Hatsumago Junmai Kimoto

Hatsumago Junmai Kimoto

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Hatsumago is an under-the-radar favorite of mine, with creamy textural notes of vanilla rice pudding, delicate nutmeg and cinnamon, and a silky, dry-yet-fruity, medium-to-full body. The fruity Yamagata style provides backnotes of papaya, banana, apple tart and grassy freshness, while the use of traditional kimoto method fills out the texture and spice character. An absolute joy warm or gently chilled, it lacks the elevated acidity associated with most kimoto sake.

I feel that Hatsumago is at its best (most characterful) around a year past bottling, being very clean and pure in the first year and taking on spice notes and depth in the second.

The brand, Hatsumago means "first grandchild," and is often used in Japan as gifts for expecting grandparents. In a way, it's also a heartwarming brand name that suggests the purity and sweet joy of grandchildren. 

Accolades:

  • 2012 BTI World Wine Championships Gold Medal 91pt 
  • International Wine Challenge Sake Brewery of The Year 2018

Stats:

  • Brewery: Tohoku Meijo
  • Prefecture: Yamagata
  • Grade: Junmai
  • Type of rice: Miyamanishiki
  • Polishing: 60%
  • Yeast: House 
  • ABV: 15-16%
  • SMV: +2
  • Acidity: 1.4
  • Best Served: Chilled or warm

Background:

Tohoku meijo produces only kimoto sake under the brand names Hatsumago and Makiri. Their signature style is a very clean, pure sort of kimoto often without elevated acidity but with improved texture and complexity.