Ever wonder what Shiboritate 新酒 or Namagenshu 生酒 means on a sake label? This tasting session, we'll be sampling 5 winter-exclusive sakes that are only available every year between January to March! Be among the first in Singapore to taste our new Winter Selections while learning more about sake.
When the brewing year starts in October, the first batch of sake brewed after 1.5 months and released in December is known as Winter sakes. This is different from the Autumn sakes that were from the LAST brew season, left to age summer and released in October.
Winter sakes are known as Shiboritate/Shinshu. Since these sakes were not allowed time to rest and settle after brewing, they are often nama/namagenshu (unpasteurised, undiluted) in nature and taste lively, brash, fresh and full of characters!
Let's explore the Sake Selection for the night:
1) Nadagiku Junmai Hatsushibori
"Hatsu" means first while "shibori" means pressed. Therefore, Hatsushibori refers to the first press of the sake brewing year! Nadagiku is a micro-brewery in the Harima region of Hyogo. The Harima region has obtained GI and is known for the highest quality of Yamadanishiki rice available, "AAA" grade. This grade of sake is not easily obtained by other regions and the rice farmers are very selective on who they supply to. Nadagiku Brewery is one of the select few that uses "AAA" grade Yamadanishiki rice to brew its sakes!
In the case of the Nadagiku Junmai Hatsushibori, there is a slight cloudy appearance as there is some rice settlements left in the sake. Lively and prominent aroma, green tea notes with roasted cashew and macadamia nuts that has elevated acidity and astringency. Adrian imagines that this sake would be perfect for winter meaty stews or oden!
2) Kanemasu Ginjo Namachozo Treasure Green
Start the year right with Treasure Green, freshly squeezed raw, made to bring good luck to those who taste this sake. It is namachozo in nature, meaning it is stored in the sake tank as a nama and only pasteurised once before bottling.
Kanemasu Brewery is located in Niigata, the 11th prefecture to get GI status. This was no easy feat as it's a prefecture with the largest number of breweries and all of them have to agree on the guidelines to follow for "Niigata sakes".
This sake has the aroma of ozone, floral & fresh-cut grass, apple & banana skin. Like most Shiboritate, it is edgy on the palate with high astringency. One participant noted that it smells like a mixed fruit basket, while another said that it has tropical notes of starfruit!
3) Kamoizumi Shiboritate Nama Genshu
Next, we have Kamoizumi Brewery from Hiroshima. It's located in a "sake town" called Saijou, where there is a stretch of 8 breweries that you can visit all in half an hour! Sake breweries crowd in the same area because of the abundant source of "hard water".
This sake in particular, is not just a winter sake but also specifically made for oyster pairing! As Kamoizumi do not carbon-filter their sakes, their sakes tend to taste fuller.
This sake has a really great structure where you can taste the start, middle and end clearly! Sweet notes of apple, Kyoho grapes that dissipates, acidity and dryness on the mid-palate that ends umami, savoury and rich! There's definitely a hint of the hard water's minerality too.
4) Keigetsu Junmai Daiginjo Cel24 Shiboritate Shinshu Nama
Our famous Keigetsu Cel24 is back! This time in a limited edition, winter only Cel24 Nama Version!
Did you know that the Cel24 yeast has 3 times more aromatic particles than other competition yeast used in sake? Hence, sake made with this yeast is explosively tropical smelling and tasting, like a Pina Colada on a sunny day.
A participant of ours tried all 3 of our Keigetsu Cel24 versions and here's what he thinks :
1) The regular CEL24 is the sweetest
2) The Autumn CEL24 is a bit more mellow
3) The Winter CEL24 is a lot fresher than the rest
His favourite was the Winter Version. Seems like Keigetsu is constantly improving their recipe! Subtle difference but always more enjoyable than the last. This does not discredit the regular CEL24 which is still our bestselling sake at theartofsake.com.
Lastly, we have Daishichi Brewery from Fukushima. "Yukishibori” means “Pressed in the Snow". For a brewery that believes in aging their sakes before bottling, having a Yukishibori that is a rare anomaly. Daishichi had pressed this sake in winter and bottle immediately to release, making it one of the youngest sake they've ever brewed. (The bottle date is dated December 2021).
Unlike most breweries that use cheaply sourced distilled alcohol from the cane sugar in Brazil, Daishichi actually brew their own distilled alcohol to add into their Honjozo from leftover sakes from previous batches. That's dedication to sake right there!
The Yukishibori Honjozo has a complex aroma of green fruit and flower blossoms, as well as a hint of melon. Well integrated alcohol as it doesn't burn despite being 18% in abv. Layered flavours that is smooth, velvety and silky on the palate. We think it's a masterpiece to create a fresh sake with so much complexity. How do they do it? #mindblown
Check out 2 variants of Daishichi's Yukishibori here:
Daishichi Yukishibori Honjozo Namagenshu
Daishichi Yukishibori Honjozo Nigori Namagenshu
It's time to announce the votes for the favourite sake of Sake On-nomi #40!
Seasonal sake onnomis are always fun! See you in the next onnomi in 2 weeks' time~
Event Date: 23rd Feb 2022, 8pm.
Don't miss another event, stay tuned at https://theartofsake.com/collections/ira-sake-onnomi
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