A quick look at a couple sakes

A quick look at a couple sakes

I thought that I would compare a few sakes this week and see what I find. I have to warn you that while I know what I like I am not good at breaking it down and expressing what it is that I like. Anyway, I am not letting that stop me. However, you may need to try them yourself to get the full effect.

I picked up some well-known sake; Nanbu Bijin Ginjo, Minato Tsuchizaki Futsu and Tanrei Junmai.

Nanbu Bijin (Southern Beauty) Junmai Ginjo

  • 16% ABV
  • 50% Seimaibuai
  • +1 SMV
  • Acidity 1.5
  • Iwate Prefecture

This sake is full bodied somewhat sweet but with a slight bitter after taste.

Minato (Harbor) Tsuchizaki Yamahai Nama Genshu Futsu shu

  • 20-21% ABV
  • 67% Seimaibuai
  • +1 SMV
  • Acidity 1.3
  • Akita Prefecture

This sake is extremely full bodied and creamy. It has a liveliness that is just short of a carbon dioxide sparkle.

Tanrei (grace, beauty, elegance) Junmai

  • 13.5% ABV
  • Hyōgo Prefecture

This sake is probably about a +3 SMV. It has a honeydew melon flavor and is very drinkable.

Comparing these, the Minato is the most viscous while the Tanrei has the thinnest mouth feel. It is hard to tell which is sweeter, the Nanbu or the Minato. In terms of color the Nanbu has the most color with Minato next and Tanrei has almost no color.

Yuli, my wife, ask about where the color comes from and why the colors are so different. The normal yellow tint comes from the rice but is removed in many sakes through the use of activated charcoal and filtering. To exaggerate the contrast I poured one of my junmai made with table rice (calrose). This Junmai is muroka or unfiltered, so all of its natural color is present.

Will’s Junmai Muroka Genshu

  • 20% ABV
  • 90% Seimaibuai
  • +4 SMV
  • 1.18 acidity
  • Oregon

This sake is quite creamy and has the most color of all the sakes here. It has more grain flavor than the rest by a considerable amount.

We, Yuli and I, ranked the sake in order of our preference. Yuli has a better palate than I so, whenever I need to know what something taste like I check with her. Anyway, her preference is:

  • Tanrei
  • Will’s
  • Minato
  • Nanbu

While my preference is:

  • Minato
  • Nanbu
  • Tanrei

So, there you go; two people with two different preferences. However, they are all very good sakes.

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