2010 Chikuma Nishiki Kizan Sanban

2010 Chikuma Nishiki Kizan Sanban

2010 Chikuma Nishiki Kizan Sanban

The venerable, Chikuma Nishiki kura was foundered in 1681 and is centred around 4 wells who’s water source is the Chikuma River in the centre of the Nagano prefecture.

Nagano is a mountainous, landlocked prefecture on the main island of Honshū….it has nine of the twelve highest mountains in Japan and the longest river in Japan, the Chikuma River flowing from its source at Mount Kobushi to the Sea of Japan in Niigata. It is also the home to many hot springs including the famous one in Yamanouchi where those lazy-arse snow monkeys swan around in their picturesque jacuzzi.

The Chikuma Nishiki kura is located in the centre of the prefecture, high up at 700m with the Asama mountains to the North and the Yatsugadake mountain to the South. The water from the wells is perfect for sake brewing…..soft with a negligible iron content and the kura uses a local rice called Miyama Nishiki that is perfect for the cold growing conditions in Nagano….it has large, plump uniform grains and shows an appealing richness while retaining refreshing, light-toned notes.

The Kinzan Sanban was first brewed at the Chikuma Nishika kura in 1997 and is classified as a Junmai Ginjo Nama Genshu Sake….Junmai = 100% rice sake mase without ethyl alcohol or other additions, Ginjo = rice polished down to 60% or less of its original size, Nama = unpasteurised and Genshu = undiluted.

The rice here has been polished to 55%, the alcohol is 15% and the acidity is 3.0.

It’s an approachable, energetic, delicate style…..a Sake with training wheels if you like and is a great into for budding Sake ninjas. The fermentation is stopped early here to retain a higher sugar content and combined with its racy acidity the end result is a smooth Sake with a rounded, plump palate, great drive and vivid aniseed/fennel notes.

Quite pale in hue with soft, sweet smelling aromas of creamy rice and bouncy fruit flavours. It’s herb-tinged with a dash of soft spice, pistachio, sea spray, white flowers and plenty of licoricey goodness in the way of heady cut fennel and aniseed.

In the mouth it is both full-bodied and fruity with the aforementioned plump mouthfeel beautifully balanced by a tight acid line with a sapid finish that is like a flake of sea-salt disolving on the tongue. Plenty of vibrant fruit flavours with a pure, ricey lean and hints of herbs, fennel, brine and oyster jus.

A lovely approachable Sake that is a joy to dink and should be served chilled….blue bottle too!

Price: $79 – Closure: Screwcap – Alcohol: 15% – Source: Tasting – Importer: Black Market Sake

A flying start for budding Sake ninjas!

A flying start for budding Sake ninjas!

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