Saturday, September 27, 2008

Tasting Notes: Sparkling....Sake?

Written in 2007

June 26
Tasting Notes: Sparkling (no, I'm not kidding) Sake

I just HAD to try this; I love sake and I love sparkling wine, so what could be bad?

Blue bottle; pretty, about the size of a split of champagne. Thought the top came off like a beer cap, but then I noticed a little pull-tab under the plastic wrapper at the neck...and promptly pierced the tip of my finger with a knife trying to remove the plastic.

Band-aid applied. Bottle opened with a little less hiss than a beer. The label is cute, with a rather cartoon-ish illustration of a Japanese girl, but the choice of font makes it look a bit cheap.

The label says it's imported by Banzai Beverage Corp. for TJ's and bottled by Ume No Yado brewery in Japan. It also says I shouldn't drink it if I'm pregnant (I'm not) or operate machinery after drinking it. Does a computer constitute machinery?

Unfortunately the label does NOT say what sort of glassware is appropriate for sparkling sake. This is anyone's guess, really. A hot sake cup seems wrong, but so does a champagne flute. I'm going for a small wine glass.

Hmmmm. Color is more straw-like than one associates with sake, but very, very pale. Certainly not as deep as a sparkling wine, but definitely not colorless. The bubbles are rather large, in fact, there is a very small amount of foam on the surface of the liquid.

As I'm getting nearer the bottom of the bottle, it is getting decidely cloudy. The nose is...well...starchy. Like the smell of Gold Medal flour. Or uncooked sushi rice.

The flavor is nothing like the nose, although it's hard to separate yourself from the nose as you bring the glass to your lips. The starchiness is pretty prevalent. But the flavor...well, it's really clean;. Oddly it's dry but not dry. It's so clean it feels dry but there is virtually no acid, which is what you're expecting if you're thinking about sparkling wine while you drink this. So don't.

What's really interesting is the finish. It is at first almonds and then toasted rice, with a little lingering sweetness that you don't get at first and then finally, the hit of starch again. Some characteristic sparkling wine flavors here, but no minerals at all.

This is really interesting. Definitely worth trying. Don't remember how much this was. Maybe $9 for the split? Adventure in a glass. Would be nice with sashimi, but not sushi. I think the starchy flavor would be a nice foil for fish, but hold the rice.

Since both sake and champagne give me a crazy buzz (I'm vaguely recalling singing something from Porgy and Bess in a karaoke bar one evening) I wonder, how many I could drink before I start dancing on the sushi bar?

No comments:

Stop by, bring wine.

Preferably good wine. Food would be good, too.