July 2012

Sake Spotlight - Takami Fujita Looks At Wakatake Nigori

Posted by Beau Timken in 2012, July, Newsletter, Sake Spotlight
"Sake Spotlight" is a unique section within the Newsletter that takes a closer look at specific sakes that may be purchased at True Sake. I approach different professionals within the industry to give their perspectives and insights to the how, what and why's for very special sakes. These insiders are importers, brewers, authors, sake sommeliers, or just enthusiasts who will take your knowledge base a little further. What I like about this segment is that often my review is quite different than that of the guest professional's adding to the point that there is no right or wrong when discussing your opinion about sake.

This month's Sake Spotlight contributor is Takami Fujita, who is a Kikisake-shi (Sake Sommelier) and is the Assistant Manager at True Sake. Takami has a great palate and tremendous passion for sake, which brought her to Shizuoka Prefecture where she toured the very famous Wakatake brewery. She has selected the Wakatake Tokubetsu Junmai Nigori for her Sake Spotlight.

"Some people love Nigori (It is known by the name of "unfiltered sake" in the US), others don't. Before I worked at True Sake, I was clearly the latter and have never bought any Nigori at stores.

Because of the characteristics - sweet/ too sweet, creamy/ thick, and tasty/ doesn't taste like sake -, Nigori may be the classic "love-it-or-hate-it" type of sake. Wakatake Junmai Nigori revised my image of Nigori.

It has a perfect fruity balance between bright-tasting and light-tasting - it still has the characteristics of Nigori. The honeydew melon flavor makes you feel refreshed.

Last November in Shimada-shi, Shizuoka Prefecture, I fortunately had a great opportunity to meet and talk with a Toji (brewer master) of Omuraya Shuzojo who makes all of the Wakatake series of sakes.

This Wakatake Nigori is only brewed for the US market.

The Toji, Hibino-san, told me "we had hesitated to make Nigori at first. However, since we have decided to do it, we keep seeking to brew 'the best of Nigori.'"

At their tasting room, I strongly felt that their Nigori is similarly well-balanced and is as high quality as their other Wakatake brands.

If you want a good nigori experience and you are not nigori drinker this sake will broaden your sake horizons. Likewise if you are a nigori drinker the Wakatake will speak to you because it's not so sweet and will show you that nigori doesn't have to be super sweet to be enjoyable. My aim is to get people who only drink nigori to try filtered sakes and this Wakatake is a good bridge to bring people over to try different types of sake. It's a good middle ground."

Thank you Takami! I fully agree with you about Wakatake Tokubetsu Junmai Nigori being a good "gateway" or "exploration" Nigori as it is not a sweet and creamy bum-rush of flavor like so many nigoris. It's different and is appealing on several different levels. If you are not a nigori drinker give it a shot!

Here is my store review:

Wakatake "Demon Slayer"

From Shizuoka Prefecture. Tokubetsu Junmai Nigori. SMV: +/- 0 Acidity: 1.2

The nose on "The Demon Slayer' is a creamy collection of yogurt, rice, honeydew, peach and plum aromas. This is a very balanced "nigori" that drinks more on the dry side for an "unfiltered sake." A very good example of a brew that has a solid ricey body with hints of fruit tones on several levels, and a tingle acidity that makes the flavors pop. Look for honeydew, Asian apple pear, and peach yogurt licks amongst the dry and silky flow. Not a super thick nigori, but rather a lean and dry sake that appeals to those who want character and not a bum rush of feeling. WORD: Balanced WINE: Nope! BEER: Creamy ales FOODS: Spicy fare, cheese plates, creamy pastas. $25/500ml

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