Kenbishi is one of the oldest brands in Japan, at over 500 years of business making sake in Hyogo. It makes a point of maintaining traditional flavors, using techniques rooted in the local sake making traditions of Nada.
Mizuho is one of their more premium bottles, made from a blend of aged yamahai-shubo sakes. Kenbishi doesn’t publish the specs of their sake, so no one knows things like seimaibuai, or exactly how long each of the sakes in the bottle is aged, but the product is always a dependably rich, full bodied sake.
I recently had a little party online to help see how it pairs up with European style cheeses and meats, and it was such fun.
I prepared three different temperatures–heated to 40 C, room temperature, and cooled to 18 C. I paired it with provolone, comte, aged gouda, cheddar, and emental, with some salami aged with white mold.
The sake itself is a wonderfully nutty, smooth-drinking sake with delicious umami and a delicate finish. It is best warmed up, and no one really enjoyed the chilled sake, so warmth is a key in getting the most from Kenbishi.
As for the pairing, a couple of things came clear- this sake really shined with provolone, Comte, and sharper aged cheeses (cheddar, gouda, etc). Emmental was not at all a good pairing, as the nutty bitterness seemed to wash out all the flavor of the sake itself.
All in all, every member found this a lot of fun. The sake’s big flavor and the umami of the cheeses worked together well. I highly recommend exploring the pairing of cheese with sake yourself. It’s a well-made match, and really drives home the versatility of sake as a world drink.
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