Hizen Toji Ginjo – Tasting

Hizen Toji Ginjo from Yamato Shuzo in Saga prefecture

Hey again! So the blog here is going to be a bit spotty this month because I have family visiting from America and none of them drink, so it’s kind of awkward to sit around slurping sake and taking notes on my own. I’ll do my best to get something up here, though, and here’s my latest effort.

I took a recent trip to Saga prefecture on Kyushu last month with my wife and son, and although Kyushu in general is more known for its OTHER nihonshu, Shochu, I did manage to pick up a couple of local beauties at a roadside station in Yoshinogari. This is the first I’ve managed to try, though.

Ginjo lying on the clean, dry side of sake (I LOVE THAT GRAPH), 58% Seimaibuai

This is another aruten ginjo, meaning it uses brewer’s alcohol in the brewing process to help emphasize some of the alcohol soluble flavors that might otherwise be lost, and it’s wonderful. Just wonderful.

The initial aroma is a full ginjo fruit aroma of muscat grape, sweet apple and a touch of prune richness.

The first sip is a mouth-filling, full-bodied complex fruit flavor of muscat and prune, with a very subdued sourness that keeps it from cloying.

The finish is a kind of spicy astringency with hints of that prune sweetness that doesn’t coat, just hangs around a touch so you want to take another sip.

Overall, this was an incredibly drinkable sake that rewarded leaving out to let the temperature come up a bit. This allowed it to open up and bring out the sweeter fruit aromas for a more purely “ginjo” experience.

I drank this with friends over cheese, bread, and crackers and it was a huge hit. I think it’s got enough character to pair well with richer foods like barbecue or Chinese, but isn’t so overbearing so as to kill lighter Japanese fare.

Truly a great sake.

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