or port…and is absolutely stunning if paired with an excellent dark chocolate bar (high % cocoa/dark).

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@beefnoguy what are a couple of bottles in the 40-100 dollar range of sake that you would recommend for general high quality home cooked dining?

From Domaine LA or whatever is available from the shops? What do you plan on eating with?

Love that bottle of Harada in your photo. Lots of stone fruit (black cherry, dark plums). Really wonderful sake for summer.

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Whatever is available in nearby shops.

Can you recommend for both fish and beef?

They changed their label I think in the last half year. I like the new look. Had this bottle twice with old and new label. Old label was a power house… new label or the batch at the time didn’t quite taste the same but could be storage and handling too.

I first had and brought this at a fancy Italian french in SF (now has a Michelin star). Quite powerful for a Yamaguchi prefecture muroka nama Genshu. The fact that this actually is being sold in LA makes me happy for you guys… and properly stored. I didn’t check the bottle date though, leave that to other buyers.

Ice breaker is now adjacent to the Harada as of yesterday. That one is too much like a sharp strong Ginjo :sweat_smile:.

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Pick any of them:

Taka Tokubetsu Junmai (K&L)
Kawatsuru Junmai (Domaine LA)
Nanbu Bijin Tokubetsu Junmai (Marukai Pico)
Bizen Maboroshi Junmai Ginjo (Marukai Pico)
Tedorigawa Kinka (Wine House) must bring ice bag and refrigerate immediately when you get home

If you get the Taka I suggest pairing it also with lobster, raw oysters, cherry stone clams. Basically white burgundy friendly stuff. Same for Nanbu Bijin Tokubetsu Junmai.

Kinka holds up to spicy food nicely too, like an Alsace Gewurtztraminer but higher alcohol content. So greasy Cantonese stir fry, typhoon shelter shellfish, Thai and anything of similar profile. I’d totally bring the Kinka to try pairing with Newport style lobster… fish sauce umami spice and this will be fun.

All around the $30 to $40 range.

Use a white wine glass with them. Chill and let it come down to lightly chilled, taste with food over time.

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I always dug the shop and was a club member for years but had to drop off. The personalities get a bit too much after a while and K&L is always love.

anything in particular you would recommend out of Wine House’s Sake selection?

Thank you for the picks!

Because you’re a wine drinker:

Tedorigawa Kinka Arabashiri Nama daiginjo (I didn’t check the bottling date of that one) but needs to be kept chilled all the way

Sempuku Shinriki 85 (high acidity, very full bodied, funky umami savory like a salty yogurt drink, good bitterness and astringency, some minerality and a tender softness within that hard strength somewhere). Handles heavy duty cuisines nicely. Totally fine at aburiya raku and with yakitori. It’s geek level sake

Stella Muroka Genshu Junmai daiginjo - quite fantastic and my wine mentor’s favorite. Easy to please and fantastic with food. Treat it like a richer Riesling with some viscosity. Amazing pairs well with duck. It’s very flavorful although finish a touch short, but far more robust of a profile than Niigata sake.

Meibo Junmai ginjo 500 mL. Not bad with oysters. A bit light bodied. Good portion for a solo drinker.

Only if you are super baller: tatsuriki Akitsu Junmai Daiginjo. $270 range. Premium Yamada Nishiki rice from one of the best fields in Hyogo prefecture, this akitsu field is fertilized with bonito carcass (roasted and grinded into powder) to impart more umami to the rice. The sake is then aged at -3 degrees C for upwards of 7 years. It’s a ridiculously masculine Junmai Daiginjo and has a very long finish, but i think a bit more exacting and limited food pairing. Don’t know why but as nice as it is it seems harder to justify. At that price though, why not buy say a Conti Constanti Brunello 2012 Riserva, or a Sassicaia 2010. But that’s my right shoulder’s wine devil advocate talking crap :rofl:.

For best QPR, the Kinka and the Stella in short. Sempuku if you are feeling adventurous and love them bold strong and a bit funky. Do white wine glasses for these.

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This is a brilliant post! I need to roll over to these shops soon and pick up some bottles for my friend.

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I dropped by Japantown earlier and was curious of the stocks at Nijiya and Marukai.

Nijiya Jtown is small. Nothing refrigerated. Only one sake interested me and it’s also available in NorCal Nijiya. The distributor is based out of San Diego but their portfolio and availability seems more widely available in NorCal

Folks I connect with on social media based in Japan seem to post this label’s sake (not this exact one). Shizuoka prefecture, and it seems niche enough. Maybe I’ll give this little guy a chance after I fly home.

Marukai JTown… do not recommend buying sake there. The internal temperature of the shop seemed to have difficulty keeping up with the 90F weather today. Stick with Pico location near Shunji if you must.

Damn, Shimeharitsuru Jun is $45 at Jtown Marukai… ?! I saw a Chiyomusubi Muroka Nama Genshu Junmai Ginjo on the shelf that should have been kept in cold storage :crying_cat_face:

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Natural wine shops typically have a large selection of Loire wines since that’s a major hotbed of natural winemaking. It has been catching on in Alsace as well.

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