Monday, October 29, 2007

Trader Joe-san's Sake

Sake at Trader Joe's...who knew? On a recent trip I found two varieties, a junmai ginjo and a sparkling sake. Here are the specs and my tasting notes on each:

Junmai Ginjo Premium Sake
Alcohol 14-15%
SMV +3 (medium dry)
Serving suggestion: Chilled
Texture: Soft and smooth
Pairing food: seafood and lightly grilled meats
Produced and bottled by Oimatsu Shuzo Co., Hita
Tasting notes: The scent is very pleasant, yeasty, and full of butterscotch. Taste is light and earthy, no fruits or sweetness at all.

Sparkling Sake
Alcohol 7%
Produced and bottled by Ume no Yado Brewery Co., Nara
Tasting notes: The aroma out of the bottle is ricey and fruity. The color is a creamy yellow and the bubbles are tiny and abundant. This was less sweet than the other sparkling sakes that I've had. I think I could confidently serve this to a skeptical champagne lover, while with something like Hou Hou Shu (which I love) I'd be worried it would be too sweet.


T said...

Mmm Over Ice...I enjoyed it and I wondered about the general market for Sparkling Sake. I would like more and would love advice.

Valerie said...

From what I've heard, sparkling sakes are an untraditional offering to drinkers, especially women and younger drinkers, who haven't been drawn to sake in the past. While sake is becoming more popular in the U.S., sales have been going down steadily in Japan as people choose other beverages, especially wine and shochu. So the Japanese are coming up with some novel offerings.

Most everyone who I've served sparkling sake to has loved it, although I think it's a love it or hate it thing. True Sake ( sells several brands and you can order online from them. I've tried Poochi Poochi, Hou Hou Shu, Harushika Tokimeki (my favorite), and you can also get some sparkling nigoris.

If you try some, check back here and let me know what you think!

Anonymous said...

To bad Trader Joe's recently discontinued their shochu.

The Book Prowler said...

I realize this is an old post, but we just picked up Junmai Ginjo Premium Sake at TJ's (no sparkling sake to be seen). Recommendations for food pairing?

Valerie said...

Hey Jeanne! Funny that you should ask about sake/food pairing - I was just at a sake/cheese tasting last week. I had to go because I'm interested in anything sake, but I must admit, I did have my doubts. But several of the pairings were amazing! (I'll write a post on this soon). I only tried the TJ's sake once and I can't completely remember it, but I looked up suggestions in What to Eat with What You Drink (an awesome book) and they suggest fruit, esp. fresh (apples), salad, seafood, and vegetables, esp. fresh with a junmai ginjo.

Bethany said...

I just returned from Japan where I was able to tour the Ume no Yado Brewery Co. in Nara. Not only is their sake excellent, they are truly wonderful people who pay attention to the small details of their process. They produce all sorts of sakes, including ones that are blended with other types of fruit, such as tangerines!

The sparkling sake mentioned in this posting, sold in the US by Trader Joes, is unbelievably delicious, and it is often praised by those who otherwise don't like sake or dry wines. I highly recommend it!

Anonymous said...

So I am thinking about pouring it over sliced strawberries.....good idea or bad?