My Tastings

Dassai – A Festive Wine For Any Occasion

Name implies “otter festival” for in ancient times, otters in Yamaguchi Prefecture on the southern tip of Honshu, the largest of Japan’s four main island, frolicking in nearby rivers would lay out fish they catch onto the shore, showing them off in a festival.

Sake is a wine not easily understood by the populace. Generally an afterthought and not represented on most wine menus. Confusingly because it is a wine. The challenge to the sake industry are too many to mention but the main one is most are not exported. The breweries are small, the wines are a laborious process, typically not meant to age so they don’t travel well, and culturally marketing is not of consequence. In japan considered a folk beverage, millennial’s now have more to choose from beyond sake. However, the industry is peering bright with Japan’s driven technology, and coming into fashion as countries like the United States with cities like Las Vegas giving it a sexy personality.

I had the advantage to attend a Dassai tasting, one of many Sake Tastings held at the preeminent historical fine wines & spirits store in the country and one of the best in world, Hi Time Wine Cellars, Costa Mesa, California. Veronica Castro, the incomparable Sake Specialist at Hi Time Wine Cellars, hosted this ALWAYS popular event, integrated with Sushi Chef Ben Weissberg of The Shiroyama Sushi Co. all for $20, and made to order sushi rolls $8.

Asahi Shuzo Co., Ltd. is the brewer and distributor of Dassai, a sweet, full-bodied sake with a unique flavor that has achieved high acclaim both at home in Japan and abroad. Dassai has captivated sake fans all over the world, from the U.S., Germany and France to Monaco, Egypt and Hong Kong. Demand for Dassai is extremely high, and Asahi Shuzo has always been challenged to keep pace with it.

250 Ogle St.
Costa Mesa, California, 92627-3808
United States

(800) 331-3005 | map


Asahi Shuzo only brews premium Junmai Daigingo

This category is the “A-list” in the sake world – the best of the best – and a brewery’s best offering. Each grain of rice must be milled to at least 50% removal and 50% remaining, and some go as far as 23% “seimaibuai” or 77% removal of each grain of rice. Light, sometimes more fruity and more fragrant.

Created in 1923 by crossing Yamadaho and Tankanwataribune
Yamada Nishiki is a short grain Japanese rice, famous for its use in high quality sake. It is particularly desired by sake brewers for its ability to absorb water and dissolve easily. Yamada Nishiki is the most commonly grown sake-rice. Yoshi a knowledgeable and passionate representative of Dassai wines who delivered an astounding line-up

Complete with polishing ratios, except for the $400 justified masterpiece, a highly subjective opinion as with all tastings, if it’s worth the dent in the wallet.


Asahi Shuzo took the first qualification of Kosher for sake brewery.
Since 2011, all DASSAI products have been kosher certified each year by “Chabad Tokyo Japan”.

Chabad Tokyo Japan http://www.chabadjapan.org

All the stores in Japan are tax-free authorized allowing for Consumer Tax refunds if the total purchase amount exceeds 5,000 JPY.

Asahi Shuzo, to complement modern adapted methods to brew year round, A brewery is being built in New York’s Hudson Valley, which means these wines will be easily accessible to the American consumer.

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