The other day I dove into the very timely practice of “on-nomi” or online drinking parties. In this time of plague, it’s pretty much the only way to get together for drinks these days.
I met a few people from all over Japan and the world and my drinks of choice were to aged sakes, or koshu. They were fantastic, and deserve some mention.
The first I tried was a three year old Junmai Kanenaka from Yamaguchi brewer Nakashimaya Shuzojo.
I drank it heated to about 40 degrees C, and the heating livened it up. It was bright and almost fruity, with that deep-bellied koshu aroma and umami that makes aged sake so attractive. It was a wonderful drink to enjoy with conversation.
Nakashimaya ages this at room temperature, meaning that despite the short term (3 years) it develops a strong character that I would normally associate with an even older brew.
My second round went further south, with a seven year old koshu from Fukuoka prefecture’s Mori no Kura.
This was simply delightful. It was aromatic and flavorful, with a lovely balance between delicate sweetness and aged sake nutty richness. This one was particularly nice as it warmed up toward room temperature.
Komagura is aged at low temperatures, resulting in smooth, delicate koshu with an overall rounded flavor that is really quite drinkable, even for people who might not normally be into koshu.
Both sakes were great, but if I were to recommend only one I think I’d go with the Komagura, simply for the broader appeal.
Jim, I wonder how you are doing in Yamaguchi-ken. The state of emergency has not yet been declared there as far as I know.
With regard to aged sake, the last time I had a chance of staying in Tokyo I could take a sip of a 17y old Shinkame (from 2002, Saitama-ken). It had surprising notes of caramel.
Happy Easter to you.
Thanks for your concern, Klaus. We’re in a pretty small town, and infection rates are still low locally. We’re doing our best to reduce exposure, too, so I think we’re going to be ok here.
Koshu can develop some very interesting flavors. I’ve had side that were heavy and rich like sit sauce, and others that had an almost almond aroma, like a light sherry. It’s a fun way to enjoy sake!