Episode 14 Show Notes
Season 1, Episode 14. In our continuing Sake Production Series, we are now in the home stretch! The main event, or you could say the “Main Mash”! Today John and Tim are taking Moromi, also known at the main fermentation mash. This 25-30 day fermentation period starts with a four day process known as “Sandan Jikomi.” These first four days of the Moromi see all the ingredients added – but in specific amounts on specific days.
Without a doubt, the temperature and length of moromi mash fermentation have a big impact on the final quality of the sake. “Low and Slow” fermentation helps produce a smoother, cleaner sake. John and Tim also taste two fantastic sakes in this episode, the Bijofu Tokubestsu Junmai from Kochi, and the Shimeharitsuru “Jun” Junmai Ginjo from Niigata. Listen in to get their tasting notes and get the low down on these two special sakes.
Skip to: 00:19 Hosts Welcome and Introduction
Welcome to the show from John and Timothy
Skip to: 00:51 Answering Viewer Mail
Skip to: 04:15 Sake Education Corner: Moromi
Learn more about moromi Here:
Skip to: 20:46 Sake Tasting Introductions
Skip to: 21:42 Sake Tasting: Bijofu Tokubestu Junmai
Bijofu Tokubestu Junmai
Bijofu Tokubetsu Junmai
Classification: Tokubetsu Junmai
Rice Type: Matsuyama Mii
Brewery: Hamakawa Shoten
Brand: Bijofu (美丈夫)
Skip to: 23:31 Sake Tasting: Shimeharitsuru “Jun” Junmai Ginjo
Shimeharitsuru “Jun” Junmai Ginjo
Brewery: Miyao Shuzo
Classification: Junmai Ginjo
Rice Type: Gohyakumangoku
Sake Name English: Mutual Trading (NY)
Brand: Shimeharitsuru (〆張鶴)
NOTE: Use Discount Code “REVOLUTION” for 10% off your first order with Tippsy Sake.
Skip to: 35:46 Show Closing
This is it! Join us next time for another episode of Sake Revolution!
Episode 14 Transcript
John Puma 0:22
Hello and welcome to Sake Revolution. America’s first sake podcast I am your host John Puma, founder of thesakenotes.com, Administrator of the internet sake discord and sake otaku at large.
Timothy Sullivan 0:36
And I’m your host Timothy Sullivan. Sake Samurai, sake educator as well as the founder of the Urban Sake website. And together John and I will be tasting and chatting about all things sake.
John Puma 0:48
That’s right Tim and what is new in the world of SakeRevolution?
Timothy Sullivan 0:51
well John, guess what? We got mail! a real sake question.
John Puma 0:58
We did! we got mail. All right. What did they ask?
Timothy Sullivan 1:01
Well, our listener writes, “what is the range of alcohol content in sake?” So John, what do you think you want to handle this?
John Puma 1:12
Yeah, I think I can handle this. So I don’t know what the formal rules are on the topic, but I’ve seen sake anywhere from 14% …and those are mostly, I think summer specials to kind of, you know, they want to bring the alcohol down a little bit during the summer months because heat and alcohol don’t always really go well together. And I think the upper end I saw was 21% and that was really undiluted genshu sake. Does that jive with you?
Timothy Sullivan 1:43
Well, le t me tell you what the law says in Japan.
John Puma 1:47
Ooh, I’m ready for that.
Timothy Sullivan 1:48
Let me get a lawyer-ly for a second. This is what
John Puma 1:51
Timothy Sullivan 1:51
…the law says in Japan in order to sell it is sake the lowest alcohol percentage you can have by law is 1%. And the highest, as you said is 21%. Hmm, so that’s the range between 1 and 21.
John Puma 2:12
One. Yeah. All right. So I was off by 13…
Timothy Sullivan 2:15
…you were off by 13…
John Puma 2:19
But for practical purposes, what’s the what’s the lowest you’ve actually seen?
Timothy Sullivan 2:22
Well on the market in `a real product for sale, the lowest alcohol percentage I’ve seen is 5%. There’s a
John Puma 2:30
Timothy Sullivan 2:31
Yeah, there’s a sparkling sake on the market. That’s a really low, super low alcohol, and that’s 5% remaining. I think it’s meant to be just something super easy drinking and light.
John Puma 2:43
All right, and I guess say like they leverage water dilution to make that happen, or
Timothy Sullivan 2:48
John Puma 2:49
Or do we not want to get into this?
