Dassai 45 Junmai Daiginjo Nigori

Dassai 45 Junmai Daiginjo Nigori

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$32.00 USD
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$32.00 USD
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If you enjoy Dassai 45 (their flagship daiginjo), which is filled with juicy nectarine, white peach, honeydew melon, chestnut, tropical fruit, asian pear, strawberry, tropical flowers (plumeria! hibiscus!). cotton candy, lemon, licorice (mike and ike's), white pepper, and white grapes...you'll love Dassai 45 nigori as well. Because it's really just a fluffy-textured, almost whipped version of the original. It's semi-dry, in the way that a vodka tonic is semi-dry. It doesn't it you with sugar at all-- just a tiny bit of sweetness to balance out the fennel and white pepper.

While Dassai recommends a white wine glass, and that's great too, I love Dassai nigori in a black lacquer sakazuki. The stark contrast is really beautiful, you really notice and can appreciate the texture of the nigori through the thin and wide brim, and the bright, lifted aromatics still get an opportunity to express themselves (though not quite as well as a wine glass).
This is delicious as an aperitif, but it pairs well with a wide range of food too. My standard nigori pairing recommendations apply here: southern thai (tom kha, coconut based curries, banana leaf-steamed fish), Burmese, Cambodian, Cebuano cuisine (I mean...anything where spice, lime, vegetables--especially bitter veg--and herbs are king), coastal Mexican cuisine (fresh fish, chiles, lime), and where sushi is concerned this nigori really shines with spicy tuna. But honestly? Have a glass of it with anything, anytime you're feeling like it. Just be sure to finish within a week, the delicate aroma doesn't last too long. 

Stats:

Recommended serving temperature: refrigerator cold to lightly chilled.
Rice: Yamadanishiki (in fact, nearly all of it is sourced from top Hyogo "Special A" paddies, and Dassai is responsible for using almost 15% of the nation's total production!)
Yeast: Purportedly number 9, although it's currently undisclosed-- likely a blend.
Fermentation starter: sokujo 
Aging:  minimal; 3-6 months to soften.
Polish: 45% 
Grade:  Junmai Daiginjo Nigori (No spirits added-- rice only, and that rice must be milled to 50% or less).

Brewery:
Asahi Shuzo Co. Ltd. 
Location: Iwakuni City, Yamaguchi Prefecture (inland, on the Higashi River).
Established: 1948
President: currently 4th generation, Kazuhiro Sakurai 

Asahi Shuzo, a relatively young Yamagata brewery founded in 1948, is really the progenitor of the premium sake trend and may be the most popular premium sake brand outside of Japan. But this wasn't the case in 1984, when 3rd generation president Hiroshi inherited a company facing bankruptcy. Like so many other breweries in the 80s, the business had been relying on declining sales of its inexpensive house brand. Cheap sake was competing with beer and losing.

At the same time, Sakurai noticed a fledgling trend in premium sake. The recent (and dramatic) improvements in brewing technology as well as the economic bubble inflating demand for premium products were driving this trend. Hoping to ride the wave, Sakurai phased out Asahi Shuzo's house brand and launched a premium daiginjo brand named “Dassai” in 1990. Sakurai focused his marketing efforts on high-end restaurants in Tokyo and eventually broke into the global export market. Asahu Shuzo invested in collaborations with chefs such as Joel Robuchon, who opened a sake bar and restaurant in Paris, as well as a 700,000 square foot brewery at the Culinary Institute of America campus in upstate New York. Asahi Shuzo is now a $100M global brand still on an upward trajectory, continuing to innovate and redefine sake throughout the world.

Asahi Shuzo NY brewery is now projected to open in Summer 2022, at which time they will introduce American-made Dassai Blue, from Japanese and Arkansas-grown Yamadanishiki rice.