December 7, 2018

Tokyo 2018 day 7: drunken onion, episode 5

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One of my obligatory stops on any trip to Tokyo is Tamanegiya (酒たまねぎや).  Ever since my first visit in 2010, this has become my go-to place for sake.  It's not for everyone... it helps to be able to converse in Japanese with Master, and one really needs to have an appreciation of good sake.  Oh, and keep in mind that Master is a right-wing nationalist, who has admittedly toned things down a little in recent years - at least judging from the decor within the bar.

So while I have - against the wishes of some people who want to keep this a secret - disclosed the name of the venue on this here blog in the past, I have also cautioned my friends against coming here thinking that they will automatically have a great time drinking great sake.  After all, we did have the incident a couple of years ago where two assholes from Hong Kong - who were supposedly well-versed in Japanese culture - came and pissed off Master so much that he posted about their behavior on Facebook.  We definitely don't need fuckwits like them ruining it for the rest of us.

All of our dinners in Tokyo on this trip start late, so I was originally afraid that I wouldn't have time to come over after dinner for my usual round of drinks.  But I made an effort to come tonight before dinner, since the two venues aren't far away from each other.

When the three of us walked through the front door after 6:30 p.m., Master was alone.  Apparently he was only expecting a few regulars who had booked for a little later, so surprisingly he was expecting a slow Friday evening.  That was just fine with me.

Azumaichi Junmai Daiginjo Shizukushibori Tobintori Senbatsushu (東一 純米大吟醸 雫搾り 斗瓶取り 選抜酒), 27BY - seimaibuai (精米歩合) of 39%.  Nice nose of banana, almost floral, elegant, a bit of honeydew, a little fermented rice in the nose.  Sweet and smooth upfront, then dry and spicy later.

As usual, Master served up some snacks for us.  We started with some stewed fish head with ginger.

There are always some tomatoes. I didn't ask him where these came from.

Bijofu Junmai Daiginjo Yumebakari Time (美丈夫 純米大吟醸 夢許 Time), 29BY - seimaibuai of 30%. A koshu (古酒) aged for 3 years.  Nose showed a little cotton candy, peach, tropical fruit.  Very elegant.  Initially smooth and light on the palate but ended dry.

Master was kind enough to pour us a tasting portion of the non-aged Yumebakari so that we could taste the two side-by-side.

Bijofu Junmai Daiginjo Yumebakari (美丈夫 純米大吟醸 夢許), 30BY - seimaibuai of 30%. Really lovely nose with banana and floral notes.  Nice and smooth, with slightly fermented notes.  Sweet on the attack then showed a hint of spiciness.

Yeah, Yumebakari Time was definitely the more elegant of the two.

Hatsukame Show Special (初亀 鑑評会出品酒), 29BY - floral nose.  Good depth of flavors, which showed more of a dry mid-palate but not spicy.  One of 34 bottles made.

After stuffing ourselves with awesome yakiniku (焼肉), we went back to Tamanegiya for the second time tonight. DaRC and Ro Ro were already seated at the bar, and the place was packed.  I just had to do my traditional vertical tasting of Isojiman Nakatori...  And once again Master was kind enough to open fresh bottles of all 4 vintages.

Isojiman Junmai Daiginjo Nakatori 35 (磯自慢 純米大吟醸 中取り 35), 26BY - best of the four.  Really elegant, sweet, fragrant.  Softer and a little sweet on the palate.

Isojiman Junmai Daiginjo Nakatori 35 (磯自慢 純米大吟醸 中取り 35), 27BY - nose of banana.  Dry on the palate with good depth.

Isojiman Junmai Daiginjo Nakatori 35 (磯自慢 純米大吟醸 中取り 35), 28BY - lots of melon notes and really sweet on the nose.  Almost like melon soda.  Still a little sharp on the nose.  Nice depth on the palate.

Isojiman Junmai Daiginjo Nakatori 35 (磯自慢 純米大吟醸 中取り 35), 29BY - really fresh, lots of musk melon, really sweet.  A bit young and some sharp alcohol on the nose.


Miinokotobuki Junmai Daiginjo Kannokura (三井の寿 純米大吟醸 寒乃蔵), 30BY - seimaibuai of 40%.  Light and sweet on the nose.  Really ripe banana notes and starchy sweetness.  Pretty sweet on the attack, a bit dry in the middle.

Another wonderful evening spent here... and grateful that Master stayed open past his regular hours to accommodate us.   He also sent us away with a bottle each of the Bijofu unfiltered sparkling that the brewery custom made for him... which is always fun to drink.

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