Timothy Sullivan 2:52
Well, there’s two things you can do. One is add water when you’re bottling that can bring alcohol percentage down, and also when you’re doing fermentation If you ferment for a shorter amount of time, there’s less alcohol produced. So if you lower fermentation time, you can get less alcohol. That makes perfect sense. And if you add water when you’re bottling, you can also bring the alcohol percentage down.
John Puma 3:15
All right. So that was a nice little, almost like a sake education corner.
Timothy Sullivan 3:21
Oh, yes, like a mini sake education corner. And you know what we’re about to go Maxi. And we’re going to, we’re going to talk about the real sake education corner. So we’ve been doing a series on sake production.
John Puma 3:36
Right? Yeah. And last time, it was all about “shubo”
Timothy Sullivan 3:40
That’s right. So let’s do a quick recap. So we start with rice milling. Then we go to raw materials prep, that’s the rice, washing, soaking and steaming.
John Puma 3:53
So much washing
Timothy Sullivan 3:54
eight, nine times. Then we go to the Koji making. That’s where we make that molded rice. And then, as you said last week was shubo, or the mother of sake, the fermentation starter.
John Puma 4:08
This family is ever growing…
Timothy Sullivan 4:13
So what’s next?
John Puma 4:15
So I think today we’re talking about moromi. Is that right?
Timothy Sullivan 4:18
That’s right, Moromi. Moromi means the main fermentation mash. So this is really where the rubber hits the road.
John Puma 4:27
THIS is where the rubber hits the road?
Timothy Sullivan 4:28
This is where we really get going with fermentation. And this is the main deal here.
John Puma 4:35
All right, so what do we need to know as sake enthusiasts about moromi?
Timothy Sullivan 4:41
Well, there’s a few things I can tell you right at the beginning that are, just basic information about Moromi. It’s the step we said it’s the main fermentation mash. And usually for premium sake, the fermentation time when they start Moromi to the end is about 25 to 30 days. So people often for shorthand just roughly say it takes about a month to ferment sake. Other than that,
John Puma 5:11
Timothy Sullivan 5:11
….the most interesting thing about Moromi, in my point of view is how it’s put together. So the first four days of the Moromi cycle are the most interesting, because that’s when we add all the ingredients. They don’t put all the ingredients in there at once into the big fermentation tank.
John Puma 5:32
Oh, I say don’t just take it all and boom, there you go.
Timothy Sullivan 5:34
That’s right. It’s added gradually over the first four days and there’s a very specific formula that they have. It’s called “San Dan Jikomi”
John Puma 5:43
San Dan Jikomi.
Timothy Sullivan 5:45
San Dan Jikomi, which means three step brewing. So there’s three additions of ingredients over four days.
John Puma 5:59
All right, and what is the first ingredient that gets put in there?
Timothy Sullivan 6:01
Well, the very first thing to go into the tank is the shubo. So remember we had that fermentation starter that’s got all the yeast in it. And that ferments in a tiny little tank, and we move the shubo into the main fermentation tanks. So that’s the first thing that goes in all the yeast in it, and on the first day, this step is called “Hatsuzoe”. On the first day, they add more water, they add more Koji molded rice, and they add more regular steamed sake rice. And at the end of the first day, the tank is about 25% full and then the yeast can spread out a little bit more, and there’s starch being converted to sugar, and then the yeast is there to turn that sugar into alcohol. So on the first day, the tanks about 25 percent full. Then we come to day two. Day two is called “odori” and “odori” means to dance.
John Puma 7:10
Timothy Sullivan 7:11
John Puma 7:12
So Stage Two, Step two is the dance.
Timothy Sullivan 7:15
Yes. I’m making the disco disco pointed finger right match. No…
John Puma 7:21
That makes wonderful radio….
Timothy Sullivan 7:24
sight gags for the podcast.
John Puma 7:27
Timothy Sullivan 7:27
So day two is odori which means dance. And no one it’s not really sure if the Some people think that it means dance like the the fermentation starts to bubble away and the top of the moromi mash starts to bubble and it looks like it’s dancing or moving. Or the reason it’s probably called dance is because there’s no addition on the second day. You just leave it alone and stir it so you don’t put any ingredients in the second day. This allows the yeast to expand to fill that 25% the tank, and because there’s no additions, the Brewers can go dance, I guess.
