Sunday, August 15, 2010

Echigo Denemon Junmai Ginjo

It is extremely satisfying to me to find a Saké for a person that they enjoy. Over the weekend, I did exactly this, though it had not been my specific intent or purpose. At my regular poker game, I usually bring wine or Saké for myself to drink, and willingly share it with any of my friends who also want to partake.

This past game, I brought a bottle of Saké, and one of my friends, who generally dislikes Saké tasted it and really enjoyed it. It was a style that really appealled to him, much more than any prior Saké I had brought. I then told him how he could find that similar style again if he so desired.

I brought the Echigo Denemon Junmai Ginjo ($32.99/720ml), which I later realized was mentioned in Eric Asimov's recent The Pour column about Saké. This brew is made in the region of Chubu in the Niigata prefecture. The use of the term "Echigo" is almost always an indicator that the Saké is from Niigata. This Saké has had its rice, Gohyakumangoku, polished to 55%, and has an SMV +2, making it basically neutral between sweet and dry.

This has the traditional Niigata style, which is referred to as tanrei, clean, crisp and dry. It is smooth and very easy drinking with underlying tastes of melon and peaches. This is a style that should appeal to many people, even those who generally claim to dislike Saké. Though not all Niigata Saké has this profile, a significant amount does so if you enjoy this style, then you should seek out those brews from Niigata.

With such a diversity in the flavor profiles and styles of Saké, I do believe there is one that will appeal to almost anyone. It is just a matter of finding it.

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