Here are a couple of sakés in each of four categories that are exported to the U.S.:
1) Matsu No Hana (Blossom of Pine Tree), Kawashima Brewery (Shiga Prefecture)
A round aroma of soft melons and rice with a rich mouthfeel. Good with seafood, shellfish, tempura, fried food.
2) Masumi Okuden Kantsukuri (Mirror of Truth), Miyasaka Brewery (Nagano Prefecture)
Subtle, organic/earthy flavors, melon, berries, sweet, roundedness in mouthfeel. Good with tempura, tofu, marinated chicken, pork and rich fish.
1) Dewazakura Dewasansan (Green Ridge)—junmai ginjo, Dewazakura Brewery (Yamagata Pefecture)
Floral, fruity, fresh, green apple tartness, persimmon, peach, apple, light and smooth. Good with tuna sashimi and grilled seafood.
2) Watari Bune Junmai Gingo “55”, Huchu Homare Brewery (Ibaraki Prefecture)
Made with watari bune rice, a special pure saké rice strain out of use for over 50 years until revived by Huchu Homare from 14 grams of seedlings. Honeydew, pineapple, nutty, earthy and rich. Good with monk fish, paté, duck, soba and stews.
1) Tamanohikari (Brilliance of Jade)—junmai daiginjo, Tamanohikari Brewery (Kyoto Prefecture)
Peach, apple, pear, nuts, banana, pears, coconut, chewy and plump. Good with roasted birds and gamey meats.
2) Kamoizumi Junmai Daiginjo (Autumnal Elixir), Kamoizumi Brewery (Hiroshima Prefecture)
Persimmon, plums, caramel, earthy, mushroom, tart, sweet, astringent, full-bodied, clean and smooth. Good with Vietnamese cuisine, rich seafood dishes and gamey meats.
1) Kasumi Tsuru (The Crane of Kasumi) Shiboritate Namazake Genshu, Kasumi Tsuru Brewery (Hyogo Prefecture)
A special spring seasonal saké that is shiboritate (just pressed), namazake (unpasteurized) and genshu (undiluted). Young and fresh, green apples and almonds. Good with shellfish, sushi, sashimi and salads.
2) Kikusakari Kurashizuku (First Run of the Brewery)—junmai ginjo, usu-nigori, Kiuchi Brewery (Ibaraki Prefecture)
Fresh and light sparkling saké with some of the saké lees left behind (nigori). Good with spicy foods, smoked fish and cheese.
Tasting notes and serving suggestions from Beau Timken (True Saké), Chris Pearce (World Saké Imports), Henry Sidel (Joto Saké), The Jizake (Japan Saké Exporting Board) and Gregg Glaser.