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Discovering Hakkaisan Awa: Hakkaisan Sparkling Sake Review

Last Updated on May 2024

As a seasoned sake advisor, who’s sold and tasted countless bottles of sake in a busy Japanese restaurant in California, I’ve had my fair share of sakes. But there’s one that’s truly special – Hakkaisan Awa, a sparkling sake that’s the perfect blend of Japanese tradition and French sophistication.

Imagine standing at the crossroads where East meets West, where the meticulous art of sake brewing intersects with the elegance of champagne-style secondary fermentation. That’s where you’ll find Hakkaisan Awa. It’s not just a drink, it’s a celebration in a bottle, ready to add a touch of sparkle to any occasion.

So, whether you’re a seasoned sake enthusiast or a curious newcomer, I invite you to join me on this journey of discovery. Let’s uncork the magic of Hakkaisan sparkling sake together. Ready to add some sparkle to your sake adventure? Let’s dive in!

TL;DR: Hakkaisan Awa Sparkling Sake At a Glance

Hakkaisan Sparkling Sake

Hakkaisan Awa is a rich and sweet Junmai Daiginjo sparkling sake that offers a unique experience for both sake connoisseurs and beginners. 

  • Fine, natural bubbles due to in-bottle secondary fermentation
  • Sweet fruit flavors with tasting notes of melon, pear, and grapefruit
  • Versatile food pairing options, especially with seafood and fruits
  • Perfect for special occasions

PROS

  • Unique Flavor Profile: Hakkaisan Awa offers a unique blend of flavors, from its fruity aroma to its refreshing taste and gentle sweetness. It’s a multi-layered tasting experience that sets it apart from other sakes.
  • Champagne-Style Fermentation: The secondary fermentation process, similar to that of champagne, gives Hakkaisan Awa its delightful effervescence and fine bubbles, adding a touch of sophistication to your sake experience.
  • Versatile Pairing: Hakkaisan Awa pairs well with a variety of dishes, from sushi to grilled seafood and light salads, making it a versatile choice for any meal.
  • Special Occasion Sake: With its premium quality and elegant presentation, Hakkaisan Awa is perfect for toasting special occasions.

CONS

  • Price: As a premium sparkling sake, Hakkaisan Awa may be more expensive than other types of sake. However, the unique experience it offers can justify the price for many sake enthusiasts.
  • Availability: Depending on your location, Hakkaisan Awa may not be readily available in local stores and may need to be ordered online.
  • Storage: Like all sparkling beverages, Hakkaisan Awa needs to be stored properly (refrigerated and upright) to maintain its quality and effervescence.
  • Not for All Palates: The unique flavor profile and effervescence of Hakkaisan Awa may not appeal to everyone, particularly those who prefer traditional, non-sparkling sakes.

My Personal Experience with Awa Sparkling Sake

When Hakkaisan Awa first graced our restaurant, the excitement was palpable. The night we included it in a sake flight for special guests remains etched in my memory. The sight of the fine bubbles dancing in the liquid, and the delight on our guests’ faces as they savored their first sip, are moments I’ll never forget.

Now, between you and me, I may have had an ulterior motive that night. You see, in the name of ‘quality control’, I finally got to try Hakkaisan Awa for the first time. I may have been eying the bottle, sitting on a shelf in our cellar, for months. And let me tell you, it was love at first sip. But don’t worry, I promise I didn’t let my newfound love for Hakkaisan Awa influence my professional judgment. Well, not too much anyway.

The Olympic Sparkle: Hakkaisan Awa

Hakkaisan Brewery Company unveiled Awa Sparkling in anticipation of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Crafted as a sparkling alternative to champagne, they presented a clear, light, and bubbly sake that drizzles a subtly sweet fruit flavor over your taste buds. It was a hit during the Olympic torch ceremony, proving that Hakkaisan sparkling sake can turn any event into a celebration. Who needs champagne when you can have this delightful sparkling sake?

Buyer’s Guide: Understanding and Choosing Sparkling Sake

The Unique Charm of Hakkaisan Awa

Hakkaisan Awa’s meticulous production process includes champagne-style, in-bottle fermentation, resulting in fine, naturally-produced bubbles. Its rich and sweet flavor profile, with notes of melon, pear, and grapefruit, leaves a crisp and satisfying finish on your palate.

Choosing Your Sparkling Sake

When selecting a sparkling sake, consider:

  1. Fermentation process: Natural fermentation offers a superior mouthfeel.
  2. Tasting notes: Look for a balance from aroma to aftertaste.
  3. Pairing options: Sake that pairs well with a variety of dishes can enhance your meals.

