New Store Arrivals: The Summer Nama Flight x 6 - And Many More!
Okay Nama freaks - the next flight of unpasteurized brews has arrived - en mass! We have some new faces this season and the old regulars are all drinking really great.
Here are Miwa's reviews for the new summer flight:
- Otokoyama "Man's Mountain" Sasaori Nama
From Hokkaido Prefecture. Tokubetsu Junmai Nama.
SMV: +5 Acidity: 1.4
"Sasaori" refers to the faint misty part of the sake. (When pressed, the sake rests so the fine rice particles can settle to the bottom of the tank.) This is one of the few namas that feels consistent year to year. The aromas of muskmelon, banana and guava are a pleasant contrast to the dry, lean and mineral tones of the sake. It is like drinking the scent of the fruit as opposed to the juice of the fruit. A clean and tight finish called "kire" is also a signature element of this sake.
- Ohyama "Big Mountain" Nama
From Yamagata Prefecture. Tokubetsu Junmai Nama.
SMV: +2 Acidity: 1.3
This year Ohyama drinks silky and light with a delicate nama aroma. Not overly fruity, this rice-like sake has a gentle sweetness that is like a taste of Japanese wasanbon sugar. It has an elegant clean finish and feels slightly drier than the brew from previous years. This sake is always a good companion of food.
- Tsukinokatsura Kohaku-Ko "Luster of Amber" Nama
From Kyoto Prefecture. Junmai Ginjo Nama.
SMV: +3 Acidity: 1.6
This sake is being imported to the US for the first time this year (while its autumn-release sake has gained a solid fan base over the years.) When the bottle is first opened, the aroma of summer fruits bursts out, and a pleasant acidity of yellow nectarine and Fuji apple floats in the air. The taste is a gentle blend of fruits and rice, and the feel is so Kyoto sake-like: soft, delicate and feminine. The first sip might feel slightly thin but the flavor builds up as you sip more. Excellent balance is what this sake is about.
- Yonetsuru "Rice Crane" Nama
From Yamagata Prefecture. Junmai Nama.
SMV: +3 Acidity: 1.3
This sake from Yamagata is also imported for the first time this year. The aroma of summer fruits, like nectarine, is well blended with the classic aroma of nama and steamed rice. This sake has a smooth texture yet feels solid and big. Rice-like sweetness and a bright semi-bitterness are all wrapped into one sip. Amazingly, this sake tastes and feels so smooth and balanced even after being opened for several days.
- Tsukasabotan"King of the Peony" Nama
From Kochi Prefecture. Junmai Ginjo Nama.
SMV: +5 Acidity: 1.5
The aroma that arises from the glass is the mixture of apple, melon and plum combined with a hint of cream and mineral tones. A crisp taste and a smooth feel are together in this sake, like tasting a slice of melon with a drop of lemon juice. It finishes with a nice balance of acidity and bitterness, like the taste of cucumber skin. This sake drinks good well-chilled.
- Umenishiki "Gorgeous Plum" Nama
From Ehime Prefecture. Junmai Daiginjo Nama.
SMV: +3 Acidity: 1.3
The queen of nama, this unpasteurized Junmai Daiginjo is always a treat. This year the sake has nutty and cream-like aroma with a hint of fruits and a scent of koji rice. This soft-textured sake has a blend of umami (yummy-ness) and a simple, easy sweetness of melon. It is like drinking melon water (or sipping cucumber water at a spa.) There is a touch of good bitterness and quiet kick of acidity at the end.
Takenotsuyu Brewing Water
We are proud to announce the arrival of this special brewing water, imported for the very first time, from Takenotsuyu! This natural, unpasteurized water comes in 1.8L bottle ($22). There were only 30 bottles imported; we have 12. (One bottle per customer, please.) If you are fan of Takenotsuyu (also Haguroshuishi brand), you cannot miss this.
Also herewith are some "left unsaid" reviews of brews that have been on the shelves for a bit but have not had the written word bless their little hearts! All good stuff!
- Nanbu Bijin "Southern Beauty"
From Iwate Prefecture. Nama Junmai Ginjo.
SMV: +4 Acidity: 1.5
This nama or unpasteurized sake has a bright nose filled with grape, cherry, apple, star-fruit and melon elements. Made with Ginginga - a local brewing rice - milled to 50% look for round and tight fruity tones that become more expressive in a larger vessel. Talk about plump, smooth and balanced this guy is all fruit forward with hints of watermelon, honeydew and crisp apple flavors. Interestingly there is a semi-dry finish for the mild fruit explosion, which is made even more smooth in a bigger glass.
WINE: Big reds/Fruity whites
BEER: Crisp Ales
FOODS: Bright raw cuisines, fruit plates, pick-nick fare
- Rihaku "Wandering Poet"
From Shimane Prefecture. Nama Junmai Ginjo.
SMV: na Acidity: na
So you like your Wandering Poet? Why not try it raw? This version has a nosed filled berries, minerals, white grapes and spring onion elements. Talk about a fat and chewy nama that drinks more savory than sweet. With a mild strength and solid structure look for mineral tones amongst a gentle tingle of powdered sugar that drinks more rich than sweet. This is a different feeling nama from start to finish and appeals to those who like tasting living sake that is reserved and controlled, but solid nonetheless.
WINE: Pinot Noir/Chewy whites
BEER: Blond ales
FOODS: Sushi, sashimi, grilled fish, oysters, oily pasta.
From Niigata Prefecture. Junmai Ginjo.
SMV: +5 Acidity: 1.5
The nose on this expressive sake is filled with plum, melon, mineral, spring onion and hint of floral tones. When was the last time you tasted a snowball? Now add some layers of bright and semi-fruity flavors and you are talking one very appealing sake from snow country. Look for koji rice, sweet honey and a touch of powdered sugar elements to jump through the palate. A larger glass tosses more fruity faces such as apple, pear, and honeydew with a gentle grin of bitter- rind like flavors. A fruit forward flavorful ginjo that drinks very buoyantly.
WINE: Shiraz/Fruity whites
FOODS: Sushi, sashimi, shellfish, clean fare.