Sake - Printable Version

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- andrawes76 - 06-29-2009 10:58 PM

Can someone help me here? I've been meaning to get into or atleast somewhat get into Sake. I love sushi but are there any other recommended dishes that pair with sake?

- Kcwhippet - 06-30-2009 09:26 PM

Well, first of all, there are many different types of sake. The most typical one to go with sushi would probably be Trurei Junmai Daiginjo. Another is Nigori, which is made with some residual rice particles in the finished sake. It goes well with spicy dishes and desserts. Plain old Junmai Daiginjo goes well with grilled meats and seafood.

I suggest you Google sake types and food pairings. You should find volumes of information available that there just isn't the space here to enumerate.

- TheEngineer - 07-01-2009 12:41 AM

Ahhh!!!.. This is not as easy as it sounds. In general, while I completely enjoy this combo, it is generally not the best combo (rice meal with rice drink remember). Having said that, I completely love this. The first thing I want to draw your attention to is the ORIGIN of the sake. If it is from Japan, the sake will be drier and more elegant while if it is from California, forgetting that it might be created for a clientele that likes a more robust flavor, the wines are generally slightly sweeter, denser and more into tropical flavors. I love both so it depends on my moods. For anyone who has eaten sushi made from Japanese rice and from Californian versions of that rice, you will know immmediately what I am talking about. Perhaps this is Sake Terroir?

Sake is a complex drink too. There is a bit to learn in this area, kinda like German rieslings [Image: smile.gif]

For me, if I am eating sashimi, I prefer a cleaner filtered daiginj¨­ to keep the palate fresh and ready for the nuances of the next piece of fish. If I am eating sushi, I prefer something a bit heavier and if I am eating plain rolls, I'll even hit the ones with a fruity cloudy element (Muroka type). Have fun tasting your way through this!

From Wikipedia,

The three types of special designation sake
Honj¨­z¨­-shu (±¾á|Ôì¾Æ), in which a slight amount of brewer's alcohol is added to the sake before pressing, in order to extract extra flavors and aromas from the mash. This term was created in the late 1960s to distinguish it, a premium sake, from cheaply made liquors to which large amounts of distilled alcohol were added simply to increase volume. Sake with this designation must be made with no more than 116 liters of pure alcohol added for every 1,000 kilograms of rice.

Junmai-shu (¼ƒÃ×¾Æ), "pure rice sake," made from only rice, water and k¨­ji, with no brewer's alcohol or other additives. Before 2004, the Japanese government mandated that junmai-shu must be made from rice polished down to 70% or less of its original weight, but that restriction has been removed.

Ginj¨­-shu (Ò÷á|¾Æ), made from rice polished to 60% or less of its original weight. Sake made from rice polished to 50% or lower is called daiginj¨­-shu (´óÒ÷á|¾Æ).
The term junmai can be added to ginj¨­ or daiginj¨­, resulting in junmai ginj¨­ and junmai daiginj¨­. However, as distilled alcohol is added in small amounts to ginj¨­ and daiginj¨­ to heighten the aroma, not to increase volume, a junmai daiginj¨­ is not necessarily a better product than a daiginj¨­ made with brewer's alcohol.

In addition to "ordinary" sake and the special designations, there are many more types of sake.

Different handling after fermentation

Nigori, or unfiltered sake.Namazake (Éú¾Æ) is sake that has not been pasteurized. It requires refrigerated storage and has a shorter shelf-life than pasteurized sake.

Genshu (Ô­¾Æ) is undiluted sake. Most sake is diluted with water after brewing, to lower the alcohol content from 18-20% down to 14-16%, but genshu is not.

Muroka (ŸožVß^) means unfiltered. Note that this refers to sake that hasn¡¯t been carbon filtered, but which has been pressed and separated from the lees, and thus is clear, not cloudy. Carbon filtration can remove desirable flavors and odors as well as bad ones, thus muroka sake has stronger flavors than filtered varieties.

Nigorizake (á¤ê¾Æ) is cloudy sake. The sake is passed through a loose mesh to separate it from the mash. It isn't filtered thereafter and there is much rice sediment in the bottle. Before serving, the bottle is shaken to mix the sediment and turn the sake white or cloudy.

Seishu (Çå¾Æ), "clear/clean sake," is the Japanese legal definition of sake and refers to sake in which the solids have been strained out, leaving clear liquid. Thus nigorizake and doburoku (see below) are not seishu and therefore aren't actually sake under Japanese law. However, nigorizake can get seishu status by being strained clear and having lees put back in afterward.

Koshu (¹Å¾Æ) is "aged sake." Most sake does not age well, but this specially made type can age for decades, turning yellow and acquiring a honeyed flavor.

Taruzake (é×¾Æ) is sake aged in wooden barrels or bottled in wooden casks. The wood used is Cryptomeria (ɼ, sugi), which is also inaccurately known as Japanese cedar. Sake casks are often broken open ceremonially for the opening of buildings, businesses, parties, etc. Because the wood imparts a strong flavor, premium sake is rarely used for this type.

Shiboritate (“’Á¢¤Æ), "freshly pressed," refers to sake that has been shipped without the traditional six-month aging/maturation period. The result is usually a more acidic, "greener" sake.

Fukurozuri (´üµõ¤ê) is a method of separating sake from the lees without external pressure, by hanging the mash in bags and allowing the liquid to drip out under its own weight. Sake produced this way is sometimes called shizukazake (ë~¾Æ), meaning "drip sake."

Tobingakoi (¶·Æ¿‡ì¤¤) is when sake is pressed into 18-liter bottles ("tobin") and the brewer selects the best sake of the batch for shipping

- andrawes76 - 07-01-2009 02:34 PM

Thanks for the time/energy! A wealth of information. We opened pandora's box here. Now its time to explore.

- Thomas - 07-01-2009 05:31 PM

Now you know why I drink Kirin with my sushi or sashimi...

- andrawes76 - 07-01-2009 09:49 PM

I always had green tea or ichiban. Excellent notes though give me a starting point.

- VouvrayHead - 07-01-2009 10:06 PM

Anyone tried Koshu? Sounds kinda interesting...

- winoweenie - 07-02-2009 09:42 AM

What the blue-blazes is wrong with drinking a nice cab with them raw fishies? WW

- andrawes76 - 07-02-2009 06:25 PM

WW - drinking a cab with sushi sounds entertaining. what about a nice zinfandel with some tuna rolls. sounds fantastic to me.

- Kcwhippet - 07-03-2009 08:32 AM

VH, Tried Koshu, but I'm not sure how well it would go with sushi. We tasted through a bunch of plum wines awhile ago - Choya, Ume Blanc, Koshu, Kinsen, Takara, Kikkoman and Fuki. The last two are the cheapest and really don't taste all that good, especially after tasting the rest. Typically, they all have some tartness and are sweeter than I would want with sushi. I did like Koshu a lot, probably because its sake base (rather than white wine) gave it a more refreshing finish.

- VouvrayHead - 07-03-2009 09:24 AM

So is Koshu a plum wine? That sounds interesting.. I've only had cheap and horrible plum wine before...

- Kcwhippet - 07-03-2009 10:25 AM

Most of the rest are white wine based plum drinks. Koshu starts with a sake base, then adds the plum. I guess you could probably call it a plum sake.