Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Sake Made In New York

Dassai Blue Sake is produced and bottled by Dassai USA in Hyde Park New York.  Dassai takes their name from a Japanese proverb, which translates to "Although blue dye comes from the indigo plant, it is bluer than indigo." In other words, the child outshines the parent. 

The Junmai Daiginjo style of sake - rice wine - is the pinnacle of the craft, the best of the best. Dassai Blue Type 23 is made from Yamada Nishiki rice, a short-grained variety that is popular with sake makers. Dassai uses the 23% method of polishing the grain, meaning 77% of the rice's outer shell is removed. This facilitates the water absorption for which the variety is known.

Dassai is also introducing Dassai Blue Type 35, using 35% milling. Type 35 is also made with Yamada Nishiki rice, but cultivated in the U.S. it's a collaboration with Isbell Farms, a sustainable, family-owned rice farm located in Central Arkansas. It should run about $50 a bottle.

The Type 23 craft sake is bottled under pressure, so be careful when opening the unique foil cap. The cork stopper blew right off when I tore away the metal wrapper. Alcohol sits comfortably at 14% abv and it retails for around $70 for the full 750ml bottle. Quite a few sources offer the 375ml bottle for much less.

This sake is virtually clear in the glass. The nose gives a floral aspect with herbal notes and lychee. The palate has a refreshing acidity and a delightful flavor rooted in minerals and salinity. The mouthfeel is clean and full, while the finish is pleasant and lengthy. Pair with sushi, without a doubt. 

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