In the run-up to New Year’s day, a big Japanese tradition is the “bounenkai,” a party to put paid to the year’s stress and frustration. They’re common among work teams, circles of friends, and even neighborhoods. We ourselves hosted a small bounenkai with some friends, and I of course took it as a chance to bring out some of my backlog. We went through 6 or 7 sakes, but I’ll just be giving a look at a few in this post and the next one.
We started with a reliable standard: Gokyo Junmai, made with 100% locally grown rice with a seimaibuai of 60%. It was a very ricey brew, with a strong dose of rich caramel sweetness. A solid, od fashioned sake that was easy to drink. It was a good way to get the party going.
This was a bottle I picked up last summer. It’s an origarami, meaning it’s cloudy but not thick like a full nigori (sasanigori means “kind of cloudy”). Being racked from the bottom of the tank means this sake is in long contact with the residual lees and pick up a lot of umami from the rice. It’s a very savory, assertive sake with almost no sweetness and just a little sourness. My Czech beer-drinking friend was a bigger fan than I.
This was my first Kinsuzume sake, and it was a nice one. A Hiyaoroshi tokubestu junmai, this sake was brewed in March and bottled in the fall, giving it some time to mature before being filtered and shipped. This results in a full bodied brew with a mild melon aroma and strong umami. It has a strong sour punch at the end, for a refreshing palate cleanse.
All in all, these three were fine sakes and the crowd enjoyed them. But at the same time, they didn’t really kick up a fuss–they’re good, but not spectacular. Of course, these are all very reasonably prices sakes, as well, so the cost performance is quite good.
Next post, though, I’ll put up the spectacular ones.
Leave a Reply