Today is a bit of a departure–a really big one, actually. This sake is all the way from Sapporo, Hokkaido! I know this blog is dedicated to Yamaguchi and the surrounding areas, but when I saw this on offer from a shop I follow on Instagram, I just had to try.
Hokkaido is not really known as one of the great sake producing regions. It’s cold climate is great for production, but they have traditionally not produced much sake rice, so the brewing tradition hasn’t caught on there like other northern Japanese areas.
However, in recent years they’ve developed a few individual strains of sake rice, including the one used in this sake, which is turning things around. This sake is made from Ginpu sake rice grown in Hokkaido’s Shintotsukawa city, a strain developed in 2000 and Hokkaido’s second original sake rice.
Produced by Nippon Seishu, Inc. in Sapporo, whose toji Tomoko Ichisawa is one of a very few number of Japan’s women toji, this sake was available from only three stores in Sapporo. Ah, me and my “limited edition” weakness.
So, then, how was it?
It was lovely. As a namasake, it was of course bright and flavorful, with a lively mouthfeel and cake-like sweetness.
It lacked a lot of the appley-fruitiness that is so popular these days, but carried a full bodied plum-liqueur note that was quite pleasant.
The aftertaste was full and slightly sour, with a hint of pear.
Like most junmai, I think it would make a great meal sake, with enough punch to stand up to rich, meaty dishes but not so much as to overpower your dinner. It isn’t so much suited to lighter fare, but might make a nice dessert drink.