Earlier in the week I took part in a nightly ritual, flipping through the channels knowing there would be nothing on I would care to watch when I stumbled upon The Wizard of Oz. It got me thinking back to my childhood when the showing of the classic movie was special. Dinner was served early so the table could be cleared and cleaned before the start of the movie and I in my PJ’s would be allowed to stay up past my bedtime. The next day my friends and I would talk about the movie and pretend we were Dorothy, her friends and inevitably someone would be the Wicked Witch of the West.
As I watched, I wondered are the kids of today still lured by the The Wizard of Oz or are the special effects or lack there of too blasé? Maybe I’m feeling nostalgic due to my upcoming high school reunion, the Facebook conversation with my BFF from high school or if some classics just have that effect. While enjoying my walk down the memory brick road I began skimming through my little black wine book I came across a something a little different from my usual imbibe, saké from Saké One.
During last year’s Wine Bloggers Conference (WBC12) held in Portland, OR I took part in a pre-excursion to the Willamette (remember it’s Willamette Dammit) Valley region to Forest Grove located in the foothills of the Coast Range and the base of the Tillamook State Forest. There our group toured Oregon’s only saké brewery. Following a tour lead by president and CEO Steve Vuylsteke we partook in a saké tasting flight and I’ve outlined my favorites below.
Moonstone Asian – crisp pear aromas and flavors, creamy and hint of sweetness. SRP – $13
Junmai Ginjo Genshu – bold fruit and spice flavors long smooth finish. SRP – $11
Momokawa Ruby Junmai Ginjo – Tropical fruit and berry flavors. SRP – $13
The really good news other than these are fabulously smooth and delicious, they’re available nationwide and throughout the past year I have purchased a few for in home tasting.
Once back at home I enjoyed a bottle of G Joy which combines traditional saké methods from the East with palate preferred West flavors presenting just a hint of alcohol flavor, rice water, bamboo and a touch of floral, lilac perhaps. So smooth, light and easy drinking makes this a very dangerous drink, if you get my drift. SRP – $20.
Moonstone Coconut Lemongrass is another I enjoyed at home. Fresh citrusy lemongrass and spice with lush creamy coconut. SRP – $13
Touted as not your papa-san’s sake, this is not the warm heavy alcohol flavor drink you may have been served at your local Japanese steakhouse but is a premium saké handcrafted using traditional methods. Unlike beer and wine saké goes through a parallel fermentation process.
Start with clean and pure water. Rice is the second component; remove hull and polish then wash, soak and steam. Add Koji mold to turn the starch into sugar. Prepare yeast and begin brewing process. After the brewing process is complete the saké is pasteurized and moved into steel tanks to rest and mature. A few weeks later the saké is ready to bottle and enjoy.
After 7 wonderful days in Oregon I eagerly awoke at 3:30AM to catch my flight back to the East Coast. After the winemakers dinner on Saturday and many glasses of wonderful wine I thought I was crazy for booking such an early flight. When that alarm went off all I could think is how much I missed my husband and all the critters and no qualms about jumping in the shower, hailing a cab at 4:30 and finally spending 5 hours in flight. Like Dorothy says, “There’s no place like home.”