No, you’re not having deja vu. This is one more review of a Kinfundo Daiginjo Tobindori…with a difference!
If you read my earlier review a similar sake, you’ll have a basic understanding of what Tobindori is. If not, here’s a recap:
Sake, after fermentation is complete, is pressed in a number of ways. It can be run through giant mechanical accordion presses, it can be put into cloth bags that are pressed inside giant wooden tubs. Or, like this particular bottle, those bags can be hung up first to allow some of the sake to run off naturally, without any mechanical pressure at all. This sake is then collected into glass bottles for storage and pasteurization. Those glass bottles are called tobin, and thus you have this: tobindori sake.
What difference does this make? Well, I can’t explain the science behind it, but the tobindori (also called tobingakoi or shizuku sake) has all been extremely complex. Ginjo/daiginjo sakes tend toward smooth simplicity of flavor, focusing on that elegant ginjoka aroma to excite the nose and the tastebuds. Tobin styles, however, bring a deeper level of sourness and umami to the drink.
Here’s a link to that earlier review for the whole context.
So what’s different this time? Well, two things. The first, and perhaps biggest, is that this is a Junmai Daiginjo. This means it has no added brewer’s alcohol in the fermentation. As a mentioned in that previous article, the existence of not of this addition is no real indication of quality-it’s a choice the brewer makes in order to achieve what she wants in the final product (or in order to appeal to a certain customer base drawn to that word “junmai”).
The second is that the sake has a seimaibuai of 40%, while the earlier daiginjo had 50%.
How did it fare?
Well, in the cup it had a very familiar banana/melon uwadachika, with a clean rice finish (junmai!). The flavor on the first sip/aspiration was big and full, some of that melon and a note of white peach as well. It finished out with rice umami on the sides of the tongue and a refreshing bit of sourness to cleanse the palate.
There was very little astringency, and no cloying sweetness lingered behind.
Over all, I loved it. It was a complex, exciting but not overpowering sake. I almost wish it was either 50% mill or had brewer’s alcohol to help me pin down WHICH of those differences mattered more, but whatever the case I loved this sake.