October 2011

Sake Focus - Shirataki Jozen Junmai "Aqua"

Posted by Beau Timken in 2011, Newsletter, October
You've seen "Pink!" You've seen "Blue!" and you've seen the new "White!" But have you seen "Aqua?" Shirataki Jozen Mizunogotoshi is and has been one of the top selling Junmai Ginjos in the US and in Japan. It is a powerhouse brand from a Niigata brewery that is known for their stylish logos and packaging. They make excellent and pristine Ginjo and Daiginjo class sakes. And without a doubt most Japanese sake drinkers know the brewery, the brand, and the quality of the sake. I have sold the "pink" (this version and the former) from day one at True Sake. It was and continues to be one of my top selling "gifting" sakes. Then last year for Sake Day 2010 - The 5th Anniversary - the good people at Shirataki donated the "Welcome" sake, which was their introduction to the US market of their Junmai Daiginjo "Blue" sake. The guests loved it!

Then earlier this year the brewery released their other Junmai Ginjo in the beautiful clear bottle and white and silver box called "White." This has been selling like hotcakes as it is extremely tasty and folks love the depth and cleanliness of the brew. And again it is another Ginjo from a Ginjo making brewery! But what about a Junmai from these guys? When will they produce a Niigata-style Jozen Junmai?

Ask and ye' shall receive! In the near future Jozen will release Jozen Junmai to the US market. But what nickname should it have? As I am good friends with the brewery and the importer, they asked me what to call the sake. When I saw the light blue bottle, and heard that they wanted to call the Daiginjo, which is in a cobalt blue bottle, "Cobalt," I said, why not called the Daiginjo "Blue" and call the new Jozen Junmai "Aqua," as the glass actually is more aqua then light blue! Winner Winner Chicken Dinner! They liked it and voila Jozen Junmai "Aqua" is on its way.

They poured the "Aqua" at this year's Sake Day and guests loved it! This is what it says on the label: Jozen Junmai - Very dry sake. Refreshing fruity aroma harmonized with rice grain and white chocolate. Matured, balanced, rich and deep flavor with viscous texture. Rice polishing ratio: 70%. Alc. 17.5% Matching foods: sashimi, sushi, deep-fried seafood, grilled of broiled fish, yakitori, roast chicken, tempura, etc.

Lastly, as I had a little part in the history of Jozen Junmai, my friend at Shirataki Mr. Dai - "DaiGinJoe" Hosaka - pulled the first bottle off of the bottling line for me, and presented it to me at Sake Day. He wrote with a red pen "#1" on the label where the production date is supposed to be written. The first bottle!! That's pretty cool and it will most certainly go into my "precious bottle" collection.

Thank you Dai-san and thank you Shirataki!

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