If we are new to sake we will likely be looking for a mild flavour and a light sake. Yes, sake does indeed have a different taste profile from wine. But Japan’s national beverage is distinctive, complex and can be rewarding to those who appreciate its layers and balance.
I found Ozeki Dry Sake particularly interesting as it is the first sake I have tasted that has been produced outside Japan. In 1711 Ozeki Sake was established in Imazu, Hyogo prefecture, which has long been praised for its great water quality, and this year it hosted the IWC Sake judging.
In order to better provide fresh sake for the US market, Ozeki started its U.S. production in Hollister, California, in 1979. Ozeki was the first Japanese sake brewer to locally produce sake within the U.S. They use local rice grown especially for sake-making; water being the other key component, Hollister was selected for its clear water from the Sierra Nevada.
Works well with food
This is a Junmai style of sake that is made with water, the essential koji mold, yeast and rice. Junmai uses rice that has had 30% milled away, with 70% of each grain remaining. It’s refreshingly dry and smooth with fruit flavours. It can be consumed warm but I think its qualities are best enjoyed chilled when its crisp characteristics come to the fore.
Ozeki Dry works well with food. Yes, obviously sashimi and sushi but also Western dishes such as grilled oily fish like mackerel, or with chicken salad, and it’s exceptional with shellfish. The alcohol content is 14.5% which is on the low side for sake.
Buy this sake with hot summer evenings and alfresco dining in mind.
Drinks review by Chrissie Walker © 2018