Fukucho Junmai Ginjo Moon on the Water Namazake

Fukucho Junmai Ginjo Moon on the Water Namazake

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Like the original Moon on the Water, but as a teenager (metaphorically) with the volume turned up.

Green apple, nectarine, fennel fronds, salty/briny, honeysuckle, matcha, asian pear, and kombu dashi. But you know, it's a bit of a chameleon...so with food, these notes can change completely. It's a sensational pairing with oysters, but I also love it with anything briney (capers, olives, pickles), shellfish (shrimp, scallop, crab) or sweet chili (for instance, Drinking Buddy Inakayaki or skewers brushed with a nice soy & chili oil glaze). 

Stats:

  • Brewery: Imada Shuzo
  • Brand: Fukucho 
  • Grade: Junmai Ginjo Namazake
  • Polish: 55%
  • Prefecture: Hiroshima 
  • Yeast: 1801
  • Rice: Hattannishiki & Yamadanishiki
  • Established: 1868

This sake comes from a tiny (~3 people?) brewery in Hiroshima, directly adjacent to the Seto Inland Sea, and is also neighbors (physically and creatively) to the brewery of Senzaburo Miura, an early pioneer in Ginjo fermentation techniques and the reason we call Hiroshima the "birthplace of Ginjo sake." (Long story short, faced with the challenge of brewing with Hiroshima's very soft, nutrient-poor water, Senzaburo eventually figured out how to brew at a lower temperature over a longer period of time, which in turn stresses out the yeast, prompting the creation of aromatic molecules that we recognize as peach, banana, and so on. Thus, the ginjo style was born.)

Pulling it back, this is an important brewery from an important place. It benefits from the historic influence of being an immediate neighbor to Senzaburo and therefore one of the first beneficiaries of his discoveries. It also benefits from the vibrant seafood culture of a coastal town awash in seafood but especially oysters, which have been cultivated here for over 400 years. The sake has therefore evolved in an environment where oyster pairing is crucial...and it shows. Moon on the Water behaves like the very best migonette you could ask for-- bright green apple, sharp shallot, a bit of mint, fennel frond and lime leaf, in a foundation of higher than average acidity and umami. Moon on the Water goes with a lot of food, but it was *made* for oysters.

(For a beautiful and in depth read on Fukucho, check out this Oishi so Japan article...)