SG
um_sakegumi_logoIt’s been three months since starting Sake Gumi. Frankly speaking, Kayoko and I have been overwhelmed by the reception, with members joining from coast to coast. The Sake Gumi love is alive and thriving across America.

For October, we wanted to celebrate the end of the rice harvest season in Japan. The last harvest usually takes place in Hokkaido (the northern-most island) at the end of this month. To mark this occasion, all of the sakes we chose this month are junmais, or pure rice sakes. This means that the only ingredients are rice, water, yeast and koji. All other sakes have brewer’s alcohol added to it, but junmais do not. If you have gluten-free friends, junmais should be on their radar.

We’re also excited to announce an event on Saturday, November 7 from 1-3pm. It will be our first SG Social for a special sake cocktail hour: Mad about Genshu at Ramen Shop in Oakland. Kayoko of Umami Mart and Chris Lane of Ramen Shop will be mixing cocktails alongside some snacks at their beautiful new bar. This is an exclusive, free event for SG members only, plus one. If you aren't a member of SG yet but want to go to the event, you can join SG by event day for entry.

We've received a few requests from our friends in states that we can't ship sake to, asking us which bottles we are choosing for SG every month. We thought it would be a great idea to make our SG notes available online for reference and for Umami Mart readers who may not be able to join the club but want to keep up on our picks.

Here are our picks for October!

LEVEL 1: Introductory Membership (Two 300ml bottles)

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Hakushika Goka Sennenju Junmai Daiginjo
Rokko Brewing (Hyogo, Japan)
Seimaibuai: 50%
SMV: 0

We are pleased to be able to include a daiginjo in this month’s Level 1 duo. This bottle is a perfect example of a junmai daiginjo: fruity aroma, rich body and smooth texture. Brewers typically make daiginjos for this bouquet of melons, butterscotch and pears. Drink daiginjos cold with vegetables or lightly flavored poultry (no BBQ sauces, please!). This sake was awarded the 2011 Monde Selection Grand Gold Medal in Brussels.

 

 

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Hatsumago Junmai Kimoto
Tohoku Meijo (Yamagata, Japan)
Seimaibuai: 60%
SMV: +2
We prefer to drink this sake is slightly warm, since a little bit of heat brings out the earthiness of this sake. Kimoto sakes tend to be earthy because the kimoto starter method uses natural lactic acid bacilli from the walls and roofs of the brewery instead of the more modern method of adding lactic acid from a bottle. Dry, light in body with a hint of acidity, this sake is enjoyable alongside rich seafood like oysters, shrimp and uni: all of our favorites!

 

 

LEVEL 2: Premium Membership (Two 720ml bottles)

YUKIOTOKO_J720_Label2Yuki Otoko (Snow Yeti) Junmai
Aoki Shuzo (Niigata, Japan)
Seimaibuai: 60%
SMV: +12

Yuki Otoko has a special place in our hearts when we visited Aoki Brewery in February, we fell in love with the legend of YO and his sake. According to folklore, this snow yeti is said to guide people through the mountains, so Aoki Brewery donates part of the proceeds of this brew to local search and rescue organizations. Dry yet ricey with a clean finish, this sake is ideal alongside pork and salmon. With Yuki Otoko, everyone wins!
Only 9 cases of Yuki Otoko made it into the US in October and we were able to snag 2 cases for our members. Cherish this rare bottle!

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Fukucho Hattanso Junmai
Imada Shuzo (Hiroshima, Japan)
Seimaibuai: 75%
SMV: +3

Until brewmaster Miho Imada came along, Hattanso was an indigenous rice strain abandoned and forgotten. Imada was driven to revive this strain, convinced that it would be ideal for sake-making. After years of cultivation, Fukucho (Forgotten Fortune) is the result. Turns out that this rice is so well suited to Imada’s vision that she uses a high rice polishing ratio of 75%, meaning she only mills 25% of the outer portion of the rice. Hiroshima is known for its oysters and this sake is dubbed “the oyster sake” at Umami Mart. Happy shucking and sipping.