Museum of Sake Journal Summer 2016 - Page 55

AN EDUCATION NK: Which are good sakes for sake newbies to try? I would suggest trying two contrasting styles. A classic ginjo-style (such as with widely-available Dassai Junmai Daiginos) show the fresh, soft and fruity-aromatic side of sake. If you like this, then there are many other sakes in similar styles that you can enjoy. I would also suggest trying one of the more savoury, umami-rich styles. My personal favourites are Tamagawa Junmai Muroka Nama Genshu, and Shichida Junmai 75. I also like the Tengumai and Tedorigawa Junmai Yamahai sakes, and these are more widely available. AM: NK: What are the challenges of communicating sake to a non-Japanese audience? AM: Particularly people from a wine background are often desperate for sake to fit into the template they have used for understanding wine. This means they want the effects of origin, and expression of ‘terroir’, through some mechanism (water? Growing conditions for rice?) to be obvious. Actually the differences between sakes are more subtle than the differences between wines, and have much more to do with how the sake is made than where it is made, though there are some regional patterns. I like to point out that brewer in any part of Japan can source rice from anywhere in Japan, adjust the mineral content of their water, and make any style of sake they like. It is their choice. Many wine people seem to feel betrayed by the dominating impact of scientifically-informed human choice and processes, when I want them to be excited and appreciative of the thoughtful application of human craft. This way of seeing the world requires a gestalt shift for those who wishfully want a manufactured product to express raw nature, and although I try to help such people appreciate the craft and application of science and technology, I do not always succeed. MUSEUM OF SAKE JOURNAL 55