Tuesday, July 25, 2006

New tasting flight at Saji Ya

I am very lucky to have a great Japanese restaurant, Saji Ya, within walking distance of my house and I usually eat there a few times a week. They have a nice saké selection and I was really happy when they recently added a tasting flight with 3 sakés (served in wine glasses) for $12.00 (which I think is a bargain!)

The sakés featured are:

1. Otokoyama “Man’s Mountain” Junmai (SMV +10, Acidity 1.6, Alcohol 15.5): I’ve had this elsewhere and I have to admit, it’s not my favorite. I think that it’s enjoyable for the first few sips, but I find that it is a little too dry and acidic for my taste. It even feels “tongue puckering” to me. I think many people actually prefer the drier sakés, in fact, this is my boyfriend's favorite of the three.

2. Suishin Junmai (SMV +3, Acidity, 1.7, Alcohol 15-16%): Now we're talking! Saké expert John Gauntner says this about it in one of his newsletters:

"This is one of those sakés that has been fairly famous for so long it ends up being overlooked, which is a shame. A classic Hiroshima style, soft and gently sweet, but a bit more bolstering acidity than most sake of this region. While simple and straightforward, it is incredibly versatile, and is enjoyable either chilled, at room temperature, and even very gently warmed."

I think the best part about it is the deep “savoriness” in the follow through. I don’t yet completely understand the term “umami,” but this saké has what I imagine umami to be.

3. Yaegaki nigori (SMV –12): The jury is still out on whether I am truly a fan of nigori saké, but this one is certainly pleasant. At first whiff, there is a strong aroma of fruit juice and at first taste it’s like creamy spiked fruit juice. I would definitely order this one again.


Melinda said...

But you do understand "umami"! I think that what you've described as the deep savoriness in the follow through is umami. It's the satisfying, round flavor in (especially protein-rich) food that makes it so tasty. The word "umai" in Japanese is kind of like saying "delicious". Think mushrooms, cheese, and meat. See what I'm saying?

Valerie said...

I think I see what you're saying...I'm going to have to do a lot of tasting research on this!

Speaking of tasting, we are having a tasting/dinner party tonight (see, I'm not going to drink all that saké myself!) I'll post details soon.

Melinda said...

good luck!