We are hosting a special tasting of Kikuhime Brewery, one of the most revered producers traditional saké in Japan. Jonathan Read, the Founder and Director of Epicurean Selections, the exclusive US importer of Kikuhime Brewery, will lead this extraordinary tasting of some of Japan's rarest and treasured saké.
The tasting lineup includes the brewery's highly prized Yamahai Saké made with the AAA Class Yamadanishiki rice grown in the rice fields of Yokawa in Hyogo Prefecture. Saké producers consider this rice as Grand Cru, similar to Burgundy's classification. As a very special treat we will pour Kikuhime's Library Release from 2004/2005 aged at the brewery's low temperature storage.
ABOUT KIKUHIME SAKE BREWERY
Kikuhime Saké Brewery was established in 1573 by the Yanagi family in Ishikawa Prefecture. The brewery is located near Hakusan Mountain from where the natural water used in brewing originates from. The brewery sources its rice from Hyogo Prefecture, specifically in Yokawa where the Yamadanishiki rice is grown. The brewery is focused on brewing saké of the highest quality using the best rice, pristine natural water, top brewing skill, and centuries of experience. To achieve the top quality, the brewery has remained small and continues to be run by the Yanagi family.
Kikuhime changed their traditionally bold and rich style, that was popular among the workers of Ishikawa Prefecture, to a more nuanced Ginjo, but with plenty of bite and structure. In the 1970s and 80s they were a pioneer in reviving the traditional Yamahai method where sake naturally develops its own lactic acid and receives influence and character from the local environment. Yamahai develops big-boned structure, deep layers of flavor and bright acidity.
Given the rich and bold nature of their sake, they have also explored the possibility of aging like almost no other sake makers. They age at low temperature and release sake only when it is deemed ready, waiting anywhere from a standard 6 months to an unheard of 10 years or more. While many aged sake drink nutty from oxidization, Kikuhime aged sake mellows and deepens, developing layers of flavor and subtle aromatics.
With the small amounts produced, the years of aging needed to produce each bottle and the centuries of experience crafting sake, Kikuhime has become one of the most renowned and sought after sake in the world, prized by chefs and restaurants for its nuanced pairings, and by collectors who enjoy the subtleties that develop over the years. In the Bay Area, their saké can be found on the lists of Single-Thread, State Bird, and The Progress. In New York and elsewhere, their saké can be found at Masa, Sushi Noz, Sushi Yoshino, Sushi Nakasawa, Momofuku-ko, Torien, and NAOE, to name a few.
ABOUT EPICUREAN SELECTIONS AND JONATHAN READ
Jonathan fell in love with Kikuhime while living in Japan as a chef and restaurant consultant over 20 years ago. Kikuhime is legendary for making deep and powerful saké that were unlike anything he had experienced before, kind of the polar opposite of the mint and melon brews you might expect from Niigata. Their sake’s bold character and peerless ability to age were something that he had never experienced before and knew he wanted to introduce to the US. After years of work and building a relationship with the brewery, Jonathan started to build a company for the importation of Kikuhime into the USA with its first shipment arriving into the state in early 2020.
ABOUT VINEYARD GATE
Vineyard Gate Selections, LLC We are a specialized bottle shop that sell natural wines and craft saké at our location at 238 Broadway in Millbrae, CA. We have been in business since 1998. We have an online shop at vineyardgate.com and ship wines and saké in most places in the continental US. Our wine and saké selections are highly curated. We only sell products that are artisanal, made manually by highly skilled individuals. We avoid mass produced commercial and industrial brands. We offer wine and saké tastings at our shop during business hours. Our shop is open 6 days a week. Tuesday-Wednesday from 12pm to 6pm, Thursday from 11am to 7pm, Friday from 11am to 8pm, and Saturday from 11am to 7pm.