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Sake reviews: Nama Genshu & Muroka by Namazake Paul

Sep. 04. 2021
by Namazake Paul

These Sake are part of the reason I’m Namazake Paul. They really inspired me to want to share Nama with you all.  I look forward to their release every year because of the incredible complexity but also the vintage variation which is less common with Sake. This year I had to wait and wait some more given the global shipping mess. 


Kaze no Mori 'Wind of the Woods’ Junmai Muroka Nama Genshu

Carbonated and clear. The first impression is Cracker Jacks, then on further inspection we get mineral complexity. The palate is plush showing even more salted caramel but then also there’s green banana on the clean finish. Nice acidity too as this is a good example of yeast #7. Quite different than last year’s but still fun and a great value. 

Akishika Okarakuchi “Super Dry" Junmai Ginjo Muroka Nama Genshu 

Pours clear with a slight yellow tint. The nose is clean with classic Yamada Nishiki umami notes. The first impression of the palate is actually sweetness but then as you chew, waves of chocolate, rye, and a bit of porcini. With every new introduction of air into your mouth flavors will continue to develop. This is one to sit and contemplate. Only until the finish do we get a clue as to how dry it is. At +15 SMV it’s almost as dry as sake can get. This means it’s significantly lighter than water as there are very few unfermented solids and high alcohol (which is lighter than water). It’s absolutely fascinating and a great pairing with a wide variety of foods given it’s both dry and rich. 

Hakurosuishu “Moon Mountain’s Dew" Junmai Ginjo Muroka Nama Genshu 

Both the rice and this sake are named for the Dewa Mountains of Yamagata. Dewasansan was developed specifically for Yamagata Junmai Ginjo and this is a textbook example. Pours clear like the snow melt it’s made from. Nice nose of blueberry flesh and pear. This is a giant Ginjo bomb on the palate with very ripe honeydew juice. Finishes rich and unabashed. The best vintage of this yet!

Kidoizumi Shuzo Hakugyokko “Fragrant Jewel" Yamahai Junmai Muroka Nama Genshu

Pours clear but with a noticeable lemon tint.  The nose is deeply herbal showing fresh cut grasses and celery seed. We also get a hint of macadamia nut. The mouth feel is rich with sauteed mushrooms, onions softened in butter and new suede. The finish is soft but lingers nicely.  A great one for Northern Thai or other cuisines with fermented foods. 

Tae no Hana 'Sublime Beauty’ Junmai Arabashiri Kimoto Muroka Nama Genshu 

Pours clear and yellow. You’ll immediately notice the robust and savory nose featuring mushroom broth, lightly browned butter and fresh hemp.  As you taste it, you’ll think someone is grating aged Parmesan into your mouth. Tasty!  Perhaps some agave as well. The richness goes for days.  So savory and wonderful.  Pair this with a really rich steak and rich sauce. 

If you had this last year, this is totally different. She’s back to making it via the older recipe and it’s fabulous again. 

Soma no Tengu 'Forest Spirit’ Junmai Ginjo Muroka Nama Genshu Usu-nigori

Pours white. Nose of banana, celery and Cantaloupe rind.  Palate has nice pineapple acidity and with the white color, I just keep thinking Piña Colada. Finishes super dry which you aren’t expecting given the Nigori. 

Takacho 'Regal Hawk’ Bodaimoto Junmai Muroka Genshu

Pours slightly cloudy with a lemon-lime tint. Strong aroma of browned butter. Dark brown sugar, molasses. Passion fruit. Tropical. Very pretty. The finish is long with nice acid and richness.  This isn’t the wild ride it’s been in the past. A bit more focused, still fascinating though.  Fans of Cel-24 need to hop on this. 

Paul Willenberg
WSET Level 3 in Sake

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