Even though there are only 2 bottles remaining and I have no guarantee on additional stock of this limited seasonal release, I'm glad I waited until now to write about it because a visitor today offered the most elegant and poignant tasting note I can think of... iceplant.
Have you ever put your tongue on iceplant and felt it dry out as the osmotic boundary draws moisture from your tongue into the salty, mineral-rich succulent? It's one of a number of species that have adapted to live in coastal areas with little access to fresh water, and its high moisture content is an adaptation allowing it to withstand the high salinity and mineral content of sea water.
I warned my guest before pouring-- "Are you OK with astringent flavors? It's a little ginny, a little salty"-- and they agreed, and I couldn't be more grateful that they pulled me into their taste memory here. This is the real joy of operating a sake shop.
My tasting notes are less romantic, but perhaps no less accurate. I get a salty brightness: pomelo, tinned Chinese mandarins, cucumber, lemon zest, minerality, watermelon rind, bitter melon, gin, and sea salt, with a little sweetness sitting on top to balance out the bitterness and astringency. It's relatively lighter in body than a lot of the other Spring namas-- brighter, more mineral, and without a doubt one of the most unique of the bunch. I'm astonished that it's made with Kumamoto yeast, which usually shows such a distinctive and gentle fruity character. Who knows-- maybe it's something in this high alpine water that is creating such a unique flavor profile.
“I devote my life to making sake and always think about sake first. I personally control every aspect of the brewing to ensure the whole process runs happily”
Toji Mamoru Nagase
- Brewery: Daisekkei Shuzo ( 大雪渓), named for a gorge in the Northern Japan Alps
- Brand: Daisekkei
- Grade: Junmai Genshu Namazake
- Polish: 60%
- Prefecture: Nagano
- Yeast: Kumamoto (a variant of #9)
- Rice: Hitogokochi (Nagano)
- Established: 1898