Friday, January 4, 2008

Tenranzan Kahori Junmai Ginjo Sake

It is fitting that I review this Saké today as it meshes with my other post on Saké & Women.

This Saké was brewed at the Igarashi-Shuzo kura in Hanno-city in the prefecture of Saitama, Japan. Saitama is located just northeast of Tokyo. This kura was established in 1897 as a small, family-owned business but it has grown much in the last one hundred years. The kura is in a beautiful region with fine natural springs, a couple rivers and majestic mountains. The brand name "Tenranzan" means "The Emperor mountain."

What makes this brewery more unique, and fitting for today's theme, is that the toji, Saké brew master, is a woman. Kahori Igarashi is the toji at her family's kura. There are currently very few female Saké brew masters, though the numbers are increasing.

The Tenranzan Kahori Junmai Ginjo Saké ($30) comes in a 720ml bottle with beautiful flowers on the wine label. That is something I very much enjoy about Saké, that their labels can be quite beautiful and that the names can be quite evocative. This Saké is obviously named after Kahori Igarashi, the brew master. This Saké has an alcohol content of 16-17% and is labeled as "Medium Dry."

Despite this being a Ginjo, which is usually medium to light-bodied, it is a rather full bodied sake. It also has a slightly sweet tinge to it and a bit of a rice flavor. It has a long finish that ends with a bit more of sweetness. This is the type of Saké that goes well with spicy foods because of that tinge of sweetness. Because it is full bodied, it can also stand up to stronger foods. Because of its sweetness, this is not a Saké that I would usually drink on its own. I prefer a drier Saké for that. I would save this for a night I was having something spicy.

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