Junmai = pure rice, Muroka = not charcoal fined, Genshu = undiluted.
This is not what I'd normally expect from a Junmai Muroka Genshu (often savory, rice-forward), but I was absolutely delighted that it bucked my expectations.
Very pale and clear, a tiny bit of petillance in the glass, initially on the palate I notice a bit of sweetness and density.
The flavors start herbal and clean-- underripe green melon, cucumber, anise candies, petrichor/mineral, and sweetened cucumber cocktail. On the mid palate, it quickly gains presence and weight: clean yellow watermelon and gala apple, with a resounding, deep umami...concentrated, but brightened by the touch of fizz and expert flavor balance. Finishes on a dry note, floral/perfumed with notes of lilac, violet candies, and yuzu.
Not coarse, robust, nor oily... this isn't a heavy-handed Junmai Muroka Genshu. It's surprisingly light and extremely well balanced for its concentration and complexity. This belongs squarely on the shelf with Fukucho Moon on the Water & Watari Bune. A beautiful dance between fruit and umami, truly a new classic.
Recommended serving temperature: refrigerator cold to room temp
Rice: local, organically grown Yamadanishiki
Fermentation starter: sokujo
Aging: minimal; 3-6 months to soften.
Grade: Junmai (At 60% polish, and as a pure rice sake, it could be marketed as Junmai Ginjo but they have elected to call it simply junmai).
Location: Yamaguchi Prefecture
About Boucho Tsuru:
Yamagata Honten's new line of sake, Boucho Tsuru, demonstrates the "new style" of ginjo: balancing the best of ginjo (fruity, complex, aromatic) with the best of junmai (umami, rich, food friendly). It's an absolute stunner and what you're paying for here (at $41) is a combination of concentration (undiluted), extraordinary care and handling (complex fruity/herbal notes at only 60% polish), and pesticide-free local Yamadanishiki rice.
The label is an homage to the local migrating hooded crane populations. When the cranes, which are the official bird of Yamaguchi prefecture, stopped wintering at the brewery and its neighboring rice fields a few years ago, the owner knew he had to make changes to promote a healthier ecosystem. Switching to pesticide-free agriculture saw a return of the cranes, and Yamagata Honten committed to making this change permanent. The brewery now uses only pesticide-free and organic local rice, and donates a portion of their proceeds to hooded crane conservation. The pattern within the crane is inspired by the region as well: the terroir that comprises Yamagata Honten-- sea, mountain, light, rain and rice.