March 2020

Power 5 Challenge – Tasting Yamagata!

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

How would you like to taste the sake essence of Yamagata Prefecture without flying there? In an industry where you don’t want to generalize too much about similarities in prefectural sake making there are certainly some themes that transcend the taboos of generalizations. Niigata is light and dry. Akita is fat and wide. Fukushima is sweet then dry. Kochi is dry and thin etc. Well if I had a gun to my head I’d say that Yamagata sake is flavorful and smooth. Pretty general right? Well why don’t you help me out and taste five brews that use some very local Yamagata rice varieties and generally have the same water characteristics. Look for flavorful themes that drink round and smooth. 


Temahima “Time and Effort” Junmai Daiginjo 

  • A wonderful example of how many fruit flavors reside in a sake made of rice and water only. How does that happen? And then take note of the feeling of this brew that is velvety and lush. It’s clean, it’s smooth, and it’s so flavorful and maybe that’s why it’s Yamagata? $48/720ml

Takenotsuyu “Winter Water” Junmai Daiginjo 

  • How can something be watery-clean and luscious?” And yet another example of a fruit forward brew with a dry ending that explores the feeling of sake. It’s semi-plump, but it’s also gone quickly and maybe that’s why it’s Yamagata? $49/720ml

Tatenokawa “Phoenix” Junmai Daiginjo 

  • An unpretentious Junmai Daiginjo that has plenty of fruit tones, but drinks on the down low. It is not in your face fruity, but there is a very cool feeling play that makes the sake drink slippery and maybe that’s why it’s Yamagata? $43/720ml

Kudoki Jozu “Pick Up Artist” Junmai Ginjo

  • And yet another “feeling” sake that goes in smooth and expands with a flavor push that is so crazy for just rice and water. Layered and luxurious this complex Junmai Ginjo is another example of fruit up front with a dry finish and maybe that’s why it’s Yamagata? $36/720ml   $13/300ml

Dewazakura “Green Ridge” Junmai Ginjo

Made with a very famous Yamagata sake rice varietal called Dewasansan this brew once again shows a feeling that is truly remarkable for a rice and water only sake. There is a quiet acidity play that makes the layered fruit tones go smooth and balanced and maybe that’s why it’s Yamagata? $40/720ml   $16/300ml

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