Two Sakes

Appearing along with the recent dump of imported wines at some San Francisco Bay Area stores, 300ml bottles of three Manotsuru sakes from Obata Shuzo, Niigata prefecture, Japan, were also on offer for $6 each.   (Selected and shipped by Kura Selections.  Imported by Vino del Sol.)  Here are the two which looked more promising to me, although the third, “Lucky Toki,” is probably fine, too.


The “Kumiko” (Ginjo) appeared to have a profile similar to the “Lucky Toki,” but promised to be better because the rice was milled down farther.  According to the label, it’s named to honor the current matriarch of the brewing operation, and the sake is suitably substantial and perhaps you could say “feminine.”  The flavors show a soft rice richness, integrated with a subtly fruity character, although dry.  It is immediately engaging and delicious.





Sake_DaimyoThe “Daimyo” (Tokubetsu Honjozo) seemed like I might like it best because it was “extra dry” and labeled “honjozo,” meaning that extra spirits were added, raising the alcohol level and often making the sake more delicately aromatic.  However, tasted side by side, this sake is less immediately “obvious,” but a little way into the taste, it is more solid and perhaps more subtly compelling, with a harder and smoother rice character, and slightly more acid.  I could not choose which of these two I preferred.

Many sakes I have tried, such as most I have gotten from Trader Joe’s, have been rather disjoint and inharmonious.  While I did not find either of these incredible, they were both nicely smooth and integrated.  I guess these are minor bottlings for this brewery, since neither is listed on its web site, but I think for this price, I can go with Thumbs Up.


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