Sake Spotlight - Melinda Joe Does Jozen!
This month we are pretty lucky to have one of the top bloggers on sake - Melinda Joe - join us for her take on one of the most brand recognized brews in Japan and the world over. I asked Melinda to introduce herself and her blog here:
|I'm Melinda Joe, an American journalist in Tokyo specializing in food, drinks, and travel. As the bar editor for the award-winning restaurant and bar guide Bento.com and the sake correspondent for the Japan Times, I have a lot of chances to eat, drink, and drink some more. Everyone has a gift, and I've been cultivating that particular talent since high school. I'm a WSET wine certificate holder and graduate of John Gauntner's SPC I and SPC II sake professional courses. Join me on my adventures in sake, wine, and food at my blog, Tokyo through the Drinking Glass:
Ha! Great Point Melinda - sake and food - sometimes we forget and this is a great reminder to us all to continue throwing all foods and flavors at sake - because more often than not it will work! And your choice of sakes was a solid one. I've been selling this sake in various incarnations for 8 wonderful years - three different packaging changes later it still is as solid and as you put it "dependable" as ever. I too have had the honor to speak to the owner of the brewery over dinner here in SF last month. I had one major question - why? Why did they change their "formula" for this sake that has tons of brand appeal in Japan? Why play with success? His answer was simple, "We felt people would like this version even more." And from what I have seen this past year that the new Jozen 2.0 has been released people do enjoy it more.
Basically in a word they changed their "laying down" time period from 6 months to a year for Jozen. I will include two reviews herewith - the former version and the new version. And I too have thoughts about food pairings with Jozen. On account of the new "body" and the same upper-acidity level this brew has a lot of staying power in the pallet - meaning that it holds and works well with flavors in the mouth. Good body - good feeling - good stuff!
Lastly, as a retailer I have always tipped my hat to the Shirataki brewery as they do a great job with packaging. And the new version of packaging is no slouch. Beveled bottles with attitude and style - in three colors for Junmai (white) Ginjo (pink) and Daiginjo (blue). The Daiginjo will soon be available - tasted it at a tasting last month and really fell for the pop and push of flavor on a clean flow. The Junmai will not be available soon!
If you haven't had Jozen for a while I think Melinda just gave you plenty of ammo to get back into the Niigata swing of things.
Former Version 1.0:
|Shirataki Jozen Mizunogotoshi "Pure Flavor"
From Niigata Prefecture.
SMV: +3 Acidity: 1.4
This Ginjo has a nose of soft metal or minerals mixed with persimmons and pomegranates. It has a very nice white chocolate clean beginning with vanilla middle and dried apple finish, all the while twisting in a flavor of snow melt and pears. This Ginjo falls into the very clean and pristine category of Niigata sakes, and does not disappoint. The smoothness and thin viscosity melt in the warmth of your mouth and the fresh balance of acidity and crispness makes this Ginjo disappear with a lingering pear-like departure.
WINE: Pinot Griggio/White Burgundy
FOODS: White fish with ponzu, scallops in wine, cold steamed chicken.
|Shirataki Jukusei Jozen Mizunogotoshi "Pure Flavor"
From Niigata Prefecture.
SMV: +3 Acidity: 1.7
The "Upgrade" on one of the most drinkable sakes in Japan resulted in a more full-bodied version of its former self. With a nose of plums, strawberries, cherries, white raisins, straw and steamed rice this brew, which used to be matured for 6 months now gets aged for a full year to bring out more smoothness and body. Behold a wider, fatter, and more dry sake than its previous incarnation. Round and smooth dried fruit flavors are well balanced with an elevated acidity level creating another great version of a Niigata dry and clean sake that has both body and flavor in a pristine package.
WINE: Pinot Noir/White Burgundy
FOODS: Shellfish, sushi, sashimi, grilled fish and chicken.