Saturday, April 18, 2009

Gasanryuu- back to the basics

I would like to regress a little from the last few posts, and move back to a more simple form of sake, Futsu-shu (Also refered to more politely as Seishu, or refined sake). Translated directly into English it means: regular or normal sake, but this little beauty from our friends over at Shindou Shuzouten is anything but normal. This is Futsu-shu with an attitude!

Ura-Gasanryuu / 裏雅山流
Kouka / 香鼻
Alcohol: 14~15% / Polish: 65%
SMV: +2
Shindou Shuzouten / Yamagata Prefecture

Tasting notes:
On the nose: Sweet with slight hints of rice, Very clean.

On the palate: Medium dry with a clean light to medium body, and a very round mouth feel. Clean and light.

Other notes:
  • A lot of you out there might be thinking "Why is this a Futsu-shu when it has a polish rate of 65%? Shouldn't it be a Junmai or Honjozou?" This sake has the credentials to be a Honjozou. However, there is a catch. Honjozou sake has a strict limit on the amount of brewer's alcohol you are allowed to add to the sake. Kouka, due to the varying conditions of the rice (a yearly variable for all sake), and wanting to create a sake with a consistent flavor profile, The brewers decided that on the years when the rice melts more during the brewing proccess (and I do mean melts, into what looks like rice porridge or sometimes pudding) that they would add in a little more alcohol than what is allowed for Honjozou.  In the years when the rice doesn't melt as much Kouka is a Honjozou. As changing the lable every year is both expensive and confusing for the customers, Shindou Shuzouten decided to Leave the general classification as a Futsu-shu.
  • The Gasanryuu label uses all home grown Yamagata ingrediants, primarily partaining to the rice (Dewa33, pronounced "day-wa-san-san," it was created in Yamagata and is primarily grown and used there.) The Ura-Gasanryuu lable doesn't use the Dewa33 rice but still uses Yamagata yeast, and Miyama Nishiki rice which, although it is not specified on the bottle, is probably grown in Yamagata Prefecture.
Thats it for this post but look forward to a lot of good things coming out of the Gasanryuu and Ura-Gasanryuu labels.

Until next time,

Meishu no Yutaka staff

Monday, April 13, 2009

Dewazakura Junmai Daiginjo "Ai Yama"!

Here to share the love, is a little bit of heaven called "Love mountain." Well.......really it's "Ai Yama (愛山)" and its a Junmai Daiginjo from our friends over at Dewazakura!

Dewazakura / 出羽桜
Junmai Daiginjo "Ai Yama" / 純米大吟醸愛山
Alcohol: 17% / Polish: 45%
SMV: +3
Dewazakura Shuzo / Yamagata Prefecture

Tasting notes:
On the nose: Sweet, fruity, very clean with hints of honey.

On the palate: Very clean, slight bite on the start with a nice rounding sweetness from the rice. Hints of honey carry through to the tongue. Ending with a crisp, quick, and refreshing finish.

Other notes:
  • Even though Ai Yama is not a genshu watch out for the high level of alcohol. this one is especially dangerous because it drinks so smoothly you may not notice the high alcohol content.
  • Dewazakura is a larger brewery with a full lineup of sake (our store alone carries about 10 different kinds), So look forward to more posts on Dewazakura sake in the future!
  • This Sake is pasteurized, so it is ok out of the fridge, but Dewazakura also has a good line up of Nama Sake (Unpasteurized sake) as well.
  • The name Ai Yama refers to the kind of rice that is used. As best as I can tell, and there is a short explanation in Japanese on the bottle, Ai Yama is a decedent of both the Yamada nishiki strain and the Omachi strains of sake rice. *
Until next time,

Meishu no Yutaka staff

*I am currently doing some research on this, but info in English on the lesser known strains of sake rice is rather limited. I would like to do a post on the Ai Yama strain of sake rice, and others as well, when I have enough info to make it worth while.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Visit from Ume no Yado.

We all had a bit of a surprise this morning, when out of the blue the Toji (master brewer) From Ume no Yado (see previous post on "Mikan"), Takahashi-san, walked through our doors!

From right to left: Takahashi-san, me, Horii-san (sake shop owner from Osaka)

We had a little bit of face to face time, in which I got to practice my Japanese tea preparation skills (still need some work), it sounds like they have a lot of good things in the works.
look forward to more excellent sake and liqueurs coming out of Ume no Yado!


Meishu no Yutaka staff

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Yamahoushi Daiginjo Nama Genshu

This time we are going with a little bit of light and dry with a bang.

Yamahoushi / 山法師
Daiginjo Nama Genshu / 大吟醸生原酒
Alcohol: 18~19% / Polish: 50%
SMV: +4
Brewery: Rokkasen / Yamagata Prefecture

Tasting notes:
On the nose:  Very clean and fresh. Sweet, slightly fruity notes, with hints of rice and yeast.

On the Palate:  Dry with a strong bite off the bat, followed by underlying sweet and fruity characters that give it a nice rounded flavor.  Light to medium bodied.

Other notes:
  • This is a genshu so be careful of the high alcohol content.
  • A little light bodied for your average genshu, but still enough body and spice to keep you satisfied.
  • Coming from Yamagata Prefecture, it has a lot of character. Very fun to drink.
  • Yamahoushi has a full line up of sake, from Junmai and Honjozo, to Junmai Daiginjo.  Under a different label, but same brewery, there is also an Umeshu (plum wine) available. Look forward to more Yamahoushi in future posts!

Meishu no Yutaka staff