Kan Nihonkai Cho-Karakuchi Junmai Genshu

Kan Nihonkai Cho-Karakuchi Junmai Genshu

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This is a powerful beast of a sake that reminds me of only one other: the one and only, Akishika Okarakuchi Junmai Ginjo Nama Genshu. But while Akishika is an unpasteurized nama made with ginjo-level polish Hyogo Yamadanishiki and inland Hyogo water, Kan Nihonkai Cho-Karakuchi is pasteurized and made with junmai-level polish Shimane Gohyakumangoku rice and briney, coastal (<200m to sea) water. Together, they are a brilliant pair and both excellent choices for lovers of Super Ultra Dry (+15 SMV!), powerful (18-19% abv!), savory and complex sake. 

Although dry, it still has a refreshing finish that makes you feel the softness of the rice. The sake has faint notes of unripe pear and apple and rice bran on the nose, while the palate is a wave of kombu, dashi, white and black pepper and star anise. 

If you enjoy a dry martini, this is a great one for you. It's great with any rich cuisine but also pairs very well with seafood, especially briney seafood like oysters, caviar and mussels, or salty gravlax.

Stats:
  • Brewery: Nihonkai Shuzo
  • Brand: Kan Nihonkai (Edge of Japan Sea)
  • Established: 1888
  • Prefecture: Shimane
  • Rice: Gohyakumangoku,  Hana Echizen
  • Polish: 65% (you'll see 60% out on the market, but the brewery website says 65)
  • Starter method: Sokujo

Backstory:

Nihonkai Shuzo faces the Japan Sea in Shimane Prefecture, accordingly their sakes feature a subtle salinic component which tends to complement the fresh seafood.  Brewed at low temperatures using rice sourced from Shimane and Mitsumi groundwater, Nihonkai shuzo is unique in their commitment to low temperature fermentation and to steaming rice in traditional wooden steamers called Koshiki.