3 Things You Need to Know about SAKE
I am writing this for people who love wine but never really ventured in to the world of sake...
Yes I feel you... sake has the world of its own. Of course there are so many non-English terms and highly complicated classification system... (well apparently I get some advantages for having Japanese as my native language, but still...)
Here are 3 things you need to know to get friendly with sake.
1: Sake can be aromatic just like Wine. Wine people LOVE aromatics. Aroma profile is an essential element for appreciating the quality of wine. One of my restaurant guests asked "Sake uses a small cup because it is not an aromatic beverage, right?" ----- the answer is a NO. The modern style of sake is enjoyable in a wine glass. In fact, there is a sake competition in Japan that specifically focuses on 'wine glass perfect' sake (Wine Glass De Oishii Nihonshu / Fine Sake Award Japan click here for web). Here are some fruits, vegetables, and flowers that are heavily used to describe the aromas of sake.
2: Sake is like a hybrid of Beer and Wine Under the laws of alcohol in the United States, sake is technically under the umbrella of wine.... yes it is a "rice wine". However, the production house is called "brewery". So this chart pretty much shows the differences among the three. In the case of wine, grapes have their own sugar so you don't need any special care for converting compounds into sugar. So now... what is KOJI??? --- it is a unique mold (aspergillus oryzae) that turns the rice starches into sugar. To make it sound more familiar, it is a type of fungus that acts like malt in beer making.
3: Food & Sake pairing chart for WINE LOVERS One of the greatest things about sake is it is SUPER food friendly. I am seeing more sakes in fine dining Chef's Course wine pairings. I guess it is a secret trend now in LA restaurant industry. Remember, sake is made just with rice, water, and koji (and maybe a touch of distilled alcohol for a tiny adjustment). It does not have any tannin like in red wines nor high acidity like in white wines. However, if you opt for a precision pairing, this is how I do my sake pairing.
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