Like its big Junmai brother, Taiheizan Junmai Kimoto, Chogetsu Junmai Ginjo "Clear Moon" is brewed in snowy Akita prefecture using the Akita kimoto starter method. This sake is a great example of how "ginjo" doesn't always imply fruity, and instead it can imply clarity and precision-- a more refined, elegant version.
If Taiheizan Kimoto Junmai is rustic rice porridge with a dollop of butter, this is a creamy rice puree made perfectly smooth, almost whipped, with fresh cream. The brewery recommends it served in a wine glass, lightly chilled, although we noticed it evolve in pleasurable ways as the bottle warmed up to room temperature. Notes of blanched almond, braised fennel, and sweet cream form a gentle umami depth, while alpine wildflower aromatics and substantial acidity make wine glass feel "right."
A group of friends and I enjoyed Chogetsu Junmai Ginjo "Clear Moon" over pizza at Ken's Artisan Pizza. Much to our surprise, it really shined with the Margherita pie-- the fresh basil, creamy mozzarella, and bright tomatoes brought out the best in the sake and vice versa. This would also go well with anything butter or cream, any dish with a good balance of acidity and umami (roasted tomatoes, tinned fish w lemon, pickled mushrooms, any and all Italian cuisine..) or served on its own, so that you can admire its uniquely smooth texture.
Brewery: Kodama Jozo
Location: Akita Prefecture
Rice: Akita Sake Komachi
Yeast: Proprietary (house yeast--seems to me like a gentle yeast which emphasizes the rice rather than its own aromatics.)
Seimaibuai: 55% Polish
Fermentation starter: Kimoto (a traditional method which yields creamy results with higher acidity).
Grade: Junmai Ginjo