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#109

GOODNESS SAKE

13 Oct 2014 By

We promise we will only use this header once. Yes, it’s a story about sake, one of the best, in fact – Tengumai. We spoke to sake master Kazunari Shata.

11 Things To Know About Tengumai Sake (and after which you’re supposed to get yourself a few bottles).

 

1
The current owner Kazunari Shata is of the 8th generation of the Shata family, they have owned the land since 1823 – during the Edo period. The ancestors planted rice in their big fields, and what little leftover rice they had they made into sake. Even back in the day, the Shatas were geniuses.

2

A Tengu was an uncanny creature in Japanese folklore regarded as a guardian of the mountains. And it was thought that the name Tengumai (dancing Tengu) describe how the creature would act if it, you know, partook of that sake.

3

Vietnam, Korea and Thailand are other Asian countries that drink a lot of sake.

4

The Tengumai Yamahai Jikomi Junmai is an award winning sake from the brewery. It won the Gold Medal in London at the IWC 2011 for Best Sake in the Junmai category. That’s International Wine Challenge to you. And it’s good with rich appetisers and meat dishes.

5
If you’ve opened a bottle of Tengumai sake, you can keep it refrigerated for up to a week. In fact the holds true for most sakes. But why would you? Sake goes down so easily.

6

Learn the three main types, and how polished they are: Junmai (30%, meaning 70% is left intact), Junmai Ginjo (40%, Grand Cru), and Junmai daiginjo (50%, Premiere Grand Cru). A finer polish generally gives you a more refined sake. Not necessarily better tasting, just different, you know, because taste.

7

Tengumai prides itself on making both “sake for sake lovers”, and “sake for marriage with food”.

8

Sake brewing goes together with regionality, or roughly what the French call “terroir”. Each region’s culture, history, food, climate, topography and mentality affect how the climate is made. Tengumai is in the Ishikawa Prefecture – located near the sea.

9

Tengumai sake is made using the yamahai method, a more difficult method that takes longer, requires delicate temperature management and experience (read the part about above eight generations).

10

It’s a brand that has punched above its weight. The media attention it has garnered is in direct inverse proportion to its quantity. The brand is known for its high quality and originality.

11

It’s handmade and… Geez, are you still reading or are you gonna go get some?

Contact Beam Global Asia.

Sake notes
Always pour for the women.

When ordering strong sake, pair it with strongly flavoured food

If the acidity is higher (because of the rougher rice grades), then it’s better to drink it warm.

So you prefer your sake warm? Then pick up a more full-bodied version.

And technically sake is not ‘rice wine’. Don’t be a noob.

There are about 1,800 sake breweries in Japan.

 

 

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