On the way home the other day I stopped over at this neighborhood liquor store just to poke my head in the door to see what kind of stuff they had.
Within seconds I was greeted by throngs of old Japanese men who almost drug me into the store. Of course after I had said konnichiwa they swore up and down right then that I was fluent in Japanese! So rather than get barraged by countless questions I started talking about sake. Then they were really impressed. They treated me like I was the prodigal son who at long last returned home from living in the world.
(This is her robed)
The oldest of the five went for the fridge and snatched out about five different sake, most of which were from either Akita or Yamagata. Now, I love all of the sake that comes out of this region of Japan, but there were two that I had to get and the one I’m drinking now is my feature sake for today.
First off, the sake brewery is called Tenju and it’s located near the beautiful Chokai Mountains in Akita prefecture, home of the Akita bijin ( fair skinned ladies written about in folklore in Akita). It’s a sixth generation sake brewery replete with all the history of old Japan. The brewery was established in 1874, which was also in the same year Japan’s first political party emerged called the Aikoku Koto (Public Party of Patriots). Sometimes it’s good to add an historical reference just to get an idea of the Times.
The Sei-Mai-booh-Ai (精米歩合) or the ratio of rice removed during the milling process is 50%. Standard table rice, the stuff you eat, is 10%. The actually rice used to brew the sake is called, which is very popular, Akita Komachi and is widely sold through-out Japan at very reasonable prices. The alc. content is at about 17.5%, which is something I really like because I hits you very gradually and then lets you down very sofly. The SMV or nihonshudou (sake meter value) is at plus 1.0, which is a measurement of the relative density of a sake. Simply put, normal sake at plus 2 is fairly sweet whereas plus 6 and up tend to be dry, of course this is not a RULE so to speak. There are sake out there with lower SMV and that are not dry.
(Ridel Daiginjyo Sake Glass Ware. Every sake geek should have one)
Another neat thing about this sake is that it was brewed in the most extreme cold temperatures, more than average actually, almost freezing temps.
Sake made from Tenju is excellent for having an elegant nose with full and well rounded tastes.
About the taste:
[What you are looking at is indeed an Akita Bijin, albiet, from a much older generation and without the make-up and without the costumes that are worn up there. Just simple, nice, and dignified!]
The nose is very elegant, almost like a fine white wine. The taste is complex, fruity, and dynamic. It fills the entire inside of the mouth up with flavors and aromas. I really enjoyed drinking this sake. The after-taste is clean and smooth.