Kurosawa Junmai Kimoto Namazake
Kurosawa Junmai Kimoto Namazake

Kurosawa Junmai Kimoto Namazake

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Primarily allocated to seasonal club subscribers, this is a low-alcohol, unpasteurized “draft” version of the classic Kurosawa Junmai Kimoto from Nagano. Due to Kurosawa's broad availability in the US I tend to not stock it on the shelves, but this seasonal treat is a bit more exclusive and it's a very unique one as well, clocking in at only 13.5% ABV!

Technically a natsuzake, this sake is released only once a year in early April to enjoy during the Summer season. It's left unpasteurized, and brewed with kimoto, for fresh acidity, which balances against an easygoing ricey sweetness. Always serve chilled, either as an aperitif or paired with light vegetables and seafood. The aroma is refreshing and fruity but not over the top, with subtle notes of yellow plum, kiwi and mandarin segments. The palate follows through but its acidity is higher than expected, and there's a mild astringency on the finish that reminds me of fresh cucumber: a very refreshing summer treat. 

As for the label, one of Japan‘s summer traditions is telling Kaidan (scary stories). It’s a traditional way to pass the hours on hot summer nights. Each Kaidan story has a unique Yokai monster, and these are featured on the back label to evoke a sense of Summer fun.


Brewery: Kurosawa Sake Brewery
Location: Yachiho, Nagano
Brand: Kurosawa
Grade: Junmai Ginjo Kimoto
Rice: Miyamanishiki (Nagano)
Polish: 55-60%
SMV +8
ABV: 16%
Acidity: 1.5

Kurosawa is a family run sake brewery with a history of over 150 years of crafting fine sake using traditional methods. Founded in high mountain Nagano Prefecture is 1858, it is currently overseen by Kazuo Kurosawa, the fifth generation of the family to run the brewery, with his son Yohei serving as toji master brewer, leading the sake making team. They specialize in the labor intensive and traditional kimoto method of sake production that produces bold, rich flavors and a beautiful sharp acidity.
It was during a trip to Japan in 1996 that a young Jun Tanaka who had been importing fine Japanese sake to the US discovered the brewery and realized the bold flavor of its sake would go over extremely well in the US. Up until then most sake available in North America was high quality, ostentatious and aromatic and highly priced sake from Japan, or American made sake that could be sold inexpensively but tasted nothing like authentic traditional sake. It was Tanaka-san’s insight that traditional, well-made sake with bold and nutty flavors at a reasonable price could find a place in the United States.
Since 1998 Kurosawa has been one of the most well recognized Japanese made sake in the US, with excellent quality, carefully controlled freshness, accessible pricing, and a bold and authentic flavor.