Junmai Daiginjo – “Man’s mountain”
This is a quintessential Junmai Daiginjo: elegant, ethereal, and silky, with a hauntingly smooth finish. It is consistently regarded as a one of Japan’s top sakes, and its profile is so harmonious that trying to parse out its flavor profile is an endeavor that would fill a whole page with descriptors. (Is that a hint of pomegranate? Jasmine flowers? There’s too much to list…) Anyone who is serious about sake (or who wants to become serious about sake) should try this bottling at least once. This sake is too distinct for a direct analogy to a specific wine, but it is as complex as any Grand Cru Burgundy.
Alcohol content: 16%-17%
About the Producer
Established in Hokkaido in 1661, Otokoyama sake has been cherished by many historical figures in Japan since the Edo era (1603-1867). The brewery was so well known that famous ukiyo-e (woodblock print) artist Kitagawa Utamaro created artwork depicting their sake. His work is on display at the Otokoyama Sake Brewery Museum, which features the history of the brewery and the steps of sake production. Otokoyama has won gold medals in many competitions. The water used for their sake comes from the perpetual snows of Mt. Daisetsuzan; Hokkaido, the northernmost of Japan’s main islands, is known for its severe, cold climate, and bold, flavorful sakes.
Video: Visiting Otokoyama sake brewery