Junmai Kimoto sake's selection
"Securing top place in the 'warm sake' category is Daishichi of Fukushima. Despite the general trend towards sokujomoto-type, light sakes, since its inception this brewery has focused purely on kimoto sake. The plentiful acid forms the backbone of a solid sake that has a gutsy quality and also outstanding crispness. When warmed, the dryness becomes more apparent, and the palate-cleansing sensation is exceptional.... Fine either lukewarm or warm. A fantastic sake, both powerful and clean."
From monthly magazine dancyu (February
Issue, 1999, published by President). These comments were made on the occasion
of Daishichi Junmai Kimoto sake's selection as the number one warm sake in Japan.
O-kan, the custom of drinking sake warm, has recently attained fresh popularity in Japan as its virtues are rediscovered. Warming sake endows it with qualities that aren't apparent at cooler temperatures. There is an extra pleasure in discovering a sake that becomes even more attractive when warmed.
"I suspect the true aspect of Japanese sake is that one can drink it warm without ever tiring of it."
The late Usuke Asai in Ways to View Sake.
"Genuine pleasure banishes cares from the mind while also stimulating it."
Drinking sake warm perfectly fits this definition of pleasure. Warmth opens up all the subtle flavours of the sake, and delights the mind. Above all, it is the perfect partner for food. Sake is warmed using a variety of utensils, bottles and pitchers, and collecting these accoutrements is a delightful pastime in its own right.
- We highly recommend drinking our Junmai Kimoto and Junmai Kimoto
- For an elegant, warm sake, keep Kaiden in your cellar for another six months.
- The most luxurious, delightful warm sake is Ginjo Koshu, to be drunk lukewarm.
The definition of a great warm sake
At low temperatures, the various elements of flavour in sake-such as sweetness, richness and acidity-are all somewhat dampened. As the sake is heated from room temperature to the optimal warmth for drinking, it becomes possible to experience the full scope of these flavours. In other words, warmth brings out the true power of sake.
For sake to taste wonderful warm, it must first have an abundance and suitable balance of five basic elements: acidity, bitterness, sweetness, spiciness, and saltiness. If there is an insufficient quantity of these components, the sake's flavour profile will not expand, even after warming. Any imbalance among the five flavours will become even more apparent once it is heated. But a well-balanced sake that develops a more alluring flavour as it is heated is known as a kan-agari sake.
Next, it's important for the sake to contain ample portions of components that improve at a higher temperature. It is generally held that lactic acid can taste bitter at low temperatures, but that at higher temperatures this is transformed into true goodness (umami). Malic acid is zesty at low temperatures, but as it is heated, the flavour blurs. Red wine, refined kimoto sake and junmai sake all contain large amounts of lactic acid, delicious at higher temperatures. White wine, ginjo sake, and nama sake contain large amounts of malic acid, which tastes best at lower temperatures.
This is why Daishichi is so well-suited to being drunk warm. As a kimoto sake, it uses natural lactic acid bacteria for lactic fermentation, and contains a correspondingly large proportion of lactic acid.
Finally, it is vital for the sake to be fully mature. An immature sake may taste good at lower temperatures, but once warmed it will feel coarse and the acid may come through too strongly. Daishichi's Junmai Kimoto uses undiluted sake that has been fully ripened for between one and two years.