After a long hiatus, I am back, and I have oh so much to share! Autumn has come to Japan, finally, and with it the opposite end of spring’s Shinshu events. This is the season of Hiyaoroshi (aka Akiagare, etc.), which is sake that has been left to age over the summer after the spring new sake season. These gently aged sakes are bottled and sent out in early autumn to accompany the abundance of the harvest season, and this is celebrated all over Japan with events like this: Hiyaoroshi no Kai.
On September 25, the Yamaguchi Sake Brewer’s Association hosted a fine dining event at the Hotel Sun Route in Shunan, Yamaguchi prefecture. Representatives from 20 or so Yamaguchi brewers came with their premium sakes to celebrate the coming of fall and the release of the season’s sake.
Not every brewery releases hiyaoroshi. Some, like Harada, brew all year long so there’s no seasonal shift. Others prefer to release their sakes on a different shift, avoiding the aging specific summer-long aging process altogether. However, those actual hiyaoroshi represented here were excellent.
Nakashimaya’s was the quintessential autumn sake. It had mellowed to an umami-rich mellowness that balanced the meaty, hearty meal served. I was also treated to one from Yamagata Honten, a Moriko Junmai, that aims for hefty flavors over the current trend for delicate fruitiness. It had a good dose of sour as well, and went great with the premium roast beef we had.
There were so many good sakes, I can’t give them all justice. I feel so lucky to have been invited by my friend Takaaki Yamamoto at Yamamoto Sakaten, and can’t wait to see what Yamaguchi brings to the next Hiyaoroshi season!