December 2004

New Store Arrivals - "Ultra Dai Ginjos?"

Posted by admin in 2004, December, New Store Arrivals, Newsletter

You already know what a Dai Ginjo is right? It is a sake that has been polished by at least 50% with at least 50% or each grain remaining. Well some breweries take this milling thing to the limit! Many of you have heard about Kubota Manju, which is milled to 33% with 67% of each grain removed. But have you heard about Senshin or Tokugetsu, which are sakes that have been polished to 28% with 72% or each grain of rice removed? These incredibly shrinking-riced sakes are now referred to as "Ultra Dai Ginjos." But just when you thought, "how low can they go?" along comes True Sake's latest Ultra Dai Ginjo from a Brewery called Asahi-Shuzo from Yamaguchi Prefecture - not to be confused with the brewers of Manju, Senshin, and Tokugetsu, which is Asahi-Shuzo from Niigata.

Dassai, which translates to "Otter Festival", has introduced two new sakes that are well worth checking out. The first is a Junmai Ginjo called Dassai "50" and the second is the Ultra Dai Ginjo called Dassai "Ni-wari San-bun" which the brewers say is a sake that "defines our brewery."

Dassai "50" - This is a Junmai Ginjo that has been polished to Dai Ginjo levels, thus the "50" which is the milling rate. By far this is the best-valued sake in the store. At $23/bottle you are paying Ginjo prices for a Dai Ginjo- a superb Dai Ginjo at that. I am so sold on this sake that I am including it in the Dai Ginjo section of my book for Chronicle Books, which is why I cannot print my review on the taste and profile of this beauty. Both this sake and it's Ultra Dai Ginjo sister have very unique necks and caps, which are similar to the 1.8L bottles and do not have the typical 720ml twist offs.

Dassai "Ni-wari San-bun" - ("say hello to my little friend" said in the best Al Pacino accent one can type!) This Junmai Dai Ginjo is the new ranking champion in the cockfight known as sake rice milling rates! At a whopping 23% this Dai Ginjo throws 77% of each grain of rice out to the pig farmers. I am sure many of you are asking "but don't you lose the essence of rice at such ridiculous milling rates?" And the answer is no. This sake won a Gold Medal at the Monde Selection in 2002. So there must be some flavor left! Remember however the more you polish, the more you pay! This extremely polished sake carries a $70/bottle price tag, but you only live once.

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