Wednesday, October 10, 2012

From Momokawa Brewing of Japan: The 2012 Nanbu Toji Guild Champion

From Momokawa Brewing of Japan: The 2012 Nanbu Toji Guild Champion. Of the 330 contestants at this year's competition, this sake won "Best in Show". Thanks to the hustling of Kyota Murai, he was able to find three bottles of this delicious sake that is not commercially available (except locally for special customers in Aomori, though not widely.) 

Yesterday I shared one bottle of the Champion with a few friends. They were not disappointed.

The sake has a seimaibuai of 35%. I went to the Tsunami Grill with my friend Hannah to share the sake with my friends who work there, only to have my friend Todd Eng, the Bar Master at Corkage next door, to have gone AWOL. But Jojo, Elaine, Charley and Dan each enjoyed an ounce or two in his absence! Later on at Nombe, I shared the rest of the Champion with Gil and his management team.

(Photography credit goes to Amanda Mathson)

I would describe the sake as delicate, yet mighty. It was compact, and I was surprised at the viscous, almost oily nature of the sake. Hannah kept trying to identify the nature of the oil, and settled on mackerel. Indeed, mackerel is a staple in Aomori, with squid being the only fish that brings more industry to where this particular sake is brewed. Jizakes like this are brewed with tradition of the local cuisine in mind, to compliment the cuisine, so Hannah's insight was keen.

Notes of anise, banana, and tropical fruit came to mind. But the mouth-feel was what I returned to, and the delicate yet firm nature of the sake. Sake this good is elusive, and descriptions often limit the appreciation of the sake. It was a masterpiece and it's just enough to enjoy the sake with friends who appreciate greatness when they taste it!

PS: for background on the nature of Toji Guilds, please see this summary:

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