The Sophia Loren of Sake

by Jed Gushman on December 14, 2010 | Comments Off on The Sophia Loren of Sake |

Kubota Ginjo Genshu Sake

Merry Christmas to me

In my dreams, Hunter S. Thompson is my pharmacist and my kitchen faucet dispenses an endless stream of crisp, cold Kubota Manju Sake. Don’t get me wrong, my reality isn’t bad. Rush Limbaugh sends me his extras, I’m lucky enough to live in Hawaii and I just opened a bottle of 25th Anniversary Kubota Ginjo Genshu Sake with friends over a delectable meal.

I’m a sake neophyte, but I’m pretty sure the name “Kubota” loosely translated means “intoxicating angel tears.” This Kanji is hard to read. Kubota is produced at the Asahi Brewery and has become one of the most famous global Sake brands. The luscious nectar originates in the Niigata prefecture, home of over 100 Sake breweries, of which Kubota reigns supreme. Niigata sake is known for being light, dry and clean. Pure mountain water and premium sake rice are just part of the magical recipe. The rice polishing ratio is 62% (meaning 62 % of the grain is milled away, leaving a grain just 38% of its original size) while the national average for daiginjo, the highest grade of sake, is just 50%. Niigata Sake’s unusually high polishing ratio means that more of the substances that can cause unpleasant flavors and aromas are removed, leaving high quality starch that brings a light and refreshing flavor to the sake.

Hawaii gets a very limited allocation of the Kubota line, and the top shelf Manju is only available in select restaurants. Only six cases of the 25th Anniversary Ginjo Genshu made it to the islands, and I felt incredibly fortunate to have secured a bottle. With anticipation not felt since childhood Christmas Eve, we opened the vessel of Nihongo love potion. The tasting experience is as subtle, elegant and tender as I imagine a first kiss with Sophia Loren might be. Light aromas of pear and honeysuckle and smooth perfection from start to finish only begin to describe the sublime bliss in a glass that is Kubota’s liquid gold. A piece of O-toro paired with a glass of Kubota is transcendent!

Short of sharing a post-kiss libation with Ms. Loren, I can’t imagine a more delicious drinking experience.

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