Back in the Swan Valley, appreciating what makes us WA. Glorious weather for a Sunday morning session to learn about sake.
Perception was really what was highlighted here , our guests were all first timers to Japanese sake and didn't know what to expect. The unknown to the Sake world brought forth curiosity and excitement the same time.
When asked about their experience to Japanese sake it was discovered that the perception of the "rice brew" had misguided them to open their hearts. Some of our guests felt that sake might be too strong as they had assumption from what other people said . Some guest felt they definitely would not like the "rice brew" before even trying it.
I have encountered these fake assumptions and incomplete experiences to sake throughout my years and frequently and I make it a point to correct this wrong perception people have in Sake.
Our First sake:
Nama Chozo Sake
“Nama-Chozo-Shu” is pasteurised only once before bottling to bring you a refreshing flavour and tanginess only in a chilled sake. The chilling brings out the refreshing aftertaste, mellow aroma and moderate sweetness. Honjozo is a another classificaiton of sake which is usually sake that has distilled alcohol added .
We experimented with two different temperatures to let our guest experience different characters and flavours. It was educated to our guest that aroma experience and palate experience do differ from each other. Our guest were fairly new to the experience , some couldn't capture the aroma at all as they were unfamiliar with sake. I have encountered this all the time in my workshops , most guest think there is expectation to capture the aroma or you must have a peculiar taste to accept the flavours of sake. This is not required, sake is unbiased, we do not educate you to make sure you have a level of palate or aroma experience. The sake world does not judge it actually encourages you to find the character and let it create on its own to suit your own taste.
Guest thoroughly enjoyed this beautiful tradition and learning the japanese customs made guest learn to appreciate the sake culture evenmore. As manner is preached in Japan through tradition our guest followed through with the custom without hesitation.
So the next sake is Sawahime Yamahai Junmai Sake from Tochigi Prefecture: So this sake is one of the traditional method and used mainly as a yeast starter. This methods normally creates more lactic flavours and full body flavoured sake.
Guest who enjoyed mostly red wine style or rich whiskies tend to relate to the full body flavour of Sawahime Yamahai. The contrast of the room and cold temperature really left an impression of difference how the same sake can change so much in different temperatures.
Cheese & Sake
Does it work? of course it does !
Cheese is the perfect companion to sake because they both have the same ingredient ( lactic acid)
Our first pairing comes from the Miyagi Prefecture and is called Urakasumi Junmai. Junmai means pure rice and this sake has a rice polishing ratio of 65 % using manumasume rice which is known to full body and have rice richness. This is a perfect well balanced sake to suit all palates.
Kytren Chèvre Fresh style is fresh cheese coming from Gidgegannup, using goat’s milk.
After Pasteurisation the milk is gently heated to form a curd. The warm curd are then poured into individual mould, to drain overnight
The fresh chèvre is very soft and light in texture. That has a pleasant feel in the mouth.Its flavour is delicate and not overpowering.
Our second pairing with is Ippin Plum Nigori from Ibaraki prefecture.
Last sake is a very different style altogether it will totally surprise your palate. The next sake is Hakutsuru Koshu sake from Hyogo prefecture Koshu (means matured sake) this is aged sake that was brewed 2007 and preserved in a tank. It has matured aroma , smokey and rich in taste which resembles a whisky or a guinness beer. The flavour starts out really bold and heavy body but suddenly disappears with cleansing on the palate which doesn't linger.
The Cheese we are pairing with is Italian Blue Gorzonola.
Italian Blue (Cows Milk)
Highlights for sake was Urakasumi & Sawahime most guests loved the mouthfeel on the palate and richness of of sake rice which left deliciousness.
The favourite cheese was all , as most of our guest were cheese lovers they couldn't fault too much about the cheese but the pairing was something the wouldn't have guessed or even comprehend that could exist.
It is always a joy to see fresh new faces at my workshops and I am so glad everytime our guest have taken something to remember about the Sake World.