I write as a bearer of good news. It is with sheer delight to note that the premium Fudoh Sake of Nabedana Brewery, Japan is making its first overseas expansion to Singapore. Introduced at the Sake tasting event held at the popular Ginza Kuroson, we were hosted by Sakemaster Kan Otsuka, the current and 19th generation descendent of the brewery. The Fudoh Sake is the sacred sake for Buddha offered at the Naritasan Shinshoji, one of the three biggest temples in eastern Japan.
Four different sakes were paired with the omakase lunch prepared by Chef Koezuka Yoshihiko, and each will be presented at the 2014 Beer Fest held at the Marina Promenade. Ready to have a glimpse at one of Japan’s biggest secrets?
The Beam Suntory group will be bringing in 4 varieties from the Nabedana Brewery.
From left to right :
- Fudoh Special Junmai (RPR 60%; Miyamanishiki Rice; SMV +3; Acidity 1.6)
- Fudoh Junmai Ginjo (RPR 55%; Sakekomachi Rice; SMV +2; Acidity 1.5)
- Fudoh Junmai Daiginjo (RPR 50%; Sakekomachi Rice; SMV +2; Acidity 1.4)
- Fudoh Ginjo Nigori (RPR 60%; Fusakogane Rice; SMV +3; Acidity 1.2)
We were privileged to have Sakemaster Kan Otsuka introducing the Nabedana brewery’s history. Nabedana is one of the oldest breweries in Japan and has been crafting superior sake in Narita city near Naritasan Shinshoji Temple since 1689. With 324 years of Sake making history, the Nabedana brewery is eastern Japan’s oldest sakemaking family. The brewery uses a new local variety of rice called the Sake Komachi which is grown in the Akita prefecture. Translated as the ‘beauty of sake’, this rice is often regarded as being on par with Yamadanishiki – the king of sake rice.
The sakes for the day were served in wine glasses to allow one to appreciate each individual sake’s aromatics as its develops from start to finish.
First up, we have the Fudoh Special Junmai paired with the starters from the chef’s kitchen. The Miyamanishiki rice, grown in Akita prefecture is polished to 60%. It carries an SMV of +3 and an acidic value of 1.6. Best served either cold or hot, the sake goes well with rich, flavourful appetizers, wagyu, oden and raw sliced red fish. I found the aromas to be a neutral and slightly flat with its taste bold and distinct – a mix of medium sweet rich flavours from its slightly higher acidity level.
The second sake of Fudoh Junmai Ginjo is paired with a serving of Bonito and shoyu. The sake, its Sakekomachi rice grown in the Akita prefecture, has an Rice Polishing Ratio (RPR) of 55%, and SMV of +2, and acidity value at 1.5. It is best served cold to room temperature with sushi, tempura, yakitori, shabushabu, and raw sliced red fish. The sake was a touch less acidic, with its fragrance more distinctively floral and sweet. It was crisp and refreshing.
A serving of pan seared beef that was paired with my favourite, the Fudoh Junmai Daiginjo. The sake carries an RPR of 50%, and is made from sakekomachi rice grown in the Akita prefecture. It has an SMV of +2 with an acidity value at 1.4. It is best served cold or at room temperature. The aroma was distinctly floral, and a pleasure to indulge in. With a slightly lower SMV value, this was softer to drink. The touch of acidity was good in developing the beef’s flavours, while cutting any leftover aromas between each portion.
As the Omakase continued, Chef served up a portion of Flatfish in Shoyu. This was an excellent dish with the fish meat whole and firm, yet with a tenderness that proved brittle in each bite. The flavours lightly sea sweet and intensified with the shoyu proved to be an excellent pairing with the Fudoh Special Junmai.
Another shot of the Flatfish and the Fudoh Special Junmai. It’s great to hear that fish at Ginza Kuroson is flown in three times a week from Japan.
The staple of Chirashi Don for the Omakase arrived and it was once again paired with the Fudoh Junmai Daiginjo.
To round up the entire Omakase session, we had the Fudoh Ginjo Nigori. This peculiar unfiltered sake has an RPR of 60%, and its Fusakogane rice is grown in the Chiba prefecture. It carries an SMV of +3 and an acidity value of 1.2. It is best served cold and served alongside hot pots or rich appetizers. This stood as another equal favourite to the Fudoh Junmai Daiginjo. Both are distinct and different in their own right. This one in particular carries a more nutty fragrance in addition to its subtle floral notes. Each sip was mild and wholesome, reminding you of a certain savoury sweetness from the rice grains that started it all. I found it well paired with the dessert of coffee jelly.
The interior of Ginza Kuroson. It definitely looks like a fabulous place, one that I will return soon for an awesome spread of fresh fish.
Sakemaster Kan Otsuka and me
Trying out the 4 different varieties of Sake from the Nabedana brewery was truly memorable and exciting. My clear favourites are the Fudoh Junmai Daiginjo and the Fudoh Ginjo Nigori, each with their own placing and standards in flavour and aromatics. The sake will soon be making its way into Singapore (I’ll update pricing and purchase locations later). However, if you are keen to try out this range of excellent sake to perhaps go along with your spread of Japanese cuisine, the Beam Suntory booths at Beerfest 2014 will feature this collection and more. Maybe the next time when I’m back at Ginza Kuroson to dine, the Nabedana sake will be available and become the next marvelous companion to the Japanese meal.