As autumn arrives, the ripe rice is harvested and taken to the breweries. The full-scale brewing of sake begins in October, and continues until the following spring. Sake allowed to mature in the cool brewery during the summer becomes more aromatic and the flavors fully established by autumn. The result is the high-quality sake called “aki-agari”. This is favored by sake aficionados.
From autumn to winter, people like to drink warmed sake (kanzake) in Japan. Sake in a metal pot (chirori) is warmed in hot water using a dedicated device (kandoko). Heating sake brings out the complex aromas and flavors which cannot be detected when served chilled. Also, the alcohol is more easily absorbed from warm sake, so you feel the effects faster, which can prevent you from overdrinking. When ordering at a restaurant, ask to have the sake warmed to hitohada-kan (body temperature, 35°C/95°F), nuru-kan (lukewarm, 40°C/104°F), jo-kan (moderate, 45°C/113°F), or atsu-kan (hot, 50°C/122°F).
You can enjoy warmed sake at Japanese Cuisine Yamazato. The sommelier is more than happy to make suggestions on sake varieties suitable for warming, the ideal temperature, and matching seasonal menus.
Japanese Cuisine Yamazato
Sommelier, Masao Okada