John Puma 8:08
Sure. I imagine they’re looking forward to dancing after all that hard work.
Timothy Sullivan 8:16
So that’s odori. That’s day two, no additions, you just stir it and you let the yeast grow and multiply. Then we go on to day three. And this is called “nakazoe” and the word “naka” means middle, so this is the middle step. And out of…
John Puma 8:35
that makes perfect sense.
Timothy Sullivan 8:36
three, this is the middle one. So we add more water. We add more Koji rice and we add more regular steamed sake rice, and you add those in amounts so that the tank is about 50% full at the end of day three.
John Puma 8:53
Timothy Sullivan 8:54
and then the fourth and final day is called “Tomezoe” and, guess what ? You fill up the whole rest of the tank. So the final 50% comes in on the fourth day. And after that, all the rice all the water and all the Koji rice we’re going to use is in there, no more additions, of any of those ingredients after day four. So from day four on, you stir the tank twice a day, and you monitor the temperature and control the temperature. And it ferments so there’s no more additions after day four.
John Puma 9:32
And at this point, are you are you keeping this warm? Are you keeping this cool? What’s the or is the temperature that you’re aiming for going to vary depending on what your end product is supposed to be? Well, I think
Timothy Sullivan 9:45
I’ll put I’ll put it this way. The more particular you are about the end product, the more particular you have to be about temperature. So you don’t necessarily have to have a super low temperature to make a Premium sake a technically, you can make a premium sake at a higher temperature. But low and slow is the way you want to ferment for the finest qualities of sake. So lower temperatures during fermentation, create slower production of alcohol. I always picture the little yeast in there with their sweaters on shivering over in the corner. They’re not as active when the temperature is colder. When the temperature is warmer, they’re out and about nice summer day they are out doing their thing and they’re more active, so you’re going to produce alcohol more quickly, but it’s not as refined. So using the cold brewing temperatures when you’re doing this moromi fermentation, create alcohol a little bit at a time, not a whole bunch at once. So that slow production of alcohol over a longer period of time again, we say low and slow brewing, that produces a finer quality of sake. So temperature does have a big impact.
John Puma 11:01
So if I’m making a Junmai, I’m probably not going to be as sensitive to the temperature going on. But if I’m making a Junmai Daiginjo, I’m probably taking a lot of steps to make sure that I’m on top of that temperature at all time. Right.
And beyond temperature, there’s another factor we haven’t talked about for moromi and that’s the size of the tank. You know, said we move to the bigger tank, but what does bigger actually mean?
That is, that is a that is something I took for granted I I had an idea in my head I just rolled
yeah, there is morer than one tank size.
Timothy Sullivan 11:34
Often, sake tanks are referred to in the tonnage size so the amount of one ton of rice that could fit in there so you can have a one ton tank, two ton tank, a three ton tank. And those are on the small side, mass factory production type places that have everything all automated they can have 30 or 40 ton tank size. So it can be very, very large. But most premium brewers are going to have a three ton tank or smaller. I’ve been told that the three ton tank size, that means if you could put three tons of rice inside that size is the largest size one person can stir by hand.
John Puma 12:19
That makes sense. you still still want that hand stirring to be happening. Exactly. You want that handcrafted touch to it. Once you go beyond that size tank, you have to deal with automated factors that are going to go into producing the sake.
Right. And I think that what we’re talking about Usually, I think that most of the production that we’d like to talk about issues, automation in that way, or is that is that is that okay?
Timothy Sullivan 12:49
Thats a great question. The answer I always give to this question is where the robot can do it better. We’re going to have the robot do it. And where the human does it better. We’re going to have the human Do it. And a great example is rice, rice washing, you know, you can wash rice by hand. But there there are machines that very, very premium breweries used to wash the rice, because it is exactly the same agitation and water absorption every single time. And using humans no matter how meticulous you are you doing that washing step, you cannot get the exact same agitation and water absorption time after time after time. So a lot of breweries switch to an automated solution where the machine can do it better. One area where humans do it better is Koji making, we talked about that when we koji episode,
John Puma 13:44
They are not taking our koji jobs
Timothy Sullivan 13:46
No robots taking our koji jobs. So you know when it comes to that temperature point you brought up earlier. One cool thing that they do to chill the tanks is they have what they call summer tanks that have a glycol ring around the edge of the tank. And they can control the temperature of that. And it can cool the sake mash down. In older breweries that get retrofitted. They have these blankets that are like blankets of coils of tubing that they can run glycol through and that can fill the tanks down. And the other option is to brew in the winter.
