Hakkaisan Clear Sparkling "Awa"
Hakkaisan Brewery has here one of most refined and elegant expressions of sparkling sake we've ever encountered. The bubbles are tiny and persistent, filling...
Hakkaisan Brewery has here one of most refined and elegant expressions of sparkling sake we've ever encountered. The bubbles are tiny and persistent, filling the visual clarity of the sake with a wonderful dance of effervescence, and a rich and silky mousse of foam. The bubbles fill the mouth with lively, electric texture. This all sits wonderfully in contrast to the soft, medium-weight body, leaving the whole feeling finely textured, rich, and expansive. Aromatically, melon, apricots, red apple, rice pudding, and toasted rice take center stage. Supporting aromas come in the form of subtle baking spice, floral notes, and sweet, biscuity and yeasty tones reminiscent of great Blanc des Blancs Champagne.
This sake is excitingly divergent from Champagne though, in that the acidity is low and soft. Folks who would otherwise enