Sake in the six classifications below is known collectively as “tokutei meishoshu,” or “special designation sake,” and can for all intents and purposes be considered “premium sake.” It constitutes only about 20% of all sake produced. Sake collectively known as “ginjo-shu” can be considered “super-premium sake.” Ginjo-shu and its subclasses constitute only the top 6% of all sake produced, and represents the pinnacle of the brewer’s craft.
A subclass of junmai ginjo-shu, brewed with very highly polished rice (to at least 60%) with even more precision and labor intensive methods. The pinnacle of the brewer’s art. Generally light, complex and fragrant.
Brewed with labor-intensive steps, eschewing machinery for traditional tools and methods, using highly polished rice (at least 60%) and fermented at colder temperatures for longer periods of time. Light, fruity, and refined.
Made with only rice, water and koji mold. The rice used must be polished to at least 70%. Often a full and solid flavor profile, clean and well-structured.
A subclass of ginjo-shu below, brewed with very highly polished rice (to at least 50%) with even more precision and labor intensive methods. The pinnacle of the craftsman brewer’s art. Generally light, complex and quite fragrant.
Brewed with labor-intensive steps, eschewing machinery for traditional tools and methods, using highly polished rice (at least 60%) and fermented at colder temperatures for longer periods of time. Light, aromatic, fruity, and refined.
Made with rice, water, koji and a very small amount of pure distilled alcohol (“brewer’s alcohol”) to help extract flavor and aroma. Light, mildly fragrant, and easy to drink.
Matching Food and Sake
Although sake may not have the presence of wine, nor the fullness or impact, there are still many styles and countless individual flavor profiles. Each will work well with some food, less well with others. There are several parameters that you can focus on when working with sake and food.
Sake is deceivingly complex. Its flavors and fragrances are more subtle than overt. Still, there are several parameters you can work with, definable qualities of a sake, that can either complement a dish, or constructively and favorably contrast it. Here are a few examples of easily identifiable sake qualities. Note that these are but a few examples, and are by no means a standard.
Sake with a prominent fruity fragrance, like some daiginjo sake, will work well as an aperitif, with enough presence to stand on its own and enhance the assertive appetite. Yet, too much of a fruity fragrance (especially the lighter fruit essences commonly found in much premium sake) will not lend to blending with solid, settled dishes like meat and fowl, and may clash with a herbal baked dish. Milder, gently tart or rice-laced fragrances tie in nicely with moderately flavored fish and vegetables.
Sweetness in sake, within reason, can support a more full flavored dish, accenting richness and saltiness in the dish. Keep in mind that the sweet-dry range of most good sake is not all that wide; what is sweet for sake is hardly over powering so on an objective scale. Dryer sake can create a nice stage for the freshness and light flavors of fresh seafood.
This is one of the easiest of sake flavor parameters with which to work. The acidity of sake is a fraction of the overall acidity of wine, but the acidity presence of given sake compared to other sake is comparable to the acidity of a given wine compared to other wines. In other words, acidity in sake is a proportionally scaled down counter-part of acidity in wine. Sake with a piercing acidity works well with slightly oily foods, like tempura or some baked fish. A slightly milder acidity will serve to spread the flavor of the sake out nicely, allowing the sake to suffuse and more broadly support a medium-bodied dish. Low-acidity sake, with its soft touch, blends well with food with a soft tactile facet to it, like sashimi.
Soft sake that absorbs into the palate can serve to refresh and cleanse for the next taste and absolving it of any lingering flavors. This is excellent for dishes with complex and busy flavors. More crisp lively sake can function instead as an uppity contrast to equally assertive food flavors like pronounced green spices and peppers.
Fresh feeling, refined and light sake rings solidly true with fresh seafood and light vegetarian fare. Like sashimi and vinegar-laced dishes. Contrast this with sake that has a settled, earthy touch, manifested in traces of bitterness and tartness, acidity and extremely well-rounded tones. Sake fitting this description comes as close as sake can to being a great accompaniment to meat and poultry.
Haru – Peach | Natsu – Green Apple | Aki – Red Grapefruit | Fuyu – Asian Pear
Chardonnay 33%, Marsanne 3%, Sauv Blanc 64%
With a touch of citrus, this wine leaves you savoring complexities of
creamy vanilla and ripe summer fruits.
Bright acidity with a medley of floral, spice and orange blossom
which has characterized this Riesling for thirty years. The finish is dry and refreshing.
Discover the taste of an elegantly balanced white wine
structured with a full range of mellow flavors.
This well-balanced, refreshing infusion of apple, pear and zesty lemon imprints
a taste sensation to savor.
The silky texture in combination with the flavor of peach and a touch of melon
delivers the perfect balance to create this crisp wine.
Seductive, complex aromas of honey, green apple, tropical fruits, vanilla and
baking read introduce fruit flavors with light butter notes.
Liven your taste buds with the vibrant impressions of pineapple, pear and
vanilla in this appropriately balanced wine.
Intense aroms of white peach and grapefruit which shortly give rise to apricot, jasmine and
cardamom with time in the glass. Star fruit and tarragon with a hint of barrel spice.
Rich bouquet of passion fruit, gooseberry and nettles. A complex, elegant wine with excellent
structure with combination of ripe tropical and fresh herbal flavors that ends crisp and refreshing.
Smooth yet full-bodied finish. Enticing splash of vanilla, fruit and spice tantalizing your taste buds.
Apple, pear and melon strikes a chord of crisp acidity in this fresh and silky wine.
Journey through Sonoma Valley as you explore the complexities of white peach and
honeysuckle as they lure you through a maze of flavors.
Savor the taste of fresh picked cherries and raspberries as the hint of pepper
and spice tickles your tongue.
The well-balanced nature of this medium-bodied wine is expertly achieved by the
blending of blackberry and vanilla spice.
Mouthwatering cherry and cranberry fruit flavors with notes of smoke and
black pepper that makes this wine so elegant.
Full bodied and powerfully delicious with black fruit and dark chocolate.
An exquisite combination of cherry, vanilla and spice is portrayed in this
very smooth, well-structured wine.
With the perfect blend of cherries, black currants and berries paired with a hint of
licorice and vanilla oak. The complexities of this wine is endless.
It has a core intensity of red fruit flavors and lifted violet aromas.
This is exquisitely balanced by freshness of acidity and an elegant integration of
French Oak that adds complexity to the rich mid palate.
Visualize a bouquet of lilacs, violets and the fresh scent of peeled oranges to
fall into deep appreciation of this rich, silky wine.
Rich aromas of black currant, creamy dark chocolate and brewed espresso.
Merlot 56%, Cab Sauv 40%, Cab Franc 3%, Syrah 1%
These melodies of wines establish a bold and well-rounded impression which exhibits
properties of raspberry and cherry with a smoky finish.
Cab Sauv 37%, Malbec 19%, Petite Verdot 4%, Merlot 40%
Longevity is crafted in the classical tradition of a Bordeaux-style wine.
Cleanse your palette with the rich and full body complexities of sweet blackberry,
silky chocolate and spicy French oak.
With each sip, you will welcome this rich, intense flavor of blackberry
and chocolate lingering in your mouth.
Classically balanced, nutty flavors with hints of brioche build up to a
refreshing, dry finish. Delivers complex apple and pear characteristics
accented by notes of almond and caramel in the bouquet.
This sparkling wine offers a fresh and vibrant bouquet of golden apple, white peach and honeysuckle.
Aromas o pear and honeysuckle perfume of bouquet. This beautifully balanced champagne
has a long expressive finish. Excellent pairing with Sushi and Sashimi Cuisines.
Perfect example of harmony between delicacy and power.
Dominated by Pinot Noir, this sparkling wine has a firm structure, rounded with a
touch of Pinot Meunier. A third of Chardonnay gives it the elegance and finesse
needed for a perfect balance.
French Press Coffee
FLO Japanese Restaurant is proud to feature the Northwest’s Premier Boutique Roaster Victrola Coffee Roasters
A blend of Latin American coffees that compliments each other well in body, acidity
and mouth feel. Dried fruit and toasted marshmallow followed by a clean, balanced cup
full of sweet chocolate and acidity.
A blend of Indonesian, Central and South American Beans.
Juicy black cherries and soft plums compliment tones on cinnamon graham cracker
and baking chocolate softness.