The charm of sake is that it shows various faces according to what delicacies it’s combined with, its temperature, and the differences in the vessel in which it’s served. The harmonizing elegance it displays while bringing out the strengths of its partner foods is its distinctive characteristic.
While enjoying the “gentle tipsiness” unique to sake, how about searching for your preferred flavor?
Time spent with sake brings a smile to one’s face without fail!
“Marriage, Drinks with the Family” is a section where Yoko Suganami, a sake specialist who has visited over 10 thousand restaurants both in Japan and abroad, introduces various local Seto Inland Sea region sakes, and what are in her view the best foods to go with them.
This time I selected a Hiroshima sake that you should definitely try! Made by Enoki Shuzo, it’s a refreshing kijoshu aged in oak barrels.
In addition to the 4 main elements included in sake, 1) fragrance rate 2) umami rate 3) acidity rate 4) sweetness rate, the graph expresses the “rate of locality” (Setouchi rate) which I added to express how locally the rice and yeast utilized is sourced.
Hiroshima prefecture is known as one of Japan’s three great sake-brewing areas. While those of Nada are called otoko-sake, those of Hiroshima are called onna-sake, and its special characteristics are said to be its round, smooth flavor.
However, if you look at it in more detail, in Hiroshima you can find the flavor of the “sea” (from the Seto Inland Sea that it faces), the flavor of the “mountains” (of the snowy Chugoku mountain area), as well as the flavor of the “villages” located in between. So even among the sakes of Hiroshima, you can find a diverse selection each with a different character depending on these elements.
This time I’m going to introduce a kijoshu with a brandy-like flavor from Enoki Shuzo, a brewery located on the seaside, with the Seto Inland Sea spreading out right in front of it.
Usually water is used when making sake, but kijoshu is is made by using sake instead of water!
Using sake for brewing leads to a full-bodied, sweet sake that has a rich fragrance resembling nuts and raisins, as well as a deep flavor.
However, in comparison to average sake, kijoshu also has a higher acidity*, so although it is sweet, it also has a surprisingly fresh aftertaste! It gives the impression of brandy, sherry, Madeira wine or wine made with noble rot grapes.
One point sake jargon
Acidity: Term that expresses the level of lactic acid, succinic acid, citric acid, malic acid, etc. achieved during the brewing process from the yeast, malt and rice (usually indicated on the bottle label).
The acidity sharpens the flavor of the sake. At 5, the acidity level of today’s sake is on the high side (average: 1.3-1.5).
Marriage with food:
I recommend sipping this sake a bit at a time as a digestive, but as it has a fresh aftertaste suitable for more mature flavors, I had it as a desert poured over vanilla ice cream.
As I paired it with ice cream, I recommend it either room temperature or cooled!
Choice of drinking vessel
Together with the dessert, the sake is also kijoshu!
Choosing a see-through, thick glass, I matched the pattern on its foot with the color of the sake.
These pieces are by Keiko Morio, a glass artist from Kure city, Hiroshima prefecture. The foot of the glass is held within the palm of the hand – you enjoy the sake while slowly swishing it around to give it air. As it comes into contact with air, you can enjoy the process of the flavor becoming even rounder.
Well then, let’s try it!
Affected by the sweetness of the vanilla ice cream, the sweetness of the kijoshu
And the nutty fragrance is underlined, leading to a well-balanced sweetness. One spoonful at a time, as you eat, the fragrance, good flavor and each of the characteristics stand out, and it’s interesting how the personality of the sake starts to unfold.
You get to know the deep flavor of kijoshu that you didn’t notice when tasting just the sake as is.
The two go together so well…!
How about a trip to the Seto Inland Sea area to enjoy sake?
By searching for your preferred sake and delicious snacks, and choosing a wonderful vessel to drink it from, you will certainly find new sake flavors while increasing your appreciation of this wonderful beverage.
Enoki Shuzo Co., Ltd.
Setouchi Finder Photo-writers: Makoto Esaki & Yoko Suganami (Rainbow Sake Co., Ltd.)
Yoko Suganami Rainbow Sake, Inc. After an extended stay in Hawaii, in 2011, I returned to my hometown of Kure, Hiroshima. Having worked at advertising companies in both Japan and Hawaii, I founded Rainbow Sake - a PR company with the goal of spreading Sake abroad. I hope that sake will ""bring the people of the world together"" and that I can be a part of that. I often travel abroad, and mostly to Hawaii and Singapore. Every time I come back home, I rediscover the beauty of my hometown and the happiness the easygoing, calm, fresh and simple sea and mountains of Setouchi bring.
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