John Puma 14:29
Yeah. Now when it comes down to those, those glycol rimmed tanks, is that is the distribution of I hope being automated is it being like, you know, it’s kinda like a thermostat or like if temperature goes above x, you know, insert y amount until temperature goes to Z.
Timothy Sullivan 14:48
Yeah, they’re gonna control it’s automated. They’re gonna it’s run by a computer and they’re going to control the temperature and they want to keep it at certain points of the fermentation. They want to keep it at certain temperatures and they can program that. So Brewer can set up that type of cascade that you’re talking about, you know, if it reaches this temperature, increase the chilling to this factor, that kind of thing. They can do that.
John Puma 15:16
And the brewer can take a nap and not have to worry about…
Timothy Sullivan 15:19
or odori go dancing
John Puma 15:22
OR he can go dancing, that’s a very good point.
Timothy Sullivan 15:25
So that’s san dan jikomi the three step brewing process and every Brewer does this to make moromi to make the main match. It’s been kind of come about over many, many centuries of experimentation and development has all led up to this process this three step.
John Puma 15:46
I know that last week we were talking about shubo. There are quite a few different ways to accomplish that step when it comes down to Moromi and adding all the ingredients over these, like over the steps, is that something that’s generally done the same way? Or is there are there stylistic choices there as well?
there is much less variation when it comes to moromi. There is a style of making a moromi mash where you skip the shubo altogether. And,
Sorry, skip the Shubo?
Timothy Sullivan 16:26
You just jump right to Moromi me and you put your yeast into the big tank and build it up over several days and you just kind of skip that shubo step.
John Puma 16:36
Now, if I recall correctly, we said that that was bad, because then your yeast get socially distance. And we don’t want that. Even in age of covid.
Timothy Sullivan 16:46
Yes, generally, that’s why they do that shubo step is to get a vibrant, strong yeast colony going, but if you are a brewery that doesn’t have room for shubo tanks or, you know, you are just making sake for your local community or you know, it doesn’t have to be fancy or whatever, for many reasons you might want to skip that. But in Japan, it’s exceedingly rare that that is done. The
John Puma 17:16
interesting is there, how did they overcome the the spreading out of the yeast or is it just a smaller tanks to overcome that? Or is that the answer? Are they smaller tanks? I think
Timothy Sullivan 17:31
if you’re gonna if you’re gonna skip the shubo step, the fermentation starter step and go right to the moromi, the main mash, I think you definitely would have to start with a smaller tank. And that way you can basically recreate that same experience, but you’re not changing tanks. You know, you’re not going from this tiny shubo tank to a larger Moromi tank. You’ll just do it all in one. So, but again, that’s pretty rare in Japan. I know I don’t know many breweries do that
John Puma 18:02
you said very rare in Japan, is that mean that it’s more popular in the States?
Timothy Sullivan 18:07
I think some US based breweries do it that way, you know, they might not have interest they might not have in a small brewery, you might not have room for a shubo room. So you just start in your moromi tank, you’re going to start the process right there.
John Puma 18:24
Interesting. All right.
Timothy Sullivan 18:26
Well, it was very enlightening. And just one last point, you go those 30 days, 25 or 30 days, and on the last day, before you’re going to move on to the next step. If you’re making an alcohol added sake, remember we said that there’s two kinds of sake the alcohol added “aruten” and the puree style. If you’re, if you’re making the alcohol added style, that distilled alcohol you put in, goes into the Moromi on the last day before you press it.
John Puma 18:56
Really, that’s interesting. I didn’t know that.
Timothy Sullivan 18:59
So that’s That’s the point when you would fortify if you’re going to add that distilled alcohol the day before you press in the last in the last few hours.
John Puma 19:11
And so I’ve also found that when if you visit a brewery or if you in some very rare cases, breweries may have it available for tasting. But tasting moromi out of the tank is a is a thing that one can do. And it’s kind of interesting when you do. I assume you’ve definitely tasted moromi out of the tank at least a couple fo times?
Timothy Sullivan 19:36
in Japan and in the US, and it really is interesting. If you go to brooklyn Kura here in New York. They actually have it on their menu, you can order a cup of Moromi to taste it
John Puma 19:48
Timothy Sullivan 19:48
And it is it is really fascinating.
