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Sake review: Fresh Flavor from Aomori – Ando Suigun Junmai Daiginjo Shiboritate Nama Genshu

Feb. 18. 2021
by Jim Rion

No rice is listed, but the mill rate is 50%.

Brewery: Ozaki Shuzo, Awamori Prefecture

Ozaki Shuzo is a small brewery in the far north of Japan’s main island, in Aomori Prefecture. A family brewery now run by a parent/child duo, it has been in business since 1860, and Ando Suigun is its main label. 

This shiboritate junmai ginjo starts off highly aromatic. It fills the air above the glass with notes of banana, pineapple and a touch of anise. There is a distinct acidity to the aroma, and the first sip reveals it to be accurate.

The initial attack is one of almost citrus sourness. The acidity is not harsh, though, and is followed by a firm wash of umami on the sides of the tongue. There are notes of pineapple and rice, with an occasional wash of yeasty bread, which is probably because it is nama. It is very lightly dry, but since it is quite low in amino acidity it is very light and clean. 

The assertive acidity seems to call for something to balance it, meaning this is a sake very much geared towards meals. With a light meal, something like a sauteed vegetable or meat dish, it really helps to frame the natural umami of the food in a way that a more amino-heavy sake might not be able to do. 

Overall, it is a light, elegant, and well-structured sake. I recommend this one chilled from a wineglass to accent the aroma, and particularly with lightly flavored meals, where it really shines.