The Last Bottle? 3/1-2: Okada Brewery-Okinabenten

September 30th, 2008, Drinking History at Yasaitei

Last night I was invited by the owners of Odakkui, Katayurimo and Hana Oto Izakayas to share a very special bottle of sake (above pic).
This sake, a superlative Daiginjo, had been brewed back in 1997 by Okada Brewery which eventually ceased operations in 2006. In spite of its old age (for a sake) it had preserved in perfect condition all the time at very cold temperature by a collector cum liquor shop, Matsunaga in Shizuoka City.
For the connoiseurs, this Daiginjyo is called Okinabeneten, brewed by Okada Brewery in Fujieda City. Rice: Yamada Nishiki milled down to an extravagant 35%. The yeast was a Shizuoka NEW-5 Yeast. Dryness is only +7~+9 and acidity a very low 1.0~1.3. The drawing process was “Fune shibori/tank press”. Alcohol was standard 15~16 degrees.
A great sake, so pleasant to drink with a dry elegant entry, short tail and a complex and rich aroma and taste. Tended to show different facets with food, alternatively turning drier and sweeter. An incredibly extravagant sake to drink with food. We drank it both chilled and heated.

Now, what did we eat with such a nectar?
First of all, sashimi of course. Not one kind, but two!
First seafood sashimi as shown on pic above:
(From top clockwise) Fresh Shirasu/baby sardines, Akami/lean tuna, Madai/red snapper, Hotategai/scallops, Katsuo/bonito. In the centre is boiled Tako/octopus. The whole was provided with wasabi (real one!), grated ginger, myoga cut into very fine strips and chopped thin leeks.

Yasai sashimi/vegetables sashimi, the specialty of the house. Great juicy and cruchy cucumber, daikon, red radishes, celery (Shizuoka Prefecture produces half of all celery in Japan!), myoga and sweet red pimento. You probably noticed the big shiso leaf concealing chopped sweet onions. A treat for vegetarians (and vegans!)!

Yasatei is also renown for its superlative Kansai-style oden!

And finally another treat for vegetarians: renkon/lotus roots sauteed with soy sauce and sprinkled with sesame seeds!

Great food for a great sake!

Yasaitei
Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Tokiwa-Cho, 1-6-2 Green Heights Wamon 1-C
Tel.: 054-2543277
Business haours: 17:30~22:00
Closed on Sundays
Reservations highly recommended
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okinabenten1.jpg

February 18th, 2007
I discovered this bottle at Mr. Matsunaga’s Liquor Shop.
Mr. Okada, the brewer had to cease brewing in 2006, due to health problems. He has since moved to another Brewery.
This particular bottle was a Daiginjyo bottled on June 6th, 1998. Dryness, +7~9, rice milled down to 35%, acidity, 1.0~1.3
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okinabenten-dai2.jpg

Mr. Matsunaga of Matsunaga Saketen finally called me the other day to tell he had finally accepted to separate himself from that bottle made by the defunct Okada Brewery and sell it to me!
The very next day I was at his shop and made the transaction. Tel you the truth it became the most expensive bottle of sake I ever bought, and at the original price at that!
But it deserved it all the way!
okinabenten-dai1.jpg
In spite of its grand age (brewed in 1997!), it was still eminently drinkable thanks to Mr. Matsunaga’s great care when I finally opened the bottle! Almost sweet, and lingering whatever the food I was partaking of!
When you realize it is Dai Ginjyo, Tsurushi Shibori (which means that the sake was let out naturally from “hanging bags”) and its rice milled down to an extravagant 35%, you will understand what a loss iwas when Mr. Okada ceased operations in 2006 due to a weakened heart!

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