Decanter - Ben Thomas is Turning Japanese
Does your family have a Christmas wine tradition? For us there’s always sparkling shiraz at the table and Rutherglen muscat poured with the pudding.
This year, I’m going to change the pace a little and serve sake with one or two of the Christmas Day courses. Sake is a great option with food, complementing and highlighting elements rather than competing with them as some wines can.
"When you drink sake you should eat. In Japan, you’ll order food and sake – every round of drinks has a little nibble with it," says Melbourne-based sake importer and sommelier Leigh Hudson.
Just like wine, different sake styles are suited to different dishes, from oysters and salmon to charcuterie and even steak. Try karakuchi with oysters, oni koroshi with cured meats, and nama with prawns on Christmas Day.
While there are different styles and a host of brewers with names that are hard to remember, let alone spell, sake’s actually a really approachable drink. "Sake is where beer and wine meet – in flavour and how they are made," says Hudson. "I think beer drinkers can find something familiar with sake and wine drinkers will find something very familiar, too."
There are common characters that wine and beer lovers will appreciate, from the citrus and minerality of a riesling and stone fruits of chardonnay to the tropical aromas and caramel flavours of a beer.
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