Beso Lake Oswego tasting, November 19, 2021

Craft Sake for Wine Lovers 

Friday November 19, 2021

Sunflower Sake x Beso Bar & Bottle

Kameizumi “Eternal Spring” Daiginjo Namazake

Super aromatic, bright, fruity

Serve chilled

Tastes and feels like: a fruity cocktail or a highly aromatic white wine. 

Notes of green apple, honeydew melon, ripe peach, spun sugar, 


Pair with: Salad rolls, spicy tuna, ceviche, crudo, or as an aperitif.

Kanbara “Bride of the Fox” Junmai Ginjo

Nutty, fruity, balanced

Serve room temperature to chilled

Tastes and feels like:  An aged chardonnay. 

Notes of toasted nuts, stone fruits, apples and pears, honeycomb and 

white chocolate, with a crisp and dry finish. Excels with food!

Pair with: Roasted meats, chicken, fish chowder, and cheese plates-- fantastic with nearly any protein, especially those on the richer side. A bowl of nuts or roasted root veg as well. 

Rihaku “Dreamy Clouds” Junmai Nigori

Brisk, dry, ricey

Serve chilled

Tastes and feels like: Nothing else like it! Maybe a salt lassi?

A unique contrast between a ricey, textural mouthfeel, and a crisp dry finish. Notes of asian pear, just-ripe banana, fresh white rice, “tart” frozen yogurt.

Pair with: Indian curries, Thai, anything spicy or herbaceous, green goddess dressing, avocado dishes, goat cheese.

Yuho “Rhythm of the Centuries” Junmai Kimoto

Rich, aged, velvety

Serve room temp, warm, or hot

Tastes and feels like: a velvety aged merlot. 

Notes of miso, dark chocolate, rice pudding, caramel, roasted chestnuts, toasted nuts, banana bread, mushroom, and roasted yams.  Rich, satisfying, and velvety texture. 

Pair with: Fall flavors, pumpkin and yams, charcuterie platters, Thanksgiving dinner, Fall salad, macaroni and cheese.

Starting in December, Sunflower Sake is introducing delivery to the greater Portland area, including Lake Oswego. Consulting and private classes are also available. Kampai!



I like the ____ one! What style is this?

#1, Kameizumi? You like elegant, fruity/floral sake. Look for the words “daiginjo,” “ginjo namazake,” and “daiginjo namazake,” or let the steward know what style you like.

#2, Kanbara? You like sake with a nice balance of fruit and savory, with a dry finish. This can be difficult to find without assistance, because it doesn’t have a specific name. Experiment with “tokubetsu junmai” and “junmai ginjo,” checking the label for tasting notes.

#3, Rihaku? You like dry, serious nigori. These are pretty rare, but you may also enjoy the nigori from Shichi Hon Yari or Hanatomoe. Experiment with other nigori too, but know that they might have more fruity notes-- and be thicker-- than Rihaku. 

#4, Yuho? You like full-flavored, aged sake made with wild fermentation starters. In particular, you like sake with “koshu” flavors: that is, aged notes. Look for a combination of these words: “junmai” “yamahai,” and “kimoto,” as well as indications of aging.


#1, Kameizumi: refrigerator, consume within 3 months

#2, Kanbara: a dark and cool place, consume within 1 year

#3, Rihaku: a dark and cool place, consume within 6 months

#4, Yuho: a dark place, no rush, it will continue evolving although it is released “ready to drink.”

How long does it last once open?

Store opened sake in the fridge with its original cap. In general, opened sake lasts much longer than wine. Fruity, floral sake will lose some of its aroma, but savory sake will stay delicious, sometimes even changing for the better. 

#1, Kameizumi: 1 week (still tastes good, but fruity notes will be diminished)

#2, Kanbara: 1 month 

#3, Rihaku: 2-3 weeks

#4, Yuho: 2-3 months+

Can sake be aged?

99% of the time, sake won’t benefit from further aging at home. Unlike red wine sake contains no tannin, no sulfur, and its acidity levels are typically ⅕ that of wine, so it has very little protection against aging. As a result sake ages quickly: even after 3-6 months you may notice a change in its flavor. If you’re interested in learning about home sake aging, come by the Sunflower shop sometime and I can explain further. But for now, enjoy it within a year of the label date!

How do I serve it? 

When in doubt, a white wine glass is always a good choice. Ceramic yunomi- small Japanese tea cups-- are also an elegant choice if you don’t want to invest in any sake-specific wares.

What about hot sake?

Boil a small pot of water then pull it off the heat. Place a ceramic carafe or heat-resistant vessel (filled to 80% with sake) in the water so that the bottom ½ is submerged. Keep a thermometer in the sake and pull the carafe out once it has reached your preferred temperature.  110F, lukewarm, is my preferred temperature for making sake taste full, round, and balanced. 130F is the preferred temperature for making sake taste more dry, sharp, and for warming you up!