Sake Spotlight September 2005 | True Sake
September 2005

Sake Spotlight September 2005

Posted by admin in 2005, Newsletter, Sake Spotlight, September

I recently received an email from James G – a customer of the store and newsletter reader – who offered this thought: "Although I do enjoy reading through the anecdotes, and appreciate the good humor with which the newsletter is presented, I would find more and more detailed descriptions of the specific sakes offered much more useful to me."

And your wish is my command. I have decided to add a section to the Newsletter for those who would like to know more about specific sakes from myself and other professionals in the sake world. The Sake SPOTLIGHT section will select a sake or two for break-down and build- up. And hopefully the result will be a better understanding of how the selected sake is made, what elements to look for and what impresses those who know. But, again I must state that at the end of the day you the drinker are the champion of your own palate, which is vastly different from every other palate out there. I will lead you to the water, but it is you who must drink.

Mukune "Root of Innocence"Junmai Ginjo from Daimon Shuzo (founded in 1826) in Osaka Prefecture. The owner is Yasutaka Daimon – a sixth generation director of the brewery and an excellent person. The head brewer was Kazuyuki Kita (There has been a major development in this regard that I will cover in the next newsletter – fascinating stuff but it is still not public information yet.)Facts:

  • Seimaibuai: 55% (45% of the rice has been removed) This is the polishing/milling rate.
  • Rice: Yamadanishiki (one of – if not – the best brewing rice in the business)
  • Yeast: Brewer's original. (They do not purchase this yeast from the national yeast banks)
  • Nihonshu-do: +2 (This is the Sake Meter Value –SMV- which measures the residual sugars)
  • Alcohol: 16%
  • Acidity: 1.8
  • Water: Natural spring water rich in minerals

I asked John Gauntner, author – sake professional – and the "Sake Guy" his thoughts about Mukune and he provided the following:

  • "Mukune: It has one of the best balances between sweet and dry, light and heavy, and smooth and textured of any sake I know. It kind of hovers in its own force field of flavor and aroma. Yet is has great breadth; this may be one of its defining characteristics. I once commented on this to Philip Harper (assistant brewer at Daimon Shuzo), who smiled and said, "Welcome to Kansai," indicating that it was indicative of sake from that part of the country."

I myself find Mukune to be an enchantress of sorts; equal parts magical and mythical. Herewith is my review in the store:

  • Mukune "Root of Innocence" – Junmai Ginjo – Osaka Prefecture – SMV: +2 Acidity: 1.8
    Another in the group known as "the amazing noses of sake", as ripe melon, raspberries, honey, balsa wood and floral components dance together. Mukune is a mysterious sake made for those looking to explore big flavors and disappearing acidity acts. It is a complex sake that drinks like a dream, with a very solid texture that veils ripe fruit tones in a round dry package. This thick and rich sake sings an acidity movement that says goodbye before hello as if a phantom acidity structure is at work. And if you close your eyes you may very well find a vein of strawberry and anisette flavors deep in the depths of the chewy softness.

    • WORD: Complex
    • WINE: Full bodied reds/Dry Whites
    • BEER: Huge Ales/Soft Stouts
    • FOODS: Salty and savory fare, shrimp dumplings, sautéed filet of sole with lemon, oily fried food.

What John and I and many others agree upon is that there is a quality that this sake posses that is unique in the sake forest. It stands alone. Philip stated that it is a reflection of the Kansai style, but rarely have I tasted a sake that works as well as Mukune. It is seamless in movement and has a higher than normal acidity level that is there but all together not there as well. I admire the "wideness" of flavor, and have tried this sake out of many different vessels to see which one distributes the phantom acidity best. My conclusion is that a round-bottomed tall water glass with straight sides makes the most of the fluid. A very classy sake from an equally classy brewery. Worth an exploration at $38/720ml or $18/300ml.


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