Sake Sunday: Featuring KontekiJune 22, 2016
Premium sake makes up only about 25% of all sake that is produced in Japan and what we are tasting is Honjozo and Junmai grade quality and above. The highest quality level is Junmai Daiginjo with a rice polishing rate of at least 50%. Though there are hundreds of strands of rice there are only 8-10 types of sake rice that are consistently used in premium sake production today. Premium sake is produced at only one time each year and revolves around the rice harvest that begins in October and usually lasts until March of the following year. It is a painstakingly precise production that continues 7 days a week for these 5 months and the end result is some of the most balanced and poised beverages in the world.
Grades of sake:
Junmai/Honjozo – (alcohol added) minimum polish rate of 30% removed
Junmai Ginjo/Ginjo – minimum polish rate of 40% removed
Junmai Daiginjo/Daiginjo – minimum polish rate of 50% removed
Tokubetsu – something special
Nigori – unfiltered sake
Konteki Tears of Dawn Daiginjo
Konteki means “dew drops of the earth” while Higashiyama translates to “eastern hill“. Higashiyama’s kurabito (brewery workers) have been known to start their days watching the sun rise over the mountains until the dew drops glisten as if they were the Tears of Dawn.
Tears of Dawn is from one of Japan’s smallest breweries, Higashiyama Shuzo. This Daiginjo is made with Japan’s highest quality rice and local Fushimi mizu, the soft, pure water from Japan’s Eastern Mountains. Highly-respected rice farmer Masayasu Tanaka carefully works the naturally fertilized soils of his farm in eastern Tottori prefecture to grow some of Japan’s best quality Yamada Nishiki, considered the pinnacle of premium sake rice. Toji Takakura admires the culture from this period which shows through in this pure and elegant Daiginjo.
Premium sakes take Sunday evening to another level at Naoki Sushi, where we will be pouring one new sake every Sunday night in large format bottles, at a very special price! Enjoy it with Chef Naoki’s playful mix of contemporary and classic Japanese cuisine and sushi. Stay tuned for a new large format bottle debuting every Sunday night!