Joto Junmai Nigori "The Blue One" (Nakao Shuzo)

Joto Junmai Nigori "The Blue One" (Nakao Shuzo)

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Nakao Shuzo--  originators of apple yeast, early innovators of daiginjo, historically entrenched, yet eternally relevant-- and the unassuming genius behind Joto Blue: the inexpensive, unassuming nigori you'd be forgiven for ignoring!

Tasting notes:

This nigori is creamy, soft, sumptuous, like an ultra-ripe, dripping anjou pear. I hesitate to say banana because this is lightyears away from the boring Cavendish banana you find at the supermarket...this is more like a banana you'd eat in India, in Palm Springs, in Honduras...sweet, creamy, suffused with vanilla and tropical notes, ripe dates, florals.  And then the delightful sweetness of rice itself: a baby-soft, pristine, pillowy, mochi-wrapped bite of ice cream. 

Unlike other nigori Joto has zero coarseness, zero astringency, perfectly integrated texture. It's lightly sweet but who cares? Pair it with a curry from down the street and revel in the way its tropical sweetness dances with the palm sugar of the curry. Then have another little glass after dinner in lieu of dessert. 

There's not a lot of umami here, or sophistication. The whole point of it is to be delightful, unassuming in its friendliness, enjoyable by anyone: sake experts and novices alike. What the drinker doesn't know, of course, is the profound expertise it takes to make something this pleasant.

Pairings:

I *don't* recommend it with sushi. There are other sake that will work much better with sushi. I'm sorry for that-- it's just a little too sweet, and there isn't enough umami to show off the fish. Poke absolutely, Southeast Asian and Indian food definitely, coastal Mexican/Central American food (think ceviche, plantains, shrimp, etc), anything sweet-sour-salty, and Netflix & chill.

Serveware:

Serve chilled in any serveware, although personally I love a nice opaque black/dark colored ceramic ochoko so that I can admire the opacity. Aroma isn't really important with this sake, so don't worry about choosing a vessel that emphasizes it.

Tech:

Junmai: pure rice

Nigori: cloudy-- I'd call this 6/10 on the cloudiness scale.

Polish: ~65%

Rice: Shinsenbon 

Yeast: #10

Water: very soft

Brewery: Nakao Shuzo

Prefecture: Hiroshima

Yabuta press, single pasteurized, coarsely filtered.