| Aug 5, 2001

The perfect shape for sake

by John Gauntner

The question of what vessel to use when drinking sake is an important one. Not only do the shape and size affect how flavor and fragrance are presented and emphasized, but the appearance and feel of a vessel also influences the overall experience. The ...

| Jul 22, 2001

Gifts from the 'god of sake'

by John Gauntner

Throughout the history of sake brewing, there has been a handful of individuals who have had a huge impact on the craft in the form of technical developments or discoveries. One such benefactor of brewing was Professor Kin’ichi Noshiro of Kumamoto. Hired as a ...

| Jul 8, 2001

When your number's up . . .

by John Gauntner

Although all that you will ever need to know about a sake is contained in one, intention-laden sip, sometimes the technical mumbo jumbo can be fun to study as well. The industry always seems to offer one more piece of information every few years, ...

| Jun 24, 2001

Juttoku covers all the bases

by John Gauntner

Juttoku comes close to being all things to all people. Although it has been around for 20 years, it doesn’t attract too much attention, sitting quietly on the edge of the concrete jungle of Shinjuku. A sugidama, that cedar ball heralding good sake times ...

| Jun 10, 2001

Sake gold standards shifting

by John Gauntner

Last week, on May 30, the Zenkoku Shinshu Kanpyo Kai, or National New Sake Tasting Competition, was held in Hiroshima. This year 1,133 sake that made it through the nine regional competitions were tasted blindly by a panel of government-employed, highly trained judges. Out ...

| May 27, 2001

Worth jumping off the train for

by John Gauntner

With the proliferation of bars and restaurants serving decent nihonshu, there is no need to make a big deal out of searching for a “proper” sake pub. Dotted throughout the sprawling underground shopping areas that lie below many of the major stations in Japan ...

| Apr 15, 2001

Let's raise a glass to the final batch

by John Gauntner

The sake brewing season is drawing to a close. Except for the handful of large breweries that brew year-round in climate-controlled factories, most sakagura (breweries) will be finishing up their brewing sometime this month. Naturally, there will be ceremonies connected with significant activities within ...

| Mar 22, 2001

What's in a number?

by John Gauntner

At the end of each Nihonshu column, a recommended sake is introduced to readers. Along with the name and grade, three “vital statistics” are also given. These numbers — the nihonshu-do, the acidity and the seimai-buai — are supposed to give a clue as ...

| Mar 8, 2001

Life after sake's zing has gone

by John Gauntner

Just like wine, sake has a very short life span once the bottle has been opened. In fact, like wine, sake should be consumed soon after opening to ensure that delicate fragrances and flavors remain intact. Although this varies from sake to sake, in ...