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Feb 2, 2009 01:24 PM

Help! Wine/sake recc to pair at Urasawa??

So I'm finally gonna go to Urasawa on Thursday. (And yes the price did go up to $350/pp for just the food). But I'm wondering which sake or wine that would go best with the food. Never paired wine with sushi but am open to it. I generally like dry smooth sakes. I've already had the kubota and fukukomachi. I like both but I liked the unique mild spicy finish to the fukukomachi better (maybe but i'm korean and love flavor). Any suggestions? here's a link from kevineats review of the most recent drink menu i could find from the place:
Any suggestions?

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  1. We always bring our own wines: It is $50 corkage now.

    Meal #1
    1985 Krug Champagne–superb, bit of caramel with age, tiny bubbles

    1983 Trimbach, Gewerztraminer–our son recommended this because of the great match with foods like Uni. He was right. Bright, fruity, clean, superb.

    1990 Pommard, Monopole–absolutely perfect with the rich, fatty meats Hiro served. Clean, fresh, great bouquet, and wonderful velvet finish.

    BYO Wines -
    ‘95 Billecart Salmon Cuvee Elisabeth- smooth, sharp flavor and superb finish.

    ‘97 Corton Charlemagne, Delarche–one of my favorite Cortons. Clean, straightforward superb chardonnay. Great finish.

    ‘90 Gevery Chambertin Lavaux St. Jacques, Rene Leclerc. Superb. Great example of how red burgundy goes with great Japanese food. Hiro paired with meat and other strong dishes. Solid, well aged plenty of fruit, well rounded and that great velvet burgundy finish.

    1990 Champagne Krug
    1998 Corton Charlemagne Delarche 1.5L
    2002 Richbourg, Domaine Gros
    1988 Sauternes, Ch. Giraud

    Full pics and descriptions here:

    2 Replies
    1. re: lizziee

      Unfortunately my measly wine cellar does not stock these greats. Anything around $200-300 that I still have a chance to buy somewhere in LA before thursday?

      1. re: peppermonkey

        check out 2020 wines on Cotner in west LA for a selection of pristine mid 60's and 70's rieslings at very reasonable prices. and older Alsatian grand cru for the meal, followed up by a 40 year old auslese might work well. enjoy!

    2. Depending on the Kubota it can be great. Manju is their premium and there are a couple of "secret" reserve brews which are even better, but only for those with connections. Their menu states "junmai daiginjo" which isn't technically correct because Kubota doesn't grade their sake but I would be confident it's Manju.

      1. Whoa. I feel quite low-falootin', now that I've read these replies.

        Each time I go, I start with beer, and then as the night progresses, I may or may not switch to the menu sakes of Hiro-san's choice (depends on what's being served that night). It's worked out so far... Eighth visit coming up in March (hopefully!).

        4 Replies
        1. re: J.L.

          That sounds like a good idea. I guess he would know best. Out of the ones you've tried which sake is your favorite?

          1. re: J.L.

            I agree, if you trust your host, letting him select is the best way.

            1. re: J.L.

              I agree with asking the chef's/sommelier's opinion. Just tell them what kind of stuff you enjoy drinking and they should be able to find something that suits you. It is their job, after all.

              1. re: andytseng

                I think this is what I'll end up doing. Especially since it's my first time there. But if Hirosan recommends a sake, I will probably try some champagne/wine on my next sushi excursion like zo/sasbune/kirala where I won't feel as bad if it's a poor pairing. Thanks everyone!

            2. Hi peppermonkey,

              Personally, I enjoy Sake with my Sushi; I can't bring myself to pair it with Wine. :) Urasawa-san used to offer large bottles of Senshin from Niigata Prefecture, but it seems he's only offering small bottles now.

              If you like something with a bit more character than Kubota Manju, I'd recommend you track down a bottle of Tokusen Koshino Kanbai Ginjo Sake from Niigata, Japan. Simply amazing. :)

              1 Reply
              1. re: exilekiss

                I kinda hesitate as well to pair anything other than sake with sushi given the fact that they both share the same inherent root which is the rice. Maybe i'll get a small bottle of senshin with large bottle of something else. My girlfriend and I tend to drink a lot (again me being korean and her being vietnamese). I've seen the Koshi No Kanbai Tokusen at Beau Timken's (sake guru extraordinare) Truesake but that's all the way in SF and it takes a few days for them to ship down here. I typically enjoy daiginjo sakes more but I'll definitely grab a bottle next time I visit san francisco. Thanks for the advice.

              2. I think you should try what I've been doing, and pair some Champagne with the sushi portion of the meal. I'd stick with the younger vintages, as the older ones tend to be a bit more strongly flavored, possibly distracting from the fish.

                3 Replies
                1. re: kevin h

                  you guys are making this decision more difficult than when I started the thread. Sake or Champagne? Older vintages or younger? I believe that pairing should elevate the food. I don't believe in the "parallel pairing" of late, where the food and drink stand as individuals good in their own respect, not taking away from each other but also not necessarily improving the other. The food is king. I want to the food to stand in it's highest essence. Does this make any sense?

                  1. re: peppermonkey

                    It's uncharted territory for me, pairing wine & sushi/sashimi.... Not sure what combo would create the synergy that we 'Hounds all tend to look for in our non-Japanese pairings.

                    ... Maybe this is best left uncharted?..?

                    1. re: peppermonkey

                      Champagne IMO is a great pairing. Kevin is spot on with his rec, and from his history I would say he likes his drink and knows a bit about it too.

                      Traditionally sake is considered not to go with sushi for the reason given above, but many Japanese feel the opposite is true, i.e. rice wine does not go with sushi rice (too much rice.) I don't agree though.

                      I have had some great red pairings with sushi too. You are having a primarily seafood meal and there are plenty of great red choices to go with fish.