Nagaragawa – ‘Tenkawa’ – Muroka Nama Junmai Ginjō

Nagaragawa –  ‘Tenkawa’ –  Muroka Nama Junmai Ginjō

Nagaragawa –  ‘Tenkawa’ –  Muroka Nama Junmai Ginjō      Summary: The unpasteurised and unfiltered version of one of my favourites, but the nama zing is possibly not fully present due to the long time on the road. But is is fresh, fun, brash and too drinkable for anyone’s good. Seimaibuai: 55%,  Acidity 1.5, SMV +3, Amino Acids 1.6, Acohol: 15.8%,  Rice: Hida Homare, Yeast # 16. Prefecture: Gifu Price:  Online, about $36.45 for a 720 ml bottle. Score – 7.5/10 Details: It was hard to review this sake. I was really looking forward to opening this bottle. The orthodox version of Tenkawa is one of my favourite sake available here, in Australia. Full, complex, sweet and savoury.  I also love nama, unpasteurised sake, and the bubbly, effervescent zing that live enzymes inject into flavour. But Chef’s Armoury Sake Shop is in Melbourne, and the only way to deliver sake is with Australia Post trucks. 3 full days out of the fridge later, the sake feels a little too settled for nama, a little flat. I just feel something is supposed to be there, and it’s no longer is. Perhaps I am imagining things, and it was never meant to be that effervescent. All is not lost, however. Quite the opposite. The sake has a muted banana and rice fragrance and a full, sugar and umami – laden palate. Acidity is nearly overwhelming,  but it fits the fullness of flavour. It is a bit like underripe custard apple, sweet and creamy but astringent, too. The sweetness is reminiscent of canned pinapple. It is intense, young, brash and, despite its rough edges, very very drinkable. The sake has not been filtered with charcoal, but the colour is clear. To be honest, the filtered version is almost as full.   It is a lot of fun, but I need to try it fresh out of the fridge. Something for my next visit to the southern capital.      ...

Read More

Moriki Shuzō – “Rumiko no Sake” – Junmai Ginjō Muroka Nama Genshu

Moriki Shuzō – “Rumiko no Sake” – Junmai Ginjō Muroka Nama Genshu

Moriki Shuzō – “Rumiko no Sake” – Junmai Ginjō Muroka Nama Genshu     Summary: Interesting brew, but too heavy and savoury for my liking. Seimaibuai: 60%,  Acohol: 17.3%,  Rice: Yamada Nishiki (for kōji) and Hattan Nishiki (for kakemai (steamed rice added to fermentation tanks), Yeast #6. Prefecture: Mie Price:  Varies by restaurant, also available through Annandale cellars, POA. Score – 5/10 grains Detailed Review: This sake is hugely popular on Australian restaurant scene. I think that wine sommeliers find a lot to hang on to, to mould onto the wine frame of reference with this sake, to be able to describe and sell it to a customer. For me, this is not where I find my joy of sake. It is certainly interesting, and a bit wine-like. My notes from last year say “mushroomy”, and when I got to try it again this year, I found the same freshly sliced mushrooms in the fragrance. There is a lot of umami in the fragrance and body, and it is no surprise given that it is unfiltered. It is also quite acidic and my drinking partner described it as “aggressive”. It is full on, and sake for me is about a slightly purer vision. I don’t feel particularly good critiquing harshly a sake which is clearly a labour of love – Moriki Shuzō is a small brewery, where the wife and husband team dedicate their lives to the craft as owner-tōji. It is unfiltered, undilluted and unpasteurised, quite an experimental kind of sake. It is a bit higher in alcohol, but not the full 20% as genshu can be. In its defence, I did drink it after a bottle of beautiful and clean Wakatake’s Onikoroshi, so perhaps that was the contrast. Don’t get discouraged, it is worth trying to discover the incredible spectrum of sake flavours.        ...

Read More