One of the top five things that intrigues me about wine is the natural transformation of grapes, a sugary, fleshy, pit-ty, skin-ny, and well….grape-y, snack-y treat into a serious and complex beverage whose flavors and aromas are described in terms that have no resemblance to the bunches of flesh and juice that hung off the vine. While dedicated followers of the grape grow, make, sell, review, collect, and drink the stuff a concurrent phenomenon is playing out in between rice harvests and sake brews.
A worthwhile Passionate Foodie guest post by Sake authority Beau Timken, owner of True Sake in San Francisco (first sake only retailer in US) and master sake sommelier brings one special bottle to life, Kikuhime Dai Ginjo, with praise so lavish it could share the stage with the likes of DRC and Petrus if it were wine.
Bottle Nose: Deep Cherry (same as first smell over 3 years ago – yes a different BY all together) – consistency nevertheless! Nose: Per usual I use three different sized vessels when tasting a brew for review – Melon, hint of vanilla, steamed rice, and salt water. “Round and soft – deep and layered – with a gentle reminder of aging.” “Superb balance with a gentle richness.” “Round and pampered extolling a quick finish with a lingering tail – deeper and deepest a sense of floating richness pervades.” “Soft and supple with just an amazing feel – a mouth gripping experience – solid and so even.” “Drinks better in an Izakaya-style (sake pup glass that looks like a cut-off Italian table wine glass) and does not get rewarded in a larger vessel.” “Look for white raisin, cucumber, steamed rice, cooked pineapple, and honey roasted nut elements.” “A taste of sweetness presents itself when you aerate the brew between your teeth.” “Drinks far more elegantly chilled, far more expressive at room temperature, and far more soulful when warmed ever so slightly.”
WINE: French Pinot Noir/White Burgundy
BEER: Controlled Belgians
FOODS: Yup! Even Cajun! Will take on all-comers!
That’s a lot to ask from rice, but at $125 a bottle and available in limited supply from True Sake it sounds serious and worth a try. If grapes can carry caramel and bacon to our taste buds then why couldn’t transformed rice be a messenger for pineapple, raisins, cucumbers, and nuts?