Pretty Sakes In A Row

Here at MFD, we carry this range of Kitaya sake:

  • Kitaya Premium Tokubetsu Junmai
    Kitaya Gin No Sato
    Kitaya 50% Migaki

Let’s have a quick review.

The Kitaya brand of sake is from the prefecture of Fukuoka in the region of Kyushu. This is the southern most region of Japan.

The Kitaya Junmai Ginjyo (Pleasureful Family) Sake is one of the wine gems of the world. This is a pure sake made from 60% Yamada Nishiki and 40% Yume Ikkon sake rice from the Tsukushi Plains in the Yama Region. It is mild, mellow and deliciously aromatic. This sake is best served chilled or on the rocks.

Tokubetsu Junmai Kitaya Premium

We featured this flawless sake sometime back in September 2019. It’s still one of our all-time favourites.

It’s light and heady texture make this a drink you do not need an excuse to have – with or without the accompaniment of food.

If you’re looking to pair it with a bite, do so with Japanese food. Its mellow and fruity taste will provide just the right taste-mix to enhance your experience.

Kitaya Gin No Sato

The Kitaya Gin No Sato’s dry, light, and crisp taste is an impeccable companion for a warm evening (and that’s just about almost most evenings). This is best served chilled in a wine glass.

Kitaya 50% Migaki

The strangeness of the brand name (50%) is derived from the grains of rice – the Yamada Nishiki and Omachi – that has been polished down to 50%.

As with the first 2 varieties – Kitaya Gin No Sato and Tokubetsu Junmai Kitaya Premium – the Kitaya 50% Migaki has a fruity aroma, light and crisp, dry, and perfect for some casual whispers with your date.

 

Sake – Origins

No one knows where sake originated from. The earliest known production happened in China around 500 BC. It was crude with villages chewing and spitting rice and nuts into the tub to be stored and left to ferment. Reports indicate that the enzymes produced as a result of the saliva helped in the fermentation process. Urgh…

By the 1300s, sake would become the most ceremonious beverage in Japan. Several of the family-owned breweries that began in the Meiji Restoration period ((1868 – 1912) exist till today.

In recent times, western spirits such as beer and wine have relegated sake’s popularity. But there is a growing resurgence in its popularity with many connoisseurs of western spirits singing its praises resulting in the emergence of many sake breweries outside Japan.

MFD imports the very best sake from Japan.  What is oh so different between sake and its western counterpart, wine, is its price. Wine is terribly expensive but high-end sake (they are mostly high-end) is priced almost similar to table wine, which is a travesty! However, much to the delight of sake aficionados, we profit from it. SO long may it continue to be affordable.

Kanpai!

White Sake Part 3

Sake is a drink for the sophisticates who appreciate and recognise fine liquor. The story of the White Sake (the concluding part below) tells of how only the wise and humble are able to savour the richness of the white sake. While this fable is clear in its lessons, an overarching truth we may take from it is that as with all things and situations we come across, we must remain open to the new and the untried; to take it in our stride tastes and smells that we are unfamiliar with; to experience physical and soulful touch that we had never before experienced.

Sake is more than just a drink. The richness of sake lies in its history, the tradition; the culture. You imbibe sake like you would wisdom and truth.

Continuing the story of the White Sake Part 3 

Beginning of Part 3

Koyuri led the way, weeping the while at the loss of his saké, which Mamikiko had thrown away, and fearing the anger of his red friends. In the usual place, they found the strangers, who had both been drinking and were still doing so. Mamikiko was surprised at their appearance: he had seen nothing quite like them before. Their bodies were of the pink of cherry blossom shining in the sun, while their long red hair almost frightened him; both were naked except for a green girdle made of some curious seaweed.

‘Well, boy Koyuri, what are you crying about, and why back so soon? Has your father drunk the saké already? If so he must be almost as fond of it as we.’

‘No, no: my father has not drunk it; but Mamikiko, here, took it from me and drank some, spitting it out and saying it was not saké; the rest he threw away, and then made me bring him here. May I have some more for my father?’ The red man refilled the gourd and told him not to mind, and seemed amused at Koyuri’s account of Mamikiko spitting it out.

‘I am as fond of saké as anyone,’ cried Mamikiko: ‘will you give me some?’

Read more

White Sake Part 2

The Story of the White Sake

Beginning of Part 2

Thinking always of his father, Koyuri unslung his gourd, reported his father’s illness, and begged for saké. The red man took the gourd, and filled it. After expressing gratitude, Koyuri ran off delighted. ‘Here, father, here!’ said he as he reached his hut: ‘I have got you the saké, the best I have ever seen, and I am sure it tastes as good as it looks; try it and tell me!’

The old man took the wine and drank greedily, expressing great satisfaction, and said that it was indeed the best he had ever tasted. Next day he wanted more. The boy found his two red friends, and again they filled the gourd. In short, Koyuri had his gourd filled for five days in succession, and his father had regained spirits and was almost well in consequence.

