I haven’t written about sake here yet--not because I don’t love it but simply because I haven’t tasted anything recently that stood out.
That all changed when I received my samples of Sake One, the thoroughly unique, exceptionally exciting sake from...Oregon. It’s not exactly the first place that pops to mind when talk turns to great rice wine, but Sake One, and Sake Master Greg Lorenz, are changing that, and with gusto.
Honestly, there’s something special about this sake, and not just its origins and what that provenance stands for. It has something to do with both its balance of complexity and outright drinkability, as well as the doors it promises to open in this country. It possesses the all-too-rare combination of accessibility for the novice and interest for the connoisseur. And while the flavored sake in the portfolio--notably the crisp-flavored Asian pear and the sweeter plum versions--have the potential to spur on any number of interesting cocktails, it’s the more classic bottlings that really piqued my interest.
My tasting notes are below.
Aromas of creamy sesame and rice pudding combine with hints of dried pineapple and white chocolate, and lead to masculine flavors hinting at mango and sesame paste, creamed almond, and a sweet fruit note reminiscent of a pina colada. This is a flat-out delicious sake, wildly food-friendly and just as enjoyable on its own.
Bigger, richer nose than the Momokawa, and the alcohol is more apparent, but not overwhelmingly so. Notes of marcona almond and marzipan, toast, sweet coconut, white licorice, hints of smoke, and sun-warmed hay swirl around the nose. Flavors of flowers, peach, apricot, lemon zest, and hazelnut - milk chocolate napoleon are at once giving and assertive. Powerful, concentrated, and rich, this could successfully accompany everything from veal piccata and lemon chicken to heartier dishes like barbecue. Excellent.