09 February 2015

Saké and Cheese Tasting

In December, I got to participate in a very curious online tasting along with other wine writers around the world. We had a pairing of saké and cheese, two things that you don't normally think would go with each other. How did this come about?

Our tasting was hosted by a charming couple Jesse Pugach is the Sake Specialist Southern Wines & Spirits, while Liza Kaplansky works for the Marin French Cheese Company. Their mutual passions pair surprisingly well and it was great to share in their enthusiasm during the tasting featuring both domestic and imported bottles from SakéOne. Most of my notes were conversational and live on Twitter, but here are brief descriptions of the four pairings.

Momokawa Organic Junmai Ginjo
Forest Grove, Oregon
Clean and crisp with a beery flavor, excellent for the newcomer to the world of saké.

Marin French Petite Breakfast Brie
Thick and firm with a buttery flavor. Why am I just now learning about breakfast brie? This is amazing and was my favorite cheese of the evening. Highly recommended.

Momokawa Organic Nigori
Forest Grove, Oregon
Creamy and mild with a clean finish. Nigori is the style that is unfiltered and must be gently agitated before consuming, and it pours as a milky white fluid.

Laura Chenel’s Chévre
Mild, not too much of the classic goat aroma/flavor, with a salty mouthfeel. Needs some cured meats to go along with it.

Kasumi Tsuru Kimoto Extra Dry
Hyogo Prefecture, Japan
Kimoto is an ancient style that takes twice as long as the modern brewing process. The result for this bottle is earthy and mushroomy, which would definitely appeal to fans of certain French wines bearing those characteristics.

Laura Chenel’s Ash-rinded Buchette
Excellent pairing with this one, which was funky and earthy, a little tart, and very savory. It was difficult to move on to the next matchup and work on Twitter when I just wanted a moment to sit back and enjoy the two together. But that's what leftovers are for, and the next day I gave each element the time it deserved.

Yoshinogawa Winter Warrior Junmai Ginjo
Niigata Prefecture, Japan
Floral nose with hints of anise. Very interesting and smooth, with a mild body.

Rogue River Blue Cheese
This Oregon cheese is perhaps the best known and most widely distributed of the four. Creamy, buttery, tart, with just enough earth, this is a classic domestic bleu.

Note: These bottles and cheeses were provided as samples for review.

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