Tonight was the night for Zipang Sparkling Sake! I was a little skeptical at first. I’ve had some good and bad sake experiences. My first was in my younger days when I purchased a bottle of sake from the local grocery, having no idea what it was–expecting a serious ‘kick’ when I drank it. Boy, was I disappointed. However, since then, I’ve grown to learn a little bit more about sake. As the saying goes, ‘with age comes wisdom’.
I can’t help but comparing sake to wine, but they are a different animal altogether. Despite their obvious difference in the use of raw materials (i.e. rice versus grapes; grain versus fruit; yeasts only versus koji and yeast), sake can differ just as much as the many grape varietals and fruits used to make wine. Additionally there is great skill involved in the production of both. However, as mentioned in a previous post, sake isn’t rice wine. It’s sake. And it’s brewed.
Zipang is classified as Junmai-shu sake, meaning that the rice used has been milled or polished to the point where at least 30 percent of the grain of the rice has been removed, or at least 70% remains.
Not wanting to include a complete rewrite of a previous post, there are different grades of sake. There are some, however, like Zipang, which although a true sake, are produced for specific market. Sparkling Sake, as far as I’ve seen, is something relatively new to sake drinkers– considering the beverage has been around for hundreds of years. Certainly the sleek, easy to carry, chill and enjoy packaging is a plus–slightly reminiscent of picking up a six pack of suds on the way home from work. Now, you can have sake whenever you want…a definite alternative on a hot summer day to beer or flavored malt beverage.
I chilled my 250ml bottle down in my fridge for days and then popped it open. A unique pull top on the bottle gave way to a nice pop, with naturally fermented CO2 leaving a hazy mist floating above the lip. Suppressing my urge to guzzle it straight from the bottle, I took the advice of the folks at Gekkeikan and poured some into a flute. Right away I notice a pale amber hue, reminding me of champagne, but with far less bubbles. Nevertheless, the slightly sweet fruity aroma was very present on the nose. My first sip was nice, slightly fruity with a clean, crisp finish, although not overly dry. I can’t help but compare it to a nice Reisling but with effervescence.
Even in cocktails, Zipang is enjoyable. From the Gekkeikan website: one of the suggested recipes:
The Ninja Bellini:
- 4 parts Zipang Sparkling Sake
- 1 part peach schnapps
- Pour schnapps into a champagne flute. Top with Zipang Sparkling Sake
This sake is simply great. I love the ease at which I can now enjoy a good quality chilled sake wherever I choose to go. I look forward to paring it with one of my favorite sushi dishes…of course, it’s a Crawfish Roll! It’s Louisiana after all!
Zipang Sparkling Sake part of the Gekkiekan family of products, which includes other fine sake as well as plum wine, and is imported and distributed by Sidney Frank Importing Company, Inc.