Learning to like taru sake at Satsko

Meet up with some of my oldest friends for some sake and girl talk. We made it time for happy hour so all the ladies got the happy hour special but I had to be a snob and get the Masumi Arabashiri. Luckily these ladies were in for the long haul.

So the ladies suggested a Nigori sake. Nigoris are very distinctive both in color and texture, but the flavor of the sake depends very little on this feature. They are not my favorite but people always ask me about them. I picked the Kamoizumi Nigori “Summer Snow” because not only is it a nigori, but it is also a gingo nama genshu nigori from Hiroshima which is a cold region. I dont think they couldve put more features in this sake unless they also made it a yamahai, but that would just be greedy. Very interesting. Now that Ive finished dorking out, let me explain. nigori is when the rice is filtered from the sake with a larger filter and there is sediment that causes the sake to be cloudy and chewy. Any sake that isnt somewhat clear is a nigori. A nama is unpasturized which makes it sweet and effervescent. A genshu is when it is not diluted and it is up to 20% alcohol, apposed to the usual 16%. Nama and genshu mix well together as do nama and nigori, but a nama genshu nigori is unique. The nama may not balance out the genshu’s kuchi atari and nigori’s weight, but the fact that its from a cold region should make it smooth and might create the perfect balance. And speaking of balance, a gingo being the middle polishing ratio should keep it all very balanced but still very special.

Now here is where the night took a turn. I ordered the Kubota Senjyu, a Tokubetsu honjozo from Niigata. I guess when I pointed to it on the menu she thought I meant the one right above it, a taru sake. The first time I tasted a taru sake, I was so disgusted I wouldnt finish it. I had tasted some tasty taru sakes in a tasting once but it was still just one vote for and one giant vote against that left a bad pipe tobacco-y taste in my mouth. With so many sakes to taste, I had to have discerning tastes. I might not have even drank it if I knew what it was, but Im so glad I did. It did have a unique flavor but it was not overpowering and it still had a smooth finish. It was a delicious unique sake that I might want to add to my repertoire. It was the Kikumasamune Taru.

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