Whether you are a devout sake enthusiast or interested in learning more about this storied Japanese beverage, we hope you to join us at K&L RWC this Friday March 4th at 5 p.m. for a special Sake tasting, hosted by our resident Sake expert, Melissa Smith.
Melissa's interest in sake dovetails with her years of experience in the culinary arts. Melissa worked in the kitchens of Terra, the French Laundry, the Inn at Little Washington, Picasso, and several others around the country, while working as a freelance writer and restaurant consultant, before landing back in the Bay Area and joining the K&L team. Throughout those years, Melissa always felt sake was misunderstood in the western food and wine world, and she made it part of her mission to educate foodies out there of the possibilities of sake as a revelatory food wine. Last year, Melissa completed the curriculum and examinations required by the SEC (Sake Education Council) to become a Certified Sake Professional. Since her arrival in December of 2009, the K&L staff and customers have benefited from Melissa's sake enthusiasm and expertise. Thanks to her we carry more high quality sakes (and a greater variety) than ever before!
Below, Melissa dishes on her experiences in Tokyo and what foods she recommends with her favorite Taru Sake, a special type of sake that has been aged in wood:
Melissa Smith, on Taru Sake:
"My love of Taru sake grew from sensory experiences I had while I was living in the Chinzan-so district of Tokyo. Taru sake is typically a dry Japanese sake that has been aged in large cedar kegs and is characterized by its refreshing taste and the aroma of Yoshino cedar grown in the Nara Prefecture in Japan.
Yoshino cedar was used in everything from wooden bathing buckets in the onsen baths to traditional sake cups known as Masu, where sake was served spilling over the brim of the box to signify wealth and prosperity. The Masu is actually the original form of measuring the amount of rice that would feed one person for one day. A traditional Masu hold six ounces of sake, or nearly a cup of rice.
Yoshino cedar has been traditionally considered as the best wood for making sake casks because of the consistency of its grain and its excellent aroma. The Taru sakes typically have a light golden color from the contact with the cedar vessels in which they are aged.
While some Taru sakes can show strong wood flavor characteristics like oak-aged Chardonnay or the Greek Retsina, there are some lovely balanced Tarus where the cedar is a compliment to the sake, the nose hinting at a Northwestern forest after a light rain. It won't overwhelm food, rather it will add another dimension that can give complexity and mystique to a dish. Taru sake is best served chilled, but can also be enjoyed at room temperature or slightly warmed to just above body temperature.
The Kikusakari Taru Sake from the Ibaraki region is one the best Taru Sakes I have ever tasted. This time of year, with all the cold weather we've been having, I suggest enjoying this sake warm, with a warm potato salad flecked with smoked trout and roasted beets and dotted with fresh goat cheese."
Come meet Melissa and join us at K&L RWC this Friday March 4th at 5 p.m. This special tasting will feature a range of distinctive sakes and is an excellent opportunity to learn while enjoying the subtle pleasures of this unique Japanese beverage.
What: Sake Tasting at K&L RWC
When: Friday March 4, 5-6:30 p.m.
SHOP SAKE on KLWines.com
To check out all upcoming events and tastings at the K&L near you, visit Klwines.com/LocalEvents.