Nobu Junmai Daiginjo Sake

By Raul Faria

So I have a confession to make. When I first heard that Nobu only carried sake from one brewer I pretty much had a “whutchu talkin about, Willis?” moment. It just seemed absurd to me that a restaurant as respected and innovative in its cuisine would be so restrictive in its beverage program. There are so many wonderful sake from so many brewers from different regions, using different sake rice, different water, different yeast, just so many variables which yield such different sake why would someone want to limit themselves to just one. Well I looked into this and I can sort of see where they are coming from by selecting this particular brewer although the sake lover in me just can’t settle down. I need my variety:) For now lets examine this really crisp, clean, delicious sake and what makes it so cool.

Nobu sake is brewed by Hokusetsu brewery on Sado Island in Niigata prefecture. Niigata prefecture is known as one of if not the most popular place for sake brewing and famous for being very dry and clean sake. Nobu restaurants have an exclusive distribution agreement with Hokusetsu brewery so if you are drinking Hokusetsu brewed sake outside of Japan you are doing at a Nobu location. There is some cool back story on why Nobu only carries Hokusetsu. Chef Nobuyuki Matsuhisa was first introduced to Hokusetsu sake by Japanese Rock Musician Eikichi Yazawa when he brought a bottle with him to Chef Matsuhisa’s restaurant in 1987 and after tasting the sake was enamoured with its dry, crisp clean flavor. The Ginjo boom in Japan started around 1981 and most sake at that time was Futsushu (table sake, the warm/hot stuff) which tends to be on the sweeter, heavier side. On his third try Chef Matsuhisa convinced the Hokusestu Brewery to allow him to carry it and is now exclusively sold in all the Nobu locations.

The sake itself is remarkable for its pale gold color. On the nose slight anise and cantaloupe. Very crisp, clean and dry (Niigata’s calling card) with a soft melon flavor. An astringent clean finish as well. Pair this with anything you would pair well most whitefish, light grilled poultry dishes, shell-fish and of course sushi and sashimi. If you have a Nobu in your city go and get some and leave us a post:)


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