I was lucky enough to be invited to host another “sake samurai” tasting at Sakaya, New York’s ONLY all sake store. It’s really fun when I get to meet people and introduce them to some of my favorite sakes one on one! This time, we focused in on three Junmai Ginjo sakes, with three unique flavors, all from different parts of Japan. Here is a look at what we tasted…
First, we looked at Urakasumi Zen Junmai Ginjo. This sake approaches you with an even hand across the board. It’s got a wonderful medium body with a medium dry palate. And you guessed it… a nice medium acidity rounds out this very well balanced, smooth sake. A wonderful textbook example of “junmai ginjo”. A nice slow brewing time at a low temperature is one of the secrets of this fantastic brew. Enjoy it on it’s own, or even better – pair with some food. Urakasumi is extremely food friendly and I encourage you to experiment! You’ll be sure to find your own state of “ZEN”. ooohmmmmm.
Next we tried Kaiun Junmai Ginjo. Kaiun is a rich and layered sake. Quite delicious! I think it’s interesting that this sake is from Shizuoka Prefecture. Shizuoka is know around the world for it’s refined tastes and palate. An example I often site is the exquisite production of Green Tea crop that comes from Shizuoka. I find this refined palate reflected in the sake. There is a special flavorful nuance in Kaiun that speaks to me of it’s home. If you’ve tried Kaiun Junmai Ginjo, please post a comment below and let me know what you thought.
Last I served Mantensei Junmai Ginjo. This sake has a strong aroma of organic honey on the nose. smells just like the farmer’s market honey! I’m telling you!! give this sake a whiff and you’ll see. Such a fun thing to find the smells and flavors in sake. Moving on from the nose, this sake came across to me as rich in texture with a touch of a dry finish. Really an interesting brew and I can’t wait to drink it again for further investigation.
“Junmai Ginjo” means different things to different people, but talking with sake fans at this tasting convinced me that there is no one answer to what it is. I think it will easily be a life-long quest to try and better understand this classification of sake. The good news is, that’s a mission I am happy to sign up for. Kanpai!