Unlike the rest of the Kirinzan lineup, the junmai ginjo-- impeccably elegant-- is also the richest and most indulgent, while still being Niigata feather-weight. A welcoming floral nose, creamy and nutty with mushroom, lemon, herbal notes, leads into countless layers of flavor on the palate: buttery, velvety, with notes of chanterelle, malted milk, cocoa, banana, lemon and minerality.
A deep and thoughtful junmai ginjo unlike any other.
- Brewery: Kirinzan Brewery
- Prefecture: Niigata
- Grade: Junmai Ginjo
- Rice: Gohyakumangoku (local)
- Polish: 55%
- Starter method: Sokujo
- Yeast: 901
- SMV: +4 (dry)
- Acidity: 1.3
- Water: soft (Tokonami well water)
- ABV: 15%
Founded in 1843, Kirinzan Shuzo lies beneath the majestic Mt. Kirin in the northern prefecture of Niigata. According to ancient Chinese legends, the kirin is a mythical animal like a flying unicorn that appears as a sign of the birth of a saint and brings happiness and luck. Both the shape of the mountain and local whisperings of lights and spirits on its slopes gave it the name of this mythical beast.
The beech trees, Mt. Kirin and the Tokonami River that surround the brewery provide the perfect filtration system for the local water to become soft. In the production of sake, soft water allows for a long fermentation and this creates the delicate, elegant style of sake for which Kirinzan is known.
In order to ensure the best quality of rice for the sake, in the summer months the toji (brew master) at Kirinzan works in the local rice fields with his team members and in the fall brews the rice he has cultivated. The brewery is committed to using the finest local rice in order to support the local Oku-Aga agricultural community, and in the past few years have moved to using 100% rice from local farmers, and grown within five miles of the brewery.
My visit to Niigata this Winter was eye-opening. Great sake is available everywhere, with sake cosmetics, vending machines, cheesecakes, tastings, available from every business. Everyone who lives and works in Niigata knows a brewer or two personally, It’s like living in the Willamette Valley and being surrounded by wine and wine people. In this setting, freshness and quality is a given: excellent sake is abundant and flows like water. So the standard of production is exceedingly high, and products like Potari-Potari are the best of their kind.