Hosoda Bros Inc. is proud to be a participant in the J-POP Summit Festival, to be held on July 19th and 20th in downtown and Japantown in San Francisco. For more information, please click here.
When I was a kid my step-mother would drink Franzia Chablis which came in a 5L box. The experience stuck with me, and while I have drunk a few boxes of juice in my time, box wine is not part of my beverage bandwidth.
My friend Jeff arranged for Hosoda Bros to have a booth at the J-POP festival on July 19, 2014. Details on the festival are here. They will be pouring (so I understand) 420 L of sake. I asked what sake and he said three Aronia, a Junmai Nigori (“unfiltered sake”) from Niigata; Yukikage (“Snow Shadow”) a Tokubetsu (“special”) Junmai from Niigata; and Hakushika Tanuki.
So knowing that I am ever curious, Jeff came over with the Yukikage and the Hakushika Tanuki. To my surprise, the Hakushika was in a box!
Being game I got out two square and two round glasses (square for the box sake!). And poured out four glasses. I learned with wine to start “low” and go up, so tasted the box sake first. I will comment on the snow shadow later, but when I first tasted the Hakushika I thought I had mixed up my pours. While not quite the finish of a Niigata (it has a richer mouth feel after a sip) the quality was very good, and other than the finish I could have confused it with a Junmai from Niigata (The brewer, founded in 1662, is actually in Hyogo Prefecture, between Osaka and Kobe).
The sake is full bodied (as Hyogo Junmai in my expereince tends to be), with a slightly warm mouth feel, while dry there is just a taste of sweetness on the front of the tongue which allows it to go well with food with a kick. The finish is full bodied with a true sake taste (rather than water as with many Niigata sakes) as the finish. For those who care about these things, it is a 70% polished rice.
I have had it with some Indian shrimp tikka masala I made (yummy), with Chinese dumplings, and with knife cut noodles. It went well with all of them. Now for some Japanese food. I have only served it cold, but it is a sake that could be served warm if one wished. All I need is another box!
I am sure a lot of you have tried Japanese plum wines (for those who haven't you might find it a delightful surprise) but I had not had PLUM SAKE before. I was at Hosobra Brothers the other day and found a few bottles of beautifully presented plum sakes (by way of introduction I have always been a sucker of beautiful presentation found in many of the Japanese merchandise). Jeff, Hosoda Bros' Sale Director, never misses a chance to egg on me to drink (not that I need further encouragement), so I packed a few bottles of the plum sake and put them all in the fridge at the protest of my wife who complained that the sake took up half of the fridge.
We had Chinese food for dinner one night and I pulled out the plum sake from the fridge. Without seeing the bottle, my wife took a sip, pleasantly surprised by the fresh floral taste, asked what kind of Riesling it is! Instead of tasting like some of the overly sweet plum wine, this one has a blend of lightness and crispness that is redolent of some good ole Italian Riesling. I have long retired from the dating scene but I have never forgotten the mantra: a wise man get he wants by giving what the lady wants. Alas my wife no longer complains about me putting half a dozen sake in the fridge. I will certainly add this plum sake in my magical wine list for chicks.
Hana-Kohaka Ume (Plum) Sake
A full time class action and trial attorney, Scott enjoys sake as much as his courtroom drama. He particularly appreciates a change of role being a judge in his sake reviews.