Yama Asian Fusion hosts a drop-in sake tasting 5-8 p.m. April 10, with five sakes and light hors d'oeuvres for $30. Yama owner Birdie Yang, recently certified as an Advanced Sake Professional by the Sake Education Council, will be available to answer questions; I'm told he's the only ASP in the Carolinas. Sakes at the tasting will include:
* Suigei Drunken Whale - Tokubetsu Junmai, Kochi
* Kaiun Better Fortune - Junmai Ginjo, Shizuoka
* Shirakawago Bamboo Leaf - Nigori (unfiltered), Gifu
* Born Muroka Nama Genshu - Junmai Daiginjo (unfiltered, fresh unprocessed, limited release), Fukui
Sake is brewed from rice, and there are a lot of distinctions to be aware of, from how much the rice is "polished" before use (to get to the starchy core of the grain; it's generally thought the more it's polished down, the better the sake) to whether (and how much) distilled alcohol is added to the product. Tokubetsu Junmai, for example, is a category -- "Tokubetsu" means "special" and denotes more polishing or use of specific rice, while "Junmai" indicates no distilled alcohol has been added. The first part of these listings is the sake's name, and the last is where it's from.
720 Governor Morrison St. at Morrison at SouthPark; 704-295-0905; www.yamaasianfusion.com.