Beau-Zone Layer – Senkin Organic Nature 2022
Tochigi Prefecture, Junmai
Senkin is a hot brewery right now for several reasons. When I visited them this year, it was abundantly clear that they like making and selling sake – two different reflections of sake. On one side of their stunning brewery, they have these super clean stainless tanks where they use high-end rice varietals and 901 yeast to make superb Ginjo and Daiginjo sake (that we also sell at the store). These brews are widely acclaimed and win many medals. But, I have a feeling that the younger brother Masato (Toji) likes it more on the other side of the kura where the brothers have rows of traditional wood fermenting barrels known as Kioke where they make another expression of sake that they call their “Nature” series.
The Nature brews are the opposite of modern sake and they feature their own Kameno-o rice varietal milled to 90%, natural wild yeast, and they use the old-school Kimoto pole-ramming technique. Typically, these old school minimally polished brews drink fat and clunky, but Masato invented a drier koji technique that produces lighter and crisper sake. How cool is that? I like to joke that this sake drinks 100% opposite of the way it should, and that is all technique, pure and simple. So, if you’re into your natural wines, this organic work of nature is right up your alley. If you want to try a great expression of sake that is outside your wheelhouse, then this well-made brew is great to pair with citrus dishes, vinegar based fare, and pickles all day long. My hat is off to these cool brothers Kazuki (Shacho) and Masato Usui who bring new meaning to old and new school sake making.