January 10, 2014 at 10:27 AM

33 Sakes in 33 Days: #5 Uehara ‘Forest Spirit’

Honey's Sake Symposium from Ten Thousand Waves.

By Honey Harris

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Today we wrap up our first week of sampling sake from Ten Thousand Waves' new restaurant, Izanami. I tell ya, I am really taking in a lot of information about sake and this is really fun, especially getting to taste these delicious sakes. Today the featured sake at Izanami is Uehara "Forest Spirit." Did you know that most sakes are pasteurized? The Forest Spirit sake, however, is not pasteurized which makes it livelier. This sake is a junmai, and if you recall from earlier this week with our sake symposium, that means it is a "pure" sake, made only from rice, water, koji and yeast. When we were served this sake the server poured it at the table to where it actually overflowed. This was on purpose and not being sloppy, in case you were wondering.  It symbolized abundance. I LOVE Japanese culture. There was an awkward moment when I wasn't sure how to deftly pick up the glass without spilling but then Kaz told me that I had to "kiss" the glass first. By that he meant that I was supposed to bring my lips to the glass and sip before trying to lift the glass. Wow, another cool Japanese custom. This sake tasted bright and was slightly cloudy. It pairs very well with fried food and speaking of which, this tasted really good with Chef Kim Muller's crispy brussel sprouts and her fantastic lightly fried chicken. Yum. The Uehara Brewery was founded in 1862 and is located near the shores of Lake Biwa. The brewery still uses wooden presses and fermentation vats in their traditional brewing process. Much of their production is done without the addition of cultivated yeasts. All of the rice used at Uehara Brewery is locally grown, contracted to local farmers committed to sustainable farming practices. And as you know, all of this influences the particular taste of this sake.

Today at Izanami they are featuring Uehara "Forest Spirit", so you can drive up to Ten Thousand Waves and sample this delicious sake yourself. And of course, Chef Kim Muller's out-of-this-world menu will taste so spectacular with this sake, too. Don't forget that today you can log onto santafe.com keyword sake and register to win dinner for two at Izanami and a private hot tub for two. You just have to name all 5 of the sakes I've tasted this week. On Monday, we'll announce the winner. Stay tuned in the 10 a.m. hour every weekday to hear me talking about the sake of the day from the fine folks at Ten Thousand Waves and Izanami.

Enter the contest here.

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