It is different. That is for sure.
And the further the further along you go in those 30 days of fermentation, the more liquidy it’s gonna get on the first few days, it’s super chunky and ricey. And like, I always joke, you can eat it with a fork or drink it with a fork.
John Puma 20:08
It’s like a porridge. Yeah.
Timothy Sullivan 20:10
And as the as the rice dissolves over the 30 days of fermentation, it’s going to get more and more liquidy and less and less solid. And so it’s a very different experience if you drink it on the last day versus the first first few days.
John Puma 20:25
Interesting. Well, thanks a lot, Tim. We’ve got a another episode in our sake production series. And again, looking forward to the next one.
Timothy Sullivan 20:36
We got a few more to go.
John Puma 20:39
But this is Sake Revolution, and that means we must drink some sake.
Timothy Sullivan 20:44
John Puma 20:46
Yes, Mr. Sullivan. What do you have today?
Timothy Sullivan 20:48
Well, let me introduce my sake to you. This is Shimehariutsuru “Jun” Junmai Ginjo. That name is a mouthful. Shi-Me-Har-Ri-Tsu-Ru. Yes this is from Niigata and the brewery is Miyao Shuzo. Oh and yeah, it’s a pretty pretty well known sake from Niigata Prefecture.
John Puma 21:15
Yeah, I’ve definitely seen that one before.
Timothy Sullivan 21:17
So what did what did you bring today?
John Puma 21:20
I went to the other side of Japan, and I brought Bijofu Tokubetsu Junmai from Kochi prefecture.
Timothy Sullivan 21:30
John Puma 21:32
Timothy Sullivan 21:32
That it is the other side of Japan
John Puma 21:36
Over in the Shikoku region. Yeah. Very, very far away from Niigata.
Timothy Sullivan 21:42
Well, why don’t you go ahead and go first and give it a taste and let us know what you think about that?
John Puma 21:47
Sure. So let’s do that.
So Tim, I don’t know remember where I heard this, but somebody once said that when you open up the bottle sake quickly bring your nose to it and and inhale that first. That air that’s left in there that as the air from the brewery.
Timothy Sullivan 22:15
Wow. I’ve never heard that
John Puma 22:17
And that’s the only thing as it as an American you have very few opportunities to experience that. It’s always been a little treat or something. It’s something I try to do.
Timothy Sullivan 22:26
Wow. Just don’t try that with sparkling sake, you might get some up your nose if you did that.
John Puma 22:33
Yeah, that would be a very bad idea.
So Kochi is sometimes a little… I don’t know if it’s misplaced, but they’re kind of known for making dryer sake. But I don’t always get that from them. I think that’s some of their more popular sake is like the SuigeiTokubetsu Junmai tends to be very dry and so I think that because that’s a very popular Kochi sake Kochi gets this reputation for…” Oh, the sake Kochi happens to be dry.
Timothy Sullivan 23:12
Yeah. I think one word I’ve heard in connection with Kochi sake is kind of “bracing” You know,
John Puma 23:19
Timothy Sullivan 23:20
it’s dry, but it’s like it’s not quiet and light. It’s more a little bolder and dry.
John Puma 23:28
I agree. That’s a it’s one of the things I really like about Kochi sake. Okay, is that it is a little exciting. And I’m not saying it’s funky. It’s generally not but it’s a little bigger. So the the nose on this is very clean.
But some, a little bit of like tropical fruit. I want to say but very faint. It’s not in your face. This isn’t Yamagata fruity on the nose. It’s very, very subtle. Not a lot of rice either. No on the nose at all. And then the SIP has is very it’s got a nice little zip to it. It’s okay, it’s very crisp, but you’re getting a lot of like kinda like passionfruit like almost like a mangoes maybe or papaya, but nestled in that crispness it’s not like again it’s not fruity in the same way that we talked about Yamagata sake being very fruity- it’s part of a larger chorus yeah and then that crispness just goes to a nice little dry finish the fruit fades away, and then you’re done. It’s really nice. This is a even though this is a tokubetsu junmai this is a very great sipping sake. This is wonderful — stop me if you’ve heard me say this before, but it’s that wonderful. long day at work you sit on the couch, you pour a little glass very refreshing. very relaxing.
Timothy Sullivan 25:11
John Puma 25:11
So I am Yes, I am. I feel very relaxed right now.
