Sake – An Introduction and Opportunity.
Without wishing to sound sentimental, my love affair with writing is fueled by excitement and intrigue. Since I started to write London Unattached I’ve had some fabulous opportunities. Some are invitations from writing but some are simply the result of doing things which in the past I might have put off and then missed. Those experiences are then enhanced for me by the writing process. When I enjoy an experience, in order to share it with you, my readers, I try to make sure I can pass on useful background information. The sort of things I perhaps wished I’d learnt earlier myself.
Sake tasting at Hyper Japan was just such an experience. The show was at Earls Court, right on my doorstep and I was tempted along by a fellow food and drink writer I know very little about Japan and Japanese culture so it seemed a great opportunity to find out a little more. And, the ‘Eat Japan Sake Experience,’ the chance to sample sake from eight different Japanese breweries, was too good to miss.
The notes we were given explain that to taste sake you should check colour, aroma, flavour and texture. Fresh sake in good condition should be relatively clear. Different styles will have different aromas – Honjozoshu/Junmaishu styles will be more traditional, masculine and rustic and are often served warm, while the fruitier, floral and aromatic Sakes – Ginjoshu, Daiginjosh and Namazake are often served at room temperature or chilled. And, regardless of style, most premium sakes are thought to be best served chilled at around 10-15%
We tasted sparkling sake and a limoncello style fruit sake (Umenoyado Yuzushu) which contrasted with the more traditional Junmai sakes from breweries like Kikusami in Sakata City and Unmaishu Urakasumi from the Urakasumi sake brewery, estabilished in 1724 and the designated brewer of sacred sake for the thousand year old Shlogama Shrine. We learnt that the differences in taste come from the type of rice (sakamai), the polishing, the yeasts used, the water used and the terroir as a whole together with the skill and techniques used throughout the production which are controlled by the toji or master brewer.
Now, this was just a brief introduction to Sake. If you are interested in finding out more there are various events in London where you can learn for yourself.
How about an Introduction to Sake at Harrods for example. Covering everything from the origins, culture and ingredients to the sake making process, this professional course offers a unique opportunity for enthusiasts and the intrigued to further their understanding of one of the world’s most complex and enigmatic drinks. An Introduction to Sake allows attendees to savour a varied selection of some of the best sakes available and gain an understanding of the four different styles.
The event will be hosted by the most influential sake specialists; founding members of the Sake Sommelier Association, Xavier Chapelou- one of the world’s leading non-Japanese sake experts, and Kumiko Ohta- who was named ‘Woman of the Year’ by Nikkei for her outstanding contribution to raising awareness about sake.
Date & Time: Tuesday 12th February 2013, 7.00pm-9.00pm
Venue: The Tasting room, The Wine Shop, Lower Ground Floor, Harrods, 87-135 Brompton Road
Knightsbridge London, SW1X 7X