A delightful sparkling sake of roughly "brut" dryness with notes of tangerine zest, chestnut, tart yogurt, white blossom and malted milk. The mousse is soft and fluffy, it's fully bottle conditioned (meaning the bubbly fermentation happened in bottle) and the appearance is very lightly cloudy-- origarami nigori, if you like. It has an unusually high, wine-like 5.3 acidity balanced with a modest -28 SMV of sweetness (for the sake nerds). This gives the sake atypically bright notes on the palate: lemon ice, green grape, underripe nectarine. Overall, beautifully done and really lovely.
But this doesn't come easy! And here's where I get on the soapbox. Most sparkling sake I've tried has an off flavor... some sort of musty...something, cardboard-y, bitter. But Ninki Shuzo? They must have really dialed in their technique, because theirs is uniquely clean and pure. And not only with this sparkling sake, but also the Uka Junmai Daiginjo Sparkling they produce as a collaboration with Koda Farms in California, using Kohuko Rose rice. The two have a similar feel and are probably brewed in much the same way, but the original-- this, the Ninki-Ichi Bottle Conditioned Junmai Ginjo-- is really fantastic and the only sparkling sake in my shop, the only one I think belongs on shelves alongside champagne. It's an excellent aperitif and has a great balance to pair with food.
- Brewery: Ninki Shuzo
- Brand: Ninki-Ichi
- Grade: Junmai Ginjo, bottle conditioned sparkling
- Polish: 60%
- Prefecture: Fukushima
- Yeast: Utsukushima Kirameki Kobo
- Rice: Gohyakumangoku
- Established: 1897