Japan has given many things to the world that I cherish, but few of them have an unofficial holiday that gives me the excuse to celebrate them. But every October first, along with sake lovers all over Japan and around the world, I get to observe Nihonshu no Hi, also known as Sake Day.
Like wine, no one knows exactly when sake first made an appearance. In a similar fashion to grape wine, the knowledge that fermented rice eventually yields an alcoholic beverage was probably discovered in accidental and then later deliberate stages, as innovative and curious folks explored ways of getting drunk.
Sake production and demand is likely to have peaked in Japan the mid 19th century when a law was passed allowing anyone to become a brewer. As many as 30,000 breweries were opened in the year of the law's passing, though that number dwindled as taxes on sake and its raw materials increased through the end of the century.
Despite ups and downs, and not being anywhere near its 19th century production levels, sake is seeing a bit of a renaissance around the world, and that is worth celebrating for any sake lover, at least as much as the stuff itself. More and more excellent sake is leaving Japan and making its way abroad.
All of which means that on October first, you'll not only have something to celebrate but, some really good stuff to celebrate with, should you care to partake in the 3rd Annual Sake day celebration put on by San Francisco's own True Sake store, and Sozai restaurant.
This is not the largest of tastings, but public sake events are so rare, that I am obligated to make not of it for those of my readers who are sake lovers or who are interested in learning more about it.
Held at Fort Mason, Sake Day is an opportunity to taste an assortment of sake, eat some good Japanese food, and listen to a little music in a casual atmosphere. Various tasting stations will be set up that will allow attendees to compare different styles of sake, blind taste some varieties, as well as explore flaws like heat damage.
If you're looking for a way to learn about sake, you'd be hard pressed to find a better occasion to experience a number of them than this little event.
Sake Day Celebration
Wednesday, October 1
6:00 PM to 9:00 PM
The Golden Gate Room
Fort Mason Center
San Francisco, CA (map)
Tickets are $85, which gets you a complimentary tasting glass, five different sake friendly dishes, free run of the tasting, and entry into various raffles and prize drawings. Tickets should be purchased in advance online, as the event may sell out.
A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. 2015 Roederer Award Winner.Learn more.
I'll Drink to That: Bob Cabral of Three Sticks Wines Warm Up: Rotgipfler and Beyond I'll Drink to That: Bernhard Stadlmann of Weingut Stadlmann Vinography Images: Last Light I'll Drink to That: Suzanne Mustacich Warm Up: The Douro I'll Drink to That: João Nicolau de Almeida of Ramos-Pinto Book Signing in St. Helena, December 5, 2015 I'll Drink to That: Carole Meredith of Lagier-Meredith Vineyards Napa's New Reference Point
Wine Will Never Smell the Same Again: Luca Turin and the Science of Scent Forlorn Hope: The Remarkable Wines of Matthew Rorick Debating Robert Parker At His Invitation Passopisciaro Winery, Etna, Sicily: Current Releases Should We Care What Winemakers Say? The Sweet Taste of Freedom: Austria's Ruster Ausbruch Wines 2009 Burgundy Vintage According to Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Charles Banks: The New Man Behind Mayacamas Wine from the Caldera: The Incredible Viticulture of Santorini Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Chateau Rayas and the 2012 Vintage of Chateauneuf-du-Pape A Life Indomitable: The Wines of Casal Santa Maria, Portugal Bay Area Bordeaux: Tasting Santa Cruz Mountain Cabernets Forgotten Jewels: Reviving Chile's Old Vine Carignane The First-Timer's Guide to Les Trois Glorieuses of Hospices de Beaune