First of all, happy October to all you Floridians (and non-Floridians) out there. May you sweat less during our “fall” season. Second, if you’re not a lover of sake, forget everything you know about Japan’s traditional rice wine because we’re about to celebrate on this lovely World Sake Day.
We suggest toasting the day over dinner, so pick something that will pair well with a clean, easy-drinking, sometimes lightly fruity wine. The traditional and easiest choice would be sushi, of course. We know what you’re thinking…
Try a few different sakes to get a feel for what you like. Sho Chiku Bai Classic Junmai Sake is a traditional choice that is smooth and balanced with a complex aroma–and good enough to be the first American-made sake (yes, it is made is Berkeley, California) to win a gold medal at the US National Sake Appraisals competition. Serve this warm–but not too warm–to open up the flavors of this wine. But watch out: this sake comes in at 15% ABV which is pretty high, especially when the alcohol is hidden so well. This puppy pairs particularly well with tempura. (Just don’t go overboard on the sushi either.)
The next sake you must grab before heading home for dinner is the Sho Chiku Bai Rei Junmai Ginjo Draft. This you serve chilled. It’s bright and smooth and floral and so perfect for a relaxing night of Netflix and sushi. No really–it’s a little bottle, so you aren’t risking much if you’re still on the fence about sake. Pour a little in a wine glass and sip with each bite. You’ll wish you had another chilled bottle. (Better safe than sorry–pick up two.)
And finally, the third sake necessary for a full-blown World Sake Day celebration: Sho Chiku Bai Nigori Silky Mild. This is the sweet sake you’ll want for dessert (or to pair with spicy foods). Serve this chilled as well, and sip slowly. You’ll notice flavors of coconut and fruit. As the name suggests, Sho Chiku Bai Nigori Silky Mild is, well, silky. End on this note for a well-rounded Sake Day celebration.
Meghan Guarino, ABC Fine Wine & Spirits copywriter
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