Monday, November 11, 2013

G-sake Fifty and G-sake

A few years ago, we came across a good US brewed sake called G-sake "Joy" from SakeOne. Some time later we tasted a new batch of  "Momokawa" Silver and Diamond sake also from SakeOne. Recently we came across a new variation of G-sake called "G-sake fifty", so we had a mini tasting to compare G-Sake fifty with regular G-sake (they have apparently dropped "Joy" from the name).

To start the sake tasting, we needed "Otoushi" お通し. I could not come up with 6 otoushi like Suiko  酔香 or Shuhai 酒杯 so I settled for three (see below).

From left to right; Kinpira gobou きんぴらごぼう, Pork belly "Kakuni" 豚の角煮 and Chicken skin, pickled myouga and cucumber in Ponzu 雛皮,蛇腹胡瓜,茗荷のポン酢和え.

Here is a picture of the two G-sakes. Left is the original G-sake(yellow "G") and the right is G-sake fifty (Green "G").

The picture below shows what is written on the back of the of the G-sake Fifty bottle.

Again, what kind of rice they are using is a bit of a mystery but if I had to hazard a guess I would say that they must be using a combination of imported "Saka-mai" 酒米 from Japan and probably  "CalRose" rice from California. Since it has an affiliation with Momokawa shuzou 桃川酒造, it is possible the imported rice may be from Aomori prefecture 青森県.

We were quite excited about this tasting. We poured both G-sakes into clear glass sake cups (to see the colors of sake better); surprisingly G-sake was slightly turbid (see below right). (Yes the sake cup was clean so the turbidity is indeed the sake not the cup).  The G-sake fifty, as you can see in the picture was clear (below left). Both had a very similar flavor profile which is not unlike Momokawa Diamond but not as sweet and a bit more refined, especially "Fifty". It is a more savory sake with a slight sweetness In contrast the regular G-Sake was a bit sweeter.

Being "Genshu" 原酒 (or undiluted sake), the alcohol content was 18% which, (believe it or not) we felt, was a bit too high for our tastes. So, in conclusion, we were not as impressed as before when we tasted G-Sake "joy" 2 years ago. Of the two we tasted we liked G-Sake Fifty better but if you like this flavor profile, Momokawa Diamond is more readily available and less expensive, albeit sweeter.

Of course, more food is needed when tasting sake. Again, we had sashimi from Catalina Offshore. This batch was quite good. Especially the blue fin tuna; very nice "Chu-toro" 中トロ (left lower) and "Ko-toro" 小トロ (upper center). Hamachi ハマチ could have had more fat (Center lower) but had a nice texture and Uni ウニ was superb.

Since, as usual, I removed the almost pure fat layer which was closest to the skin, I made a dish which is a cross between "Negi-toro" ネギトロ and ”Namerou" なめろう (Dressed in Karashi-sumiso からし酢味噌 and finely chopped scallion) preparation. I used a small container we newly acquired from the pottery store in Nishiki Market.

Although both G-Sakes are quite drinkable, we still prefer "fruity" and "clean" as oppose to "savory" and "sweet" tastes in sake. We  still prefer our house-sake "Mu" over either G-Sake.

4 comments:

blukats said...

I can answer a couple of your questions. I just did the tour at Sake One a week ago.

They only use rice from California. The Momokawa affiliation is because the brewery was started here by Momokawa Brewing of Japan and Frost International Group. They changed the names and some of the ownership since then but Momokawa still participates in sending over sake to sell.

The yeast they use for the sake is from Japan.

Uncle N said...

Thank you very much for the information. I know that Koshihikari and other eating rice varietals are grown in California (mostly "Okabo" or dry land rice as opposed to paddy rice) but as far as I know no sake rice (Saka-mai like Yamada-nishi)is grown there in commercial scale. I wonder what kind of California rice SakeOne use to make G-sake.

Gordon Heady said...

Takara Brewing in Berkeley, CA has, after years of effort, sourced Yamadanishiki grown in California that is being used to brew junmai daiginjo, and perhaps junmai ginjo, sakes. I'm told their junmai daiginjo is delicious!

Uncle N said...

Gordon, thank you for the enlightenment. I am glad to learn Yamadanishiki is grown in Sacramento valley. I will try some of the American brewed Sake from Takara.