Timothy Sullivan 25:16
You feel well “quaffed” right now.
John Puma 25:18
I am apparently well quaffed, thank you
Timothy Sullivan 25:22
so I’m curious if you were to rate this sake on a scale from one to five as far as like the weight goes like how bold it is one being really light almost like water and five being super rich texture. When is that like middle of the road or how heave is it?
John Puma 25:40
Yeah, it’s it’s about a three it’s kind of – it’s not overwhelming. Yeah, but it’s not. It’s not so light that. It’s it’s so light that you’re gonna forget it’s there. It’s not this is not something that you’re gonna accidentally have the bottle of. I don’t think it’s nice and I did not mention it earlier. This is using Matsuyama Mii rice, which is a local style. And it’s built out to 60%
Timothy Sullivan 26:09
John Puma 26:10
Timothy Sullivan 26:12
John Puma 26:13
That’s nice. This is this is like a very, very sippable very light. Nice, like I said a little bit dry a little bit fruity. It fits. It fits very nicely in the John Puma taste spectrum. That’s like right where I like, right where I like a lot of things I do like things that are a little dry. Sometimes I like things that are very fruity. It’s like right in the middle. Yeah.
Timothy Sullivan 26:33
You know, sometimes sake is like the one you’re describing right now are sometimes they get a little bit overlooked I think because they’re really balanced middle of the road. Super easy drinking. Sometimes people respond more to like, super bone dry or like, juicy fruity nama or super chunky Nigori. Something really kind of fringy that is really in your face. I’ve seen some people like oh, that’s my favorite. I love They connect more with these more extreme flavor profiles and a sake like what you’re describing now can be sometimes overlooked unfortunately.
I think you’re right. And I think that it is very unfortunate because yeah, there’s there’s more to life than the extremes. And I think that that’s, that’s important at all and everything not just in sake. But yes, the you know, the super extreme like, Oh, this is so dry. It’s you can you know, it’s so dry, it tastes like you’re drinking sand. And then the other end of it, which is bold, you know, bright, giant flavors of a fruity nama. Like, you know that there’s more. There’s more to life than that and, uh, but it is easy for people to it’s easy for that to get attention because it’s so big and it is harder for for something that is middle of the road to get your attention. I think I think that goes for a lot of things.
what I was thinking it’s true for music as well. You know, if you are the type of person who comes home and listens to heavy death metal every day, you know, God bless you know that that’s great if that’s your thing and that’s all you listen to all the time. But I and I’m sure you and other people out there want some variety and sometimes you want to listen to classical music when you’re relaxing. Sometimes you want to listen to opera full blast, sometimes you want to listen to jazz, and chill out. So it’s the same with sake I think there’s different styles and they come in handy for different occasions in different moods.
John Puma 28:33
Absolutely. Yes, it’s pretty great. Gotta make sure people don’t sleep on this kind of sake
Timothy Sullivan 28:41
Wake up, people!
Now. Yeah, wake up. Come on, wake up and smell the sake.
Do we have our show title?
We might, we might. We might have a show title here. Tim I have gone on about Kochi sake and Bijofu for way too long. We need to talk about Niigata a little bit.
OK Niigata is near and dear to my heart, you know that. That’s the prefecture where I lived for a year. And this is again Shimeharitsuru “Jun” Junmai Ginjo. And “Jun” means pure in Japanese. Remember Junmai pure rice. So this is called Jun, meaning pure.
John Puma 29:25
It’s interesting when you said that it was called Jun I assumed that it was a Junmai and that they were shortening the word. Yeah, the shortening the Junmai. were to just June because the name of the brand is extremely long. And sometimes they like to consolidate words in Japanese. So I was assuming Oh, it must be it must be that but it’s interesting that that’s not the case.
Timothy Sullivan 29:49
this is a long brand name.
John Puma 29:54
Timothy Sullivan 29:55
Shimeharitsuru And again it’s the Junmai Ginjo. The rice is 100% gohyakumangoku and that is the another mouthful word. That is the rice that is grown and originated in Niigata Prefecture. And let’s see, the rice milling rate is 50%. So this is sold as a Junmai Ginjo but technically could be a Junmai Daiginjo because it has that 50% rice milling. Okay, so I’m going to — and the alcohol percentage here is 15%. Okay, I’m gonna give this a smell.