How Hakkaisan Awa is Made

The magic of Hakkaisan Awa lies in its production process. It undergoes a secondary fermentation right inside the bottle, a method that’s reminiscent of how champagne is made. This in-bottle fermentation, or as we sake connoisseurs like to call it, “the bubble maker,” is what gives Hakkaisan Awa its delightful effervescence. But it’s not just about the bubbles; it’s about the quality of them. Just like a bottle of champagne, renowned for its million-bubble charm, Hakkaisan Awa boasts fine bubbles that contribute to its exquisite mouthfeel. 

The rice used in the brewing process is meticulously polished, down to 50% of the grain, following the rice-polishing standards of the Hakkaisan Brewery and its Junmai Daiginjo classification. This attention to detail results in a sake that is clear, elegant, and refined – a true testament to the craftsmanship of Hakkaisan Brewery.

Tasting Notes of Hakkaisan Awa

The beauty of Hakkaisan Awa lies in its complexity. It’s a sparkling sake that offers a multi-layered tasting experience, making every sip a journey of discovery. Here are some of the tasting notes you can expect from Hakkaisan Awa sparkling sake:

  • Fruity Aroma: Think of a basket filled with fresh fruits. That’s the aroma of Hakkaisan Awa – a delightful scent that’s both inviting and comforting. It has notes of melon, pear, and grapefruit.
  • Refreshing Taste: Hakkaisan Awa offers a taste that’s as refreshing as a cool breeze on a hot summer day. It’s a revitalizing flavor that’s sure to awaken your senses.
  • Gentle Sweetness: Amidst the refreshing taste, you’ll find a gentle sweetness that adds depth to the flavor profile. It’s a subtle hint of sweetness that perfectly balances the overall taste.
  • Crisp Finish: After the symphony of flavors, Hakkaisan Awa leaves a crisp finish that’s both satisfying and invigorating. It’s the perfect ending to a delightful tasting experience.

Pairing Suggestions for Hakkaisan Awa

Hakkaisan Awa is a versatile sake that pairs well with a variety of dishes. Whether you’re having a fancy dinner or a casual get-together, Hakkaisan Awa is sure to elevate your meal. Here are some pairing suggestions:

  • Sushi: The refreshing taste of Hakkaisan Awa complements the delicate flavors of sushi, making it a perfect pair for a sushi night. Check out our sake and sushi pairing guide for more tips.
  • Grilled Seafood: The crisp finish of Hakkaisan Awa cuts through the richness of grilled seafood, creating a balanced flavor profile.
  • Light Salads: The gentle sweetness of Hakkaisan Awa pairs well with light salads, adding a refreshing touch to your healthy meal.

FAQ:

How do you drink sparkling sake? Sparkling sake is typically served chilled in a champagne flute or a wine glass to preserve its bubbles. It’s best enjoyed slowly, allowing the bubbles to deliver the unique flavors and aromas to your palate.

Where is Hakkaisan sake? Hakkaisan sake is produced in the Niigata Prefecture of Japan, known for its pristine water and high-quality rice, both essential ingredients in sake brewing.

How do you drink Hakkaisan sake? Hakkaisan sake, including Hakkaisan Awa, is best served chilled to enhance its unique flavors and aromas. It can be enjoyed straight from a sake glass or incorporated into cocktails for a refreshing twist.

What is the meaning of Hakkaisan? Hakkaisan refers to Mount Hakkai, a sacred mountain in Niigata Prefecture, Japan. It’s also the name of the renowned sake brewery that produces Hakkaisan sake, including the sparkling Hakkaisan Awa.

Should sparkling sake be refrigerated? Yes, sparkling sake should be refrigerated to maintain its quality and freshness. It’s best served chilled to enhance its unique flavors and aromas.

Alternatives to Consider

While Hakkaisan Awa is a premium choice, other sparkling sakes like Mio Sparkling Sake also offer a delightful experience. Mio Sparkling Sake is much sweeter, a more affordable option, and has a lower alcohol content, making it a popular alternative. This was a popular choice in the restaurant, one that I sold bottles of almost every night.

My Favorite Sparkling Sake

Hakkaisan Awa Sparkling Sake

Highly Recommended!

In the vast world of sake, Hakkaisan Awa shines bright. Its unique production process and balanced flavors create a delightful experience for any occasion. Whether you’re a seasoned sake lover or a curious beginner, I highly recommend giving Hakkaisan Sparkling sake a try.


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