Sake – a gift to the world from Japan. Quietly embraced by top Michelin starred restaurants the world over, sake has recently resurged in popularity. This versatile beverage, steeped in centuries old traditions can now be found on “wine lists” of international restaurants featuring a myriad of cuisines.
Especially for the sake aficionado or enthusiast, UrbanFindr is pleased to share insider news from leading sake sommeliers on “best kept” secrets for that perfect dinner party at home. Be it celebratory Lunar New Year meals with traditional or modern interpretations of Chinese dishes, our sake hot list will boost your bragging rights and certainly be the conversation stealer…
UrbanFindr Hot List
A brewery that has repeatedly won numerous Gold medals in the Japan’s National Sake Competition found in Yamagata prefecture, Tohuku region. This is also where Takagi Shuzo, makers of Juyondai sake famously known for its cult status is located. All sakes produced by pays reverence to kimoto, utilizing the most traditional and labour intensive method from 300 years ago. The name Hatsumago translates to “First Grandchild”. The sakamai used in this sake is known as “Yuki Megami” (snow goddess). It is the first daigingo-specific sake rice developed in Yamagata to lessen brewer dependence on Yamada nishiki. This sake rice has shown tremendous success in polishing and could dethrone, the King of Rice, Yamadanishiki one day too.
Yukimegami Junmai Daijingo is best served with appetisers such as Yu Sheng (魚生) and lighter tasting seafood like Teochew-Style Steamed Fish, Chinese-Style Steamed Garlic Prawns as well as lightly cooked seafood like scallops.
Katochibee Shoten Brewery (BORN)
A familyrun brewery that have has stood the test of time since 1860 located in Fukui Prefecture. Known as the land of the nine-headed Black Dragon, Fukui is a leader in rice cultivation and many well-known sake breweries such as Kokuryu, Hakugakusen, Hanagaki, Hayaseura and Born are located here. This is Fukui’s rice heartland where Gohyakumango (sakemai) thrives. Time and time again, Born has released many award-winning wines such as Born Chogin Junmai Daiginjo and Born Yume wa Masayume Junmai Daiginjo “Dreams Come True”. In addition, there are also pocket friendly Born such as the Gold or even the Born wings of Japan.
This sake is like a submarine on a stealth mode. Ohmine shuzo is located in Yamaguichi Prefecture. The same Prefecture are as the well-known Dassai Shuzo. Both uses the King of Sakamai (sake rice) Yamadanishi. Interestingly, Ohmine is located in Mine city, where the natural park is located. Ohmine rapidly gained popularity and has been served at 3 Michelin starredrestaurants and even in the World Economic Annual meeting 2013 in Davos, Switzerland. Ohmine has been very creative by collaborating with NIGO and superstar Pharrell Williams by creating “storm cowboy” which instantly became a collector’s item. The newly released Winter sake is depicts a sexy drawing of a lady and the latest release is an award winning IWC 2020 Gold Prize sake that created a storm among sake connoisseur’s around the world who had to get hold of this limited-edition production of only 1000 bottles. This range of sake comes in three different colours of a luminous green, blue and a brown bottle. Expected release of this limited edition is February 2020.
One would never imagine for a Producer launching a luxury brand of Sake during this challenging time. SAKE 100 is the ultimate manifestation of a man’s sake mission by releasing a luxury brand cultivated in partnership with Japan’s most inspiring breweries, producing bottles for the label in categories that the collaborating breweries specifically excel in. SAKE 100 consists of four sakes from four different prefectures and will definitely change the way a one views sake.
A product of Assemblage – the blending of various tanks of sake or wine prior to ageing before bottling. When this sake was launched, it created a buying frenzy among sake lovers that the stock in Singapore quickly ran out. This sake is a gamechanger – blended by the former Chef de cave of Dom Perignon champagne who needs no further introduction. Richard Geoffroy partnered with Ryuichiro Masuda of a family-owned sake brewery Masuda Shuzo. IWA5 comprises three varieties of sakamai and five strains of yeast and the regimes of fermentation to create a unique blend.
Food Pairings with Sakes
Thanks to its food-friendly nature, sake pairs really well with a wide range of flavours and is a great match for Chinese cuisine. CNY is just around the corner and here, we have a few varieties of award-winning sake that goes really well with CNY food such as braised abalone, louhei and pen cai.