Déjà Vu Sake Company – focus on subtle greatness

Déjà Vu Sake Company – focus on subtle greatness

Australian sake import scene is becoming a crowded space. Australia is far from being a large country, yet it is the world’s 9th biggest sake importer. A few local companies are now competing for your palates and wallets. There are the Japanese heavyweights Daiwa Food and JFC, the pioneers of artisanal brews Black Market Sake, and the believers of making sake accessible to all, Chef’s Armoury. Restaurants like Toko import their own exclusive range of  stellar sake. Then there is Deja Vu Sake Company, which has a relatively small portfolio of 5 brewers.  Headed by the charming  Yukino Ochiai and her husband Andrew Cameron, Déjà Vu Sake was established in 2012 to supplement their existing fine wine distribution business. Japanese-born Yukino wasted no time in bringing sake from some of the best sake houses. Yes, its portfolio is small, but mighty! Each of the 5 breweries they work with is a family business that has been brewing sake for generations. The youngest brewery is Amanato, whose history goes back almost a hundred years. Yoshinogawa, the oldest brewery in its lineup, is over 450 years old, and is currently headed by the 19th generation of owners. This month, Deja Vu Sake is hosting four distinguished guests, representatives of the breweries in their portfolio. Mr Masumi Nakano, president of Dewazakura, Mr Takeshi Sekiya, president of Sekiya brewery, Mr Naoki Yokoyama, the sales manager of Tengumai brewery and the marketing chief of Yoshinogawa brewery Hiroyuki Onozawa. As part of the interstate promotional tour, Yukino and her sake masters ran trade tastings and public dinners. I was lucky to attend one of them, meet the brewers and taste through the most of Deja Vu portfolio. I am now convinced that Deja Vu’s portfolio is one of the most focussed and precise. There is a certain conviction behind the brand line-up, and that conviction appeals to my own sake preferences. Sake flavours can run an incredible range.  Some sakes are tight, dry, some are high-impact, sweet, headily aromatic. For me, the sweet spot is sake that is elegant, clean sake without harsh dryness,  sake that brings to mind morning dew, raindrops, freshly cut grass and fragile wild flowers. I enjoy delicate, subtle greatness, and most of all, balance of flavours. I found all of that in Deja Vu sake. Here are the brews that impressed me the most.   Dewazakura Dewazakura was established in 1892, in Yamagata prefecture. Snow falls heavily in the mountain valley where Dewazakura is based, and provides ideal conditions for brewing ginjō. Dewazakura is one of the leading sake houses, and was responsible for the ginjō boom in Japan in early 1980s. Dewazakura has helped to develop the prefecture’s own sake rice, Dewa Sansan (Dewa 33), and developed special sake yeast to suit the climate.   Ichiro...

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An insider’s review of Juyondai sake

An insider’s review of Juyondai sake

Well, wasn’t someone lucky.  Julian Houseman, my fellow Sake Educational Council alumni and big-time sake evangelist, has recently gained entry to the El Dorado of sake – a special Juyondai dinner where he got to drink 13 Juyondai varieties. Read his notes here.  Enjoy – the article is for real sake geeks. I have nothing more to say….The sake envy renders me speechless!          ...

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