Wakamusume is a perennial favorite in this house. Not only does little Shintani Shuzo (Japanese link) make great sake, but the couple making it are simply lovely people. And with times as they are, I want to do everything I can to support local business like them: and that means buying sake!
I saw on Instagram that Shintani was releasing a new Omachi sake with a lovely peony label (botan is the Japanese name for peony) and of course I felt it my duty to buy it–to buy two, in fact. The nama and the single hiire!
The review version is the nama.
Omachi rice is no longer the king of sake rice, having long ago been knocked out of first place by Yamadanishiki, but it still has a strong place in the rankings. The Okayama original rice offers deeper richness than most Yamadanishiki sakes, with a propensity toward complexity and darkness. In the right hands, this translates into sakes that hit lots of umami notes underneath a banana-tendency fruitiness, and this sake is definitely one of those.
Botan has a big, mouth-filling flavor weaving together Omachi richness with nama zing. It’s not one of the tarter fruity sakes you would expect from a nama ginjo. It’s drier, with a healthy dose of astringency. The finish is very clean, and it’s an excellent sake for oilier, heavier meals like fried chicken, gyoza, and the like.
Another wonderful sake from Shintani Shuzo!