Sep 30, 2009

Outdoor Sake

Located on the border between Yamanashi and Nagano prefectures and listed as a member of the 100 great mountains of Japan, Kimpu Mountain stands 2599 meters high above the sea level. My friends and I climbed this mountain last Sunday. It was an amazing mountain.

Unfortunately, after we started climbing, it became misty as we got close to the summit. We could not see Mt. Fuji, Southern Japan Alps, Yatsugatake, and other mountains, which were supposed to be in our view. Nevertheless, walking on the trail in the coniferous woods studded with deciduous trees such as birches was merry and comfortable. This was nice woods bathing. Due to the high elevation, the deciduous leaves had already begun to turn yellowish or reddish, contrasting well with the dark green of the conifers. In addition, the ground in the woods covered with moss was beautiful.

The summit is above the timberline and we saw many stunted pine trees in its vicinity. I guess we can see many types of alpine flowers in summer.

Today's Drunkard
I also drink sake even on a mountaintop!

Sep 29, 2009

Does Material of Drinking Vessel Affect Taste?

I often hear that they discuss influence on the taste of sake by the shape of sake drinking vessels. So, I tasted the same sake with a wine glass and ordinary sake cup for comparison. I experienced difference in taste between the two different receptacles actually (see "Using a Wine Glass for Sake").

Then, what about the difference of material? Does the material of a drinking vessel affect the taste of sake? Let's see whether it does or not in an actual experiment.

This time, I used two cups that were somehow similar in shape but different in material. One was an earthenware cup, and the other, a porcelain cup. The earthenware cup was glazed only partly and looked porous in most parts, so I guessed it absorbs sake in itself. Minerals or some components contained in the material may affect the taste. The porcelain cup is a small sake tasting cup with indigo color circles in it.

Frankly, I couldn't discern the difference in taste or aroma.

This time, I drank the sake soon after I poured it into the cups. Maybe, waiting for drinking for a while may cause change in taste or aroma. Also, if I had drunk it at a room temperature, I might have been able to discern subtle difference in flavor. So, next time, I will pour some sake into these two cups and leave them for half a day at a room temperature.

Today's Sake
Junmai Ginjo Yamahai Hiyaoroshi Yamazaru Muroka Genshu (Nagayama Shuzo)
This sake does not exhibit the characteristic flavor of yamahai sake very much. However, it has richness resulting from its aging and its acid and roughness that remind me some type of fruit such as an apricot are refreshing.
Rice used: Yamadanishiki
Seimaibuai: 60%
Alcohol: 18 - 19%

Sep 22, 2009

Recent Sake Report

Last Friday, I went to Tachikawa for drinking some sake alone. First, I visited my friend’s izakaya restaurant Marusan-Shoten. Unfortunately, the restaurant was full to capacity. The friend told me apologetically that they usually have many customers Fridays and on weekends. So, I went to another izakaya, Mamiana.

Mamiana has various sakes from different places in Japan. The restaurant chief is a great sake lover and he selects sake to offer at his restaurant every month by himself. This time, I had Naraman, Mogamigawa, and Kurumazaka. They were all nice.

And yesterday (Monday), I had a phone call from a drinking friend, and we agreed to meet at Tachikawa for some drink. We planned to go Marusan-Shoten. No problem this time. There were enough seats.

Marusan sells sake and foods at reasonable prices. The most inexpensive yakitori is offered at only 70 yen. Their sake is mostly served in tiny 180-ml bottles, which are easy to empty, and you can always enjoy fresh sake.

In spite of the fact that they had many tiny bottles to offer, we ordered a 720-ml bottle, which the restaurant chief had been keeping as a special menu. That was Horaisen “Roku” of Sekiya Brewery in Aichi prefecture. For sake drunkards, 180-ml bottle is too small.

This “Roku” is yamahai junmiai namazake, but does not exhibit that strong impression, which many yamahai sakes possess. Mild taste of this sake relaxes drinkers and keeps them drinking one cup after another. It was actually quite easy for two of us to finish this bottle.

Today's Drunkard
Video taken last year. Kisa, the leader of our kimono club, enjoys beer wearing kimono and her favorite wig.

Sep 10, 2009

Using a Wine Glass for Sake

Lately, sake seems to be gaining in popularity in the United States. They are also holding sake tasting events in that country. When I browse the Internet and visit some Web sites depicting sake tasting event held here and there in the United States, I usually find they are using wine glasses for drinking sake.

This is probably because they don't have many sake cups. But, what I am curious about is how the use of wine glasses affects the taste of sake. So, I tried drinking sake from a wine glass. Also, I tried a sake cup for comparison.

In the photo on the left, I am using a wine glass for drinking sake. The glass is tilted and the brim of the glass almost covers my nose. In the right photo, tilting my face downward, I am slurping up the sake from a sake cup.

It seemed that use of the wine glass made the first aroma note more impressive while the sake cup helped enhance richness in taste. I sometimes hear the argument that the taste of sake depends on the sake drinking vessels. When I actually tried using the wine glass and sake cup this time, I could understand the difference.

Today's Drunkard
Ichibay is drinking Sawanoi Risshun Hyaku-Goju-Nichi Jukuseishu (150-day aged sake that was pressed in the morning of February 4).