Now, there lived in the next hut to Yurine an unpleasant neighbour who also was fond of saké, but too poor to procure it. His name was Mamikiko. On hearing that Yurine had been drinking saké for the last five days he became furiously jealous, and, calling Koyuri, asked where and how he had procured it. The boy explained that he had got it from the strange people with red hair who had been living near the big pine tree for some days past.

‘Give me your gourd to taste,’ cried Mamikiko, snatching it roughly. ‘Do you think that your father is the only man who is good enough for saké?’ Putting the gourd to his lips, he began to drink; but he threw it down in disgust a second later, and spat out what was in his mouth. ‘What filth is this?’ he cried. ‘To your father you give the most excellent saké, while to me you give foul water! What is the meaning of it?’ He gave Koyuri a sound beating, and then told him to lead the way to the red people on the beach, saying, ‘I will beat you again if I don’t get some good saké; so you had better see to it!’

End of Part 2

…to be continued.

How do you define the taste of sake? While some may gag in disgust, there are others who will lavish the exquisiteness of a fine drink on their lovers. As with all fine liquor, drinking sake is like seduction: a little at a time, to taste; to feel the smoothness of the liquid as it flows down the throat, warming your body, and deepening your mental clarity for the one you desire.

Grab your bottles of sake from MFD. 

White Sake

(…) there lived one Yurine, a man of poor means even for those days. He loved saké wine, and scarcely ever spent a day without drinking some of it. Yurine lived near the place which is now called Sudzukawa, a little to the north of the river known as Fujikawa.

On the day which followed Fuji San’s appearance, Yurine became ill and was in consequence unable to drink his cup of saké. He became worse and worse, and, at last feeling that there could be no hope for him, decided to give himself the pleasure of drinking a cup before he died. Accordingly, he called to himself his only son, Koyuri, a boy of fourteen years, and told him to go and fetch him a cup or two of the wine. Koyuri was sorely perplexed. He had no saké in the house, and there was not a single coin left wherewith to buy. This he did not like to tell his father, fearing that the unpleasant state of affairs might make him worse. So he took his gourd and went wandering along the beach, wondering how he could get what his father wanted. While thus employed Koyuri heard a voice calling him by name. As he looked up towards the pines which fringed the beach, he saw a man and a woman sitting beneath an immense tree; their hair was a scarlet red, and so were their bodies. At first, Koyuri was afraid,—he had never seen their like before,—but the voice was kindly, and the man was making signs to him to approach. Koyuri did so in fear and trembling, but with that coolness which characterises the Japanese boy.

As Koyuri approached the strange people he noticed that they were drinking saké from large flat cups known as ‘sakadzuki,’ and that on the sand beside them was an immense jar, from which they took the liquor; moreover, he noticed that the saké was whiter than any he had seen before.

How does the story end?

…to be continued.

The white sake depicted here is possibly nigori,  a cloudy or milky sake, which is becoming increasingly popular due to its lightly sweet taste and rich, creamy texture. Nigori sake is unfiltered or roughly filtered so that some of the rice sediment is left in the sake, giving it a cloudy or milky appearance.

Kampai!

MFD.

P.S. As you ponder over the story of the white sake, grab a bottle of Shirakawago sasanigori sake from MFD to experience the cloudy, layered, semi-sweet, silky taste of a nigori sake. Imagine the beautiful moment as Koyuri laid eyes on a nigorizake for the very first time.

The Bliss

Good day,

I could easily write a blog on sake but there are so many other good sites on this luscious drink. And in truth, I could never describe sake the way some of them do.

But if I’m not going to write about sake on a platform that promotes -and sells – the wine, what then can I write about? How can I write, weekly, about something and still bring us home to the magnificence; the flavours; the textures of the rich culture of sake. And Japan.

Ah, sake and Japan. One is not the same without the other – like a couple forever entwined in love.

I thought long and hard about the theme for the blog: drew mind maps – lots of mind maps -, spoke to numerous people: many of whom had the notion that sake can only be drunk with sashimi, sushi, and tempura; picked up my guitar, played and sang for inspiration; watched ROM-COMS, English dramas, thrillers, action-movies; listened to all genres of music; read and read; drank and drank copious amounts of sake.

Nothing. Na-da.

And then one morning, after a night with Yoshinogawa Karakuchi, a gorgeous soul whispered delectably into my ear, “Tell them stories.” “But they don’t want to hear my stories”, I replied. She smiled and poured me another glass of Kiss of Fire.

I awoke from my dream.

And I knew what I had to do.

Like Paul McCartney who awoke with the melody for ‘Yesterday’ stuck in his head, I turned to my pen and paper and wrote down exactly what I needed to do.

Tell stories.

Not my stories but modern Japanese stories from literary scribes such as Nagai Tatsuo, Mishima Yukio, and Tanizaki Junichiro. I shall take passages from their stories and tell you how these might relate to the world around us.

The beauty of Japanese art: sake, culture, paintings, poetry, literature lies in its simplicity. I call it The Bliss.

I hope that I can guide you into the splendour of The Bliss.

Kanpai!

Gene.