For this holiday season, Michael Tremblay, ki's Head National Sake Sommelier has chosen several sakes that are versatile, savoury and will ward cold winter temperatures. Whether you are enjoying sake at ki or organizing your own social event, these sakes are perfect for the myriad of flavours that come to the table at this time of year!
When you see "Kimoto" on bottle, the sake has been made using ancient techniques going back to Japan's Edo Period. This is a laborious process of using wooden oars to mix and pulverize the rice mash, and encourage the beginning of fermentation. It takes a full two weeks longer to start fermentatiion than the 'modern' method used today but it creates wonderful umami, that Japanese wod meaning savouriness or deliciousness. Kimoto sake are among the most versatile sake you will come across! You can serve them chilled or warm and they will pair well with delicate dishes or richer meats (think braised short ribs or miso black cod!).
Here are a couple to look out for, currently available at ki:
Daishichi Kimoto Honjozo - The Daishichi brewery, established in 1752, is one of the most revered sake breweries in Japan. The brewery only produces kimoto-style sake in all grades, from this Honjozo sake to their top-tier Junmai Daiginjo "Minowamon". The Daishichi Kimoto is very approachable, with savoury notes of cereal, banana bread, and just the right touch of creaminess.
Otokoyama "Mans Mountain" Tokubetsu Junmai Kimoto - This delicate kimoto is from Japan's northernmost sake brewery, located in northern Hokkaido. Their brewing water is sourced from the snow melt of the Daisetsu volcanic range to the east of the brewery, which is pure, crisp and with just the right amount of mineral hardness. Consequently, the Tokubetsu Junmai Kimoto is cream, crisp and dry with some righness and complexity from the kimoto making. This one is wonderful chilled or warm.