It is a beautiful time of year here in Auckland. Spring is in full bloom with blossoms on all the trees around the city and the parks are full of daffodils, camellias and magnolias.
To celebrate the arrive of spring, the team at Masu along with New Zealand Master of Wine Sam Harrop and Japanese Master of Wine Kenichi Ohashi, have sourced 5 very rare sakes and bought them to New Zealand.
In a traditional sake barrel cracking yesterday, we had the privilege to have a sneak preview of the sakes, each totally different and very special. Sam Harrop provided a very informative run down on the history and variety of each Sake. Chef Nic Watt shared his delight in being able to bring these sakes to New Zealand for his patrons to enjoy and celebrate spring.
From October 3rd to October 16th Masu are offering a very special tasting flight of all five sakes for $36.00. We will certainly be heading back!
The sakes in the flight are:
· Tanaka-Rokujugo (Fukuoka) – One of the most sought-after brands in Japan. The brewery is located in Fukuoka prefecture which is in southern Japan. Restrained, pristine and transparent, dry, medium weight and a tight palate texture.
Producer Tanaka remains true to family traditions in everything he does, from hand-writing the labels in calligraphy himself to using a traditional ‘squeeze’ method (called Haneki Shibori) to extract the sake with timber and stones, a very slow process that produces maximum flavour.
· Toyo-Bijin (Yamaguchi) – This sake is adopted regularly as a sake which is served in official VIP dinners or receptions in Japan. The maker accomplishes “the expression of pure water passed through the rice.” Abundant fruity aromas, perfumed, banana-scented, semi-sweet but light finish. Yamaguchi Prefecture is located at the western end of Japan
· Juogura (Ibaraki) – High quality. An easy-drinking, moderate umami flavour.
· Nechi-Otokoyama (Niigata) – The sake expresses the terroir of Nechi Valley in Niigata Prefecture. It’s sought-after and produced by rare brewery which mostly cultivates chemical-free rice. Medium intensity of aromas, well-balanced fruitiness and a touch of savourines and dryness.
· Hanahato (Hiroshima) – An aged sake that’s a gold medal winner in the International Wine Challenge (IWC) 2014. Nutty, spicy, dried fruit, abundant complexity providing long length, full bodied.
(Tasting notes from Sam Harrop MW)
If you haven’t had much experience with sake then check out our quick guide to sake here