Hmmm. This is interesting. It has almost what I would say like a 50/50 mix of some very gentle fruity notes and very gentle ricey notes. So there’s a little bit of steamed rice going on, but very restrained. And there’s hint of strawberry again not like massive tropical fruits like pineapple Juicy Pineapple and really restrained like a light strawberry smell.
John Puma 31:14
That sounds lovely.
Timothy Sullivan 31:15
Really restrained andthe Niigata region is known for this more restrained aromatics like clean bodies. So this really fits in with Niigata regional profile as well. really lovely aroma. I’m going to give it a taste.
ummm. very soft a word I would use to describe this texture is “pillowy” – It’s a little bit soft and pillowy comes to mind.
John Puma 31:50
There’s nothing wrong with that.
Timothy Sullivan 31:52
There’s no hard edges anywhere in the texture of this sake. It’s really soft and light. And it has a nice clean finish. I think in spirit, our sake are connected in that they’re both easy drinking, and they’re both quaffable. We’ve both been well quaffed today.
John Puma 32:15
This is our new word of the day. “quaffed”
Timothy Sullivan 32:18
And but I think mine might read a little bit lighter than yours. Mine has a little bit more of that, that Niigata feel to it.
John Puma 32:27
Well, you you’ve explained you’ve described Niigata sake several occasions as being very restrained as a as a kind of a property of that region.
Timothy Sullivan 32:38
Yeah. The way it’s been described to me in the past is that the more restrained quiet aromatics and the more restrained flavor profiles are meant to put a frame around the food. You know, the sake doesn’t want to be the center of attention. We want the food to be the center of attention, and we’re going to support the food We’re going to support what the chef is doing. We don’t want to be in the spotlight. That’s how some brewers in Niigata have explained to me this reasoning behind having this more restrained elegance in their aroma and their flavors. And the finish is usually crisp and clean for that palate cleansing finish that you know really gets you ready for the next bite of food. So they’re really focused on being a food friendly prefecture I think.
John Puma 33:30
that makes sense. It stands to reason. Probably has a lot to do with their popularity.
Timothy Sullivan 33:35
Yeah, very easy drinking. very approachable.
John Puma 33:41
Nice. Well said this frames the food. What kind of food would you frame it with?
Timothy Sullivan 33:50
Hmm, well for this sake, I’m thinking of something lighter for sure. You know, I had a really lovely preparation of pork – pork tenderloin the other day. That was you know, pork can sound like a little bit heavy or greasy or whatever. But this was the finest cut of pork I’ve had in a long time. And it was you know, they call it the ‘other white meat’ sometimes?
John Puma 34:22
I believe that definetly was a marketing slogan for for a while.
I don’t know if I actually buy it but because it’s kind of “white meat adjacent,’ it really is a touch on the lighter side and that tenderloin piece of pork was really delicious. It was gently roasted and had a very light sauce with it and I think that would pair beautifully with this. Chicken of course would go really well. And some preparations of fish as well but I was thinking about pork would be fantastic with this. What about what about what’s your sake? Did you have any ideas for pairing?
Timothy Sullivan 34:59
Yeah. So this is I did mention this as a bitter, you know, been on the lighter side. So, you know, maybe some like fish or poultry. I don’t think I would go with the ‘other white meat’ for this one, necessarily export dishes tend to be a little bit bolder. But you don’t want anything that’s gonna be really heavy on the palate. I think it would. I think I think it would dominate the sake too much. Mm hmm. And I think it’s something you want to taste. So I would definitely have this with like sashimi. I can have this with some, some grilled chicken sounds wonderful with this grilled chicken, some vegetables and this sake with it. Maybe I’m just really hungry.
All right. Well, I think that takes us to the end of the episode. Thank you all. Thank you all so much for tuning in. If you can, please take a moment and rate our show on Apple podcasts. It will really help us out a lot.
John Puma 36:00
And while you’re there, please make sure that you subscribe to our podcast on your podcast aggregator of choice.
Timothy Sullivan 36:09
And as always, to learn more about any of the topics or the sakes we talked about in today’s episode, be sure to visit our website SakeRevolution.com for all the detailed show notes.
John Puma 36:20
And if you have sake questions that you want to hear answered, we want to hear from you. We want to hear your questions. We want to answer them on the air just like we did earlier. And the way you’re going to do that is to reach us at [email protected] send us an email because we are reading. Until next time, Tim, thank you. We need to remind everybody to keep drinking their sake and Kanpai