Saké Tasting With Kikuhime Saké Brewery

Saké Tasting With Kikuhime Saké Brewery

We are hosting a special tasting of Kikuhime Brewery, one of the most revered producers traditional saké in Japan. Jonathan Read, the Founder and Director of Epicurean Selections, the exclusive US importer of Kikuhime Brewery, will lead this extraordinary tasting of some of Japan's rarest and treasured saké.

The tasting lineup includes the brewery's highly prized Yamahai Saké made with the AAA Class Yamadanishiki rice grown in the  rice fields of Yokawa in Hyogo Prefecture. Saké producers consider this rice as Grand Cru, similar to Burgundy's classification. As a very special treat we will pour Kikuhime's Library Release from 2004/2005 aged at the brewery's low temperature storage.

This unique tasting event is a must for all saké enthusiasts in the Bay Area! Join us on 12th May at 5:30pm at Vineyard Gate. The cost of the tasting is $75.00. Seatings are limited so reserve now on this link! Walk-ins will be welcomed if there is still space.

During the event Sushi Salon, a Japanese food popup will provide specially prepared Otsumami--Japanese small dishes--for purchase. Here is their menu:

Blue Fin Tuna Crudo with Kalamata Olive Miso Purée $18

Hotaru Ika (Firefly Squid) with Kinome Miso $12

House Steam Ankimo (Monk Fish Liver) $16

Uni From Hokkaido with Half Moon Bay Wasabi $20



Kikuhime Saké Brewery was established in 1573 by the Yanagi family in Ishikawa Prefecture. The brewery is located near Hakusan Mountain from where the natural water used in brewing originates from. The brewery sources its rice from Hyogo Prefecture, specifically in Yokawa where the Yamadanishiki rice is grown. The brewery is focused on brewing saké of the highest quality using the best rice, pristine natural water, top brewing skill, and centuries of experience. To achieve the top quality, the brewery has remained small and continues to be run by the Yanagi family.

Kikuhime changed their traditionally bold and rich style, that was popular among the workers of Ishikawa Prefecture, to a more nuanced Ginjo, but with plenty of bite and structure. In the 1970s and 80s they were a pioneer in reviving the traditional Yamahai method where sake naturally develops its own lactic acid and receives influence and character from the local environment. Yamahai develops big-boned structure, deep layers of flavor and bright acidity.

Given the rich and bold nature of their sake, they have also explored the possibility of aging like almost no other sake makers. They age at low temperature and release sake only when it is deemed ready, waiting anywhere from a standard 6 months to an unheard of 10 years or more. While many aged sake drink nutty from oxidization, Kikuhime aged sake mellows and deepens, developing layers of flavor and subtle aromatics.

With the small amounts produced, the years of aging needed to produce each bottle and the centuries of experience crafting sake, Kikuhime has become one of the most renowned and sought after sake in the world, prized by chefs and restaurants for its nuanced pairings, and by collectors who enjoy the subtleties that develop over the years. In the Bay Area, their saké can be found on the lists of Single-Thread, State Bird, and The Progress. In New York and elsewhere, their saké can be found at Masa, Sushi Noz, Sushi Yoshino, Sushi Nakasawa, Momofuku-ko, Torien, and NAOE, to name a few.


Jonathan fell in love with Kikuhime while living in Japan as a chef and restaurant consultant over 20 years ago. Kikuhime is legendary for making deep and powerful saké that were unlike anything he had experienced before, kind of the polar opposite of the mint and melon brews you might expect from Niigata. Their sake’s bold character and peerless ability to age were something that he had never experienced before and knew he wanted to introduce to the US. After years of work and building a relationship with the brewery, Jonathan started to build a company for the importation of Kikuhime into the USA with its first shipment arriving into the state in early 2020.

Sushi Salon is a Japanese food popup based in Oakland, consisting of chef Johji and manager Anna. Together they have established a popular popup with a strong following that is highly in demand at events and at wine and saké establishments. They source only the best and freshest ingredients for their dishes. Both their Omakase dinners and Otsumami dishes are exemplary. We are very pleased to be able to book them for this special tasting event!
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