It's Harvest Season! Let us rejoice in the rewards of the growing season and enjoy the product of our (and others) hard work with a few last trips to the farmer's market, a good bottle of saké and perhaps a picnic while the ground is still warm!
In Japan, this marks the time of Inekari (rice harvesting). Once considered a spiritual practice where harvesters would call upon the "spirits of the rice" or "Inadama" and give offerings to them.
Today, festivals are still held to harvest rice, and some farms allow visitors to watch and sometimes even help out. The harvest occurs between September and October. Just in time to gather the goods needed to brew saké in the winter. KANPAI!
Hananomai KATANA Extra Dry Junmai Ginjo
Flowers of Growth
Hananomai Brewing was founded in 1864 and is located in Shizuoka Prefecture (located on the south coast and known for it's views of Mt. Fuji) "Hana no mai" translates to "dance of the flowers", which is a traditional dance that celebrated the harvest in ancient times.
Their saké is made by hand using traditional methods, locally grown rice, and water from the Akaishi Mountains.
Katana has a milling percentage of 60%. Don't be deceived by the small, simplistic bottle, this saké is bold, full- bodied, and dry. It holds excellent depth that a lot of "dry" saké falls short on. It has a silky mouth feel, with notes of root vegetables and the lightest hint of tropical fruit.
Pair with Baked Brie (covered in your favorite jam and coated in puff pastry), a Spicy Kimchi Tofu Stew, or your favorite Steak recipe.
Saké for a Sommelier
Nagai Saké was founded in 1886 and is located in a small mountain town (Kawaba) in the Gunma Prefecture. The current president is Noriyoshi Nagai who created the off shoot company Mizubasho (named after this super cool plant.)
He is the successor of the family brewing company and left his studies as an architect to continue his families legacy. His saké is heavily influenced by the wine making world. His ultimate goal is to bring his saké into competition with wine. (Read more about it here.)
Although this saké is graded as a Ginjo, the Yamada Nishiki rice they used is polished to 50% which could technically give it a Daiginjo rating. It is fortified with a bit of distilled alcohol which adds fruitiness and a smooth finish. There are notes of pineapple, star anise, and chive with a medium body and a smooth, silky finish. They recommend drinking this slightly chilled in a Chardonnay glass.