I rang in the New Year with a bottle of Hatsumomiji Shuzo’s super premium Harada Junmai Daiginjo. This one is made with Yamadanishiki sake rice grown locally in Yamaguchi prefecture (the historical name for this area is Choshu). The rice is also ranked Tokujo, which is the highest official classification.
Harada sake is always complex, and focuses less on the big, billowy sweetness that often shows up in Yamadanishiki daiginjo. This one in particular brings herbal notes of mint and anise to the nose, and in the mouth it brings bright notes of melon and white peach that give way to those same herbal notes on the palate. The finish is medium, as it fades into solid umami with a final cleansing wash of astringency.
This is not a delicate sake, it is hefty and well structured. In fact, counter to accepted wisdom when it comes to daiginjo sake, I went ahead and heated this one to see how it held up.
It was wonderful! The understated sweetness filled out with almost vanilla touches, and the finish smoothed out into a quicker, fresher fade that was positively more-ish.
It was a wonderful start to the year, and reminded me just how much I like sake from this local star.