Hidden in Wembley downs I had discovered a beautiful scenery that couldn’t escape my view about 15 minutes from CBD Ambrose Estate is the perfect venue for Weddings and Private functions overlooking the green of WA hottest golf course.
The workshop was held in the lovely Ambrose Room the entrance was like a conference room and inside guests were greeted with tables of white, and seated with their own sake booklet, wine glasses and ochoko cups. Sake bottles displayed in ice-cold along with the Sake Basic Workshop presentation.
A private party for eager guests hungry for knowledge about the Sake world ,my guest were excited and couldn’t wait to start. We started with Sake basics it was a requirement before tasting starts that there must be some common knowledge that guests need to know about sake.
We focus on the area about fermentation with this group and really went into the topic deeper, how can Japanese sake change flavour because of different temperatures? How does the yeast activity react in the temperatures? and what does this have to do the overall sake taste? To understand this theory guests needed to experience through the tasting.
For the first tasting, we started with Sparkling sake from Ozeki Sake Brewery from Nada prefecture Hana-awaka sparkling sake like many first-timers or some who have tried sake before most the guests are unaware that a sparkling sake exists. Guests welcomed the elegant Hana-awaka sparkling, it was a beautiful way to enter the sake world as well as welcome the evening with Japanese tradition . Kanpai! ( which means cheers in Japanese) .
The guest was surprised and taken-back on how beautiful the sparkling sake experience had created, as well as the aromas it captivated. With this first activity, the guest was quite experienced with the aromas and taste so to enhance their personal experience guest were given special instructions to understand how their senses can used in a different way.
Sense of smell is given by memory it is not an actual taste, you often remembered the smell of a fruit when on the palate ,it is not the fruit. Guests were quick to change their mindset and focus on just the smell itself but they had to understand that Japanese sake is more delicate than wine, that aromas come out gently.
Taste: once guests could separate their sense of smell we can focus on taste understanding. Taste is not about the flavour of fruit , but the texture of the fruit you remember. For example, when you smell a banana you picture the yellow skin fruit but in your palate, it is actually that creamy chewy texture of the ripe banana as you mashed it up.
Sake Etiquette: Again an enjoyable amongst my guest and further appreciation to the sake culture for our guest who like to travel to Japan occasionally the memory of Japan reminisce from this experience spoke their hearts.
Room vs Cold
It is very important to understand not to judge sake by one sip, flavour profile does change when different temperatures are introduced. Referring back to the theory of fermentation here is where guests can experience this theory to be true.
Junmai category is good for rich full body flavours guests experience what characters and profiles come from playing with two different temperatures. For this activity, we played with two Junmai Grade Sakes.
Kizakura Demon slayer from Kyoto prefecture by Kizakura Sake Brewery the name itself was something of interest what kind of flavours bring forth in a bottle that slays a demon? At room temperature brought forth a fruity mouthful but disappears with soft finish but when hit with a cold temperature sensation , the fruitiness becomes a bit sharper and dry with the clean-cut finish.
Urakasumi Junmai from Miyagi prefecture by Urakasumi Sake Brewery from previous workshops I have demonstrated the beautiful characters this Junmai can create, it has been classified as the one straight road style of sake it doesn’t go left or right but it keeps flavours in the balance. The roundness mouthful did make things more interesting compared to Kizakura 'demon slayer' the acidity fascinated guests palates at cold temperature.
The guest was enlightened that coldness from the temperature is also another form of texture that plays with the palate and changes the consistency of the rice flavour when joined together. This was brought to light because of the room vs cold experiment, new characters from the same sake but can taste different when temperature is adjusted.
After a fruitful start guest were rewarded with delicious grazings to soothe their taste buds beautifully prepared by Ambrose Estate kitchen.
The Ginjo Comparison
The next section we focused on the grade of Junmai Ginjo in this category we demonstrated how 2 sakes with the same grade can taste so different. Playing with Sake collection from Tochigi by Sawahime Sake Brewery. We showcase Junmai Ginjo and Junmai Ginjo Premium.
For these two sakes, there was a lot of different character profiles amongst the guest, the experience was highlighting the diversity of sake amongst different palate drinkers. I was taken back on how studious these guest were in which their palate experiences had brought forth new interesting flavours and characters that were different from my own.
Sawahime Junmai Ginjo from majority of guests who have experienced this sake the most prominent fruit note was always Green Apple but with these guest we had an interesting aroma experiences, some said red apple skin, others said pear, melon rind and throughout the palate it captures the lovely smoothness of the rice and acidity was fresh and crisp some referred to mild tea tannins note from the dryness of the sake.
Sawahime Junmai Gino Premium although taste notes scented strawberry this group capture more like rockmelon, or fresh melon with floral scents. The palate experience was juicy or spritz and citrus feel which guest felt the texture was like sticky and sweet so-referred to flavours like honey and lightly syrupy mouthfeel.
Room VS Cold
The fruity elegance which normally should capture the hearts of the majority and brought out more characters at room temperature but to our guests got more flavours from the sake at cold temperatures.
There was a diverse variety of flavour profiles, Ippin Junmai Daiginjo depth character profile rose to this occasion. This sake demonstrated a similar reference to white wine guest could capture the white winey resemblances with some smokey notes on their palate at room temperature .
From the cold temperature one of our guest had a diverse sense of aroma experience captured white grape and melon from the wine glass and from the palate its was subtle sweet journey of sugar cane, with a dessert wine syrup with a surprisingly clean finish.
To finish off we focus on sake labels guest were guided on how to refer to specific characters and information on sake bottle to determine how a sake can taste like ? without tasting it first but the important thing to understand is that the sake label is just a guide only it didn’t reflect on the temperature consideration for getting those results. To confirm this theory after experiencing how each sake taste beforehand guest check referred to the notes and SMV( sake better value) table.
From this, the sake labelling information was considered not highly accurate for most the sakes but only 1 sake fit the profile which was Kizakura Demon Slayer sake guest felt it to be true with its taste notes and (SMV) understanding.
Our highlighted sake for the beginning of the night was the Sparkling sake guest applaud the wonderful elegant sweetness is brought forth on the palate,
The sake that created very interesting flavours was Ippin Junmai Daiginjo the cold brought forth another diverse of flavours for these well-diverse palate drinkers.
A fruitful night with these guests , believe me if time wasn't a factor we could go on throughout the night the Sake journey is continuous and everlasting on how you want it to be, it heart-warms me to share my passion with this studious group for the next time they may need an immediate course.