February 2020

Power 5 Challenge – Tasty Junmai Daiginjo Under $40

Posted by Beau Timken in 2020, February, February 2020, Newsletter, Power 5

We get it! Daiginjo and Junmai Daiginjo sake are expensive. It is! It’s also very expensive and labor intensive to make so the price reflects the work and ingredients involved. There are not a lot of “bargains” in the Daiginjo segment, but that said some brews – some very good brews – come in below the $40 price level. Herewith are 5 Junmai Daiginjo sakes that are extremely tasty and well priced. There are a whole slew of products at exactly $40, but we wanted to go lower. Say hello to some very premium brews that won’t break the bank, but will make you appreciate this category of sake.

1) Kuro Kabuto “Samurai Armor Helmet”

  • This Junmai Daiginjo is made without any filtration “Muroka” and uses a black “koji” mold, which is mostly used for making shochu. The result is a really wonderful flavored sake with lots of body and complexity. There is a very enticing acidity play (+2.0) that appeals to big red wine drinkers, but also a smoothness and unique flavors field that would appeal to white wine drinkers. $35/720ml

2) Tengumai "50"

  • This sake is made by a brewery known for their big and funky Yamahai sakes, but this brew is so far from that. Think about perfect feeling sake that is like liquid velvet in your palate. Lots of Daiginjo sakes are very thin and clean, but not “50,” which is full-bodied and lush with loads of flavors and feelings. $29/720ml $10/300ml

3) Toronako “Tiger’s Cub”

  • This Junmai Daiginjo from Yamagata Prefecture is as solid as they come with a gentle acidity and lots of balanced flavors. Very appealing to wine drinkers it does very well in a white wine glass. The owner of this brewery is one of the nicest guys in the sake world, and I think this fact translates to his sake, which is happy and nice. $36/720ml

4) Kirin “Koshihikari”

  • This Junmai Daiginjo from a small brewery in Niigata Prefecture is extremely well balanced, and we use it as an example of a “Round” sake.  Rice and water doesn’t get much smoother than this brew, and when you talk about rich flavors it shows a lot of vanilla, nougat, and Crème Brulee. $38/720ml

5) Hoyo Kura no Hana “Fair Maiden”

  • This Junmai Daiginjo is made with a special brewing rice called Kuro no Hana. It is a great example of a fermented sake that is void of the taste of alcohol. Light and delicate it is perfect for those who like tasting elegance in a glass. With a low SMV and low acidity it is a sake that is gentle enough for beginners, but complex enough for those well-versed in premium Junmai Daiginjo sake. $35/500ml

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