Yamanaka Sake no mise

Saké Suggestions and Recommendations


Yamanaka Sake no mise

Pairing saké with cuisine


The French use the word "mariage" (like "marriage" in English) to express the mutual benefit that wine and cuisine receive when paired together. The word has a beautiful and romantic, or in other words, a French, connotation. As with wine, saké benefits from being accompanied by delicious food, which creates something of a third flavor between the two. Just what sorts of dishes bring out the best flavor of saké? Yamanaka saké shop has the answer and enjoys recommending particular choices for each specific dish.

Yamanaka Sake no mise

Meat-based cuisine


The kind of saké that pairs well with meat dishes is one that has enough body to match the strong savory flavors of the meat. The saké should also have clean crispness for washing down the rich fat of the main dish. Crisper saké means that it cleanses the palate of the fatty taste in beef. We recommend saké that has a clear flavor from the first sip, which will help it balance the savory taste of meat. Japanese saké is similar to red wine with its light body and full body variations. Furthermore, a reserved aroma that does not intrude upon the flavor of the meat is very important. Since some saké varieties with strong aromas can compete with the main entree, a better choice is a less obtrusive aroma that actually draws out aspects of the meat.

Yamanaka Sake no mise

Fish-based cuisine


Just as there is a common tendency to want red wine when eating meat, a great many diners reach for saké when having fish. While we recommend different saké for different varieties and approaches to preparation (for example, white meat fish, red meat fish, raw fish, grilled fish, and simmered fish), the one thing that can be certain is that saké pairs well with fish. The history of Japanese cuisine is proof of that. Perhaps there are many non-Japanese diners who are not accustomed to raw fish. Often this is due to the very distinct aroma of the uncooked ingredients. Saké serves the role of mitigating this aroma. Saké not only draws out great flavor aspects of the fish dishes, but also subdues the less appealing flavor aspects as well.

Yamanaka Sake no mise

Enjoying saké with food


There are various preparations of saké—hot, cold, etc.—and many varieties—daiginjo-shu (brewed from very highly polished rice grains milled to 50% or less of their weight), ginjo-shu (brewed from highly polished rice grains milled to 60% or less of their weight), jukusei-shu (aged over a longer period), junmai-shu (brewed from polished rice grains milled to 70% or less of their weight), honjozo-shu (made with a small amount of pure distilled alcohol), etc. We are quite happy to provide on-the-spot suggestions for how to drink saké in a way that best fits the meal. Participants in Yamanaka saké shop taste testing (fees apply) can experience how the same saké changes flavors when paired with each type of dish. Our affiliated dining establishments serve saké suited to each individual dish. As noted above, saké contains rice, water, and rice-malt, while the varieties of saké differ based on the degree to which the rice is polished. This creates either daiginjo-shu, ginjo-shu, or junmai-shu. Processing approaches also change the flavor based on whether the product is pasteurized or not, and filtered or not. Additionally, using different rice while keeping the production the same can also change the flavor. Perhaps Japanese saké is the only spirit that offers so many enjoyable contrasts based on its temperature. Choose the meal to fit the saké...or choose the saké to fit the meal... (Our staff will assist you if indecision keeps you from enjoying the experience)