Dassai 45 Junmai Daiginjo Nigori

Dassai 45 Junmai Daiginjo Nigori

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If you enjoy Dassai 45, the flagship daiginjo of Asahi Shuzo and one of the most popular sake in the US, you'll love Dassai Nigori. This sake is a creamy, fluffy, almost whipped version of the original. 

Notes of juicy white peach, honeydew melon, tropical fruit and flowers, strawberry, and cotton candy fill the palate. Complex contrasting notes of lemon, licorice (mike and ike's) and white pepper prevent Dassai from ever tasting cloying. 





Prefecture: Yamaguchi
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 Yamadanishiki production!)
Polishing: 45%
Yeast: Purportedly number 9, but officially undisclosed
Fermentation starter: sokujo
Aging: 3 months to soften prior to release.
Recommended serving temperature: refrigerator cold to lightly chilled.

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.

This is delicious as an aperitif, but also pairs well with a wide range of food. My standard nigori pairing recommendations apply here: southern Thai (tom kha, coconut based curries, banana leaf-steamed fish), sweet heat (Filipino, Korean)and fresh coastal Mexican & South American (fresh fish, chiles, lime). Where Japanese cuisine is concerned, this nigori really shines with spicy tuna and rolls with alllll the toppings under the sun (mango, teriyaki, spicy mayo, tempura ebi...you know the kind?)