Godo Shusei Yamadanishiki Kome Dake No Reishu Junmai | Hyogo Prefecture
I was so preoccupied with trying to understand the difference between the levels of rice polishing that I was forgetting a fundamental difference in sake type. Of course it matters whether it's Junmai or Ginjo. Of course the addition of alcohol makes a difference.
Yamadanishiki is the name of the mountain where, presumably, the spring water comes from. The hanzi on the label reads, literally, cold wine. What it refers to is a mystery, but it's clear that it's a Junmai sake, with all its ingredients sourced from this particular place in Hyogo Prefecture. The language of sake is so complicated, as complicated as understanding what all the classifications and ripeness levels of a German riesling is. But learning that language is key to developing an appreciation of sake. It's far too easy to say let's just see what it tastes like. That's a cop-out. Especially since sake is so diverse . . . for myself at least, understanding all those nuances that each type of sake has is key.
So, in these 30 cL format bottles again. I still don't know how I feel about paying so much for a rice wine. This, however, was brilliant. The sheer purity, the fragrance, and the complexity on the palate made every sip a lesson in how great sake can be. Structured in the mouth, very dry, spicy as well. Dinner was simple Chinese home cooking, fish and greens. Extraordinary how fresh and pure the sake is, complementing the food, but also remaining assertive against some of the stronger flavours. Very impressive indeed.
All because this is a Junmai. Any addition of alcohol would have thrown off the balance, and its delicacy. So pure, as pure as any alcoholic drink can be . . . those must be some incredible spring waters. I understand why sake with higher alcohol might be more appealing to people. Japanese drinkers like that slow burn of the alcohol as it goes down the throat. But to have a fine sake of finesse and precision, only low alcohol and 100% rice works.