For the 14th theartofsake Sake On-nomi, we will be covering a new topic, Seasonality in Japanese Sake! The definition of seasonal sake is sakes that are only available in certain periods of the year.
Sake is usually only brewed in the cold months in Japan, from October to March/April, however it can be bottled throughout the year, this leads to certain seasonal releases throughout the year, as you drink certain sakes to celebrate the season, or festivals.
As fall arrives and sake breweries prepare to start brewing, they release their first sakes of the brew year, Aki-Agari and/or Hiyaoroshi.
Hiyaoroshi sakes are usually brewed during the tail end of the previous brew season in Spring. They are pasteurised just once after brewing (namezume), and left to mature in tanks through the hot months, and released during Fall. These sakes tend to have a lively yet complex, deep flavour.
When a brewery starts brewing sake for the new brew year, they usually hang a sugidama (Cedar Ball) outside the brewery. It starts off green, and gradually turns brown, signifying that sake is ready for sale.
These new sakes are usually released near spring-time, and mainly labelled as Shiboritate (Freshly Pressed) and Arabashir (Free Run). You might also see the word Shinshu which means new sake. Some breweries also release Hanami (Flower Viewing) Sake, which are usually in pink labels, for drinking while viewing flowers in the Spring!
As the first sake release, Spring Sakes tend to be bottled almost immediately after pressing and released without being left to mature for a few months. As such, these sakes tend to be very bright, with big wild flavours, especially if they are namazakes.
During the hot summer months, breweries start selling Natsuzakes (Summer Sakes). These are optional releases, but appear to be a growing trend. They tend to appear in light blue bottles.
Summer Sakes tend to be very light flavoured with lowered alcohol. They are usually refreshing, and can also appear as sparkling, lowered alcohol, and higher acidity. They are also meant to be drunk very chilled, some are even meant to be drunk on ice! It may be suitable for beginners to sake!
We have 5 x 80ml of sample sakes in a tasting flight together. If you wish to purchase any of the individual bottles, they will be discounted for 1 week! (please note, the Nadagiku Sake is only 500ml)
The Zoom Live Video Conference for the Sake On-nomi will be held on Wednesday, 14 October 2020. The event will start at 8pm. The room will launch at 7:45pm for networking. To join, please purchase our Tasting Set or Full Bottle Set at our website.
Zoom Meeting details will also be included in the tasting sets together with the Sake Details and Tasting notes. If you have any issues, please whatsapp +65 8855 0073.
Please note: the tasting sets will only be sent out during the late afternoon of the event day. We will bottle the samples that day to keep it as fresh as possible.
1. Kiminoi Junmai Tanrei
This is a summer junmai made with the Niigata famous rice, Koshitanrei. It is light and refreshing with only 12% alcohol
2. Nadagiku Honjozo Aki Agari
A complex and deep tasting Honjozo from Nadagiku in Himeiji City, Hyogo. It was recently awarded GI Harima status, and they only brew using Yamadanishiki, which the district is world famous for.
3. Kamoizumi Junmai Hiyaoroshi
This sake is characterised by a mild, calm aroma with a rich taste. It is made by local Yamadanishiki and is pasteurised only once.
4. Kawatsuru Shinshu Shiboritate
A rich and complex sake with aromatic and fresh notes of fruit like cantaloupe and sweet melon. Bold and Boozy. 19% ABV.
5. Kamoizumi Junmai Daiginjo Nama
A fresh and fruity Junmai Daiginjo sake that is bottled and unpasteurised. The rice used is 100% Yamada Nishiki from the Zoka district of Higashihiroshima.
Very fun and educational session on seasonal sakes
3 seasons were covered and it was very interesting to taste the difference and know more about the culture and production methods that resulted in the distinctive taste of the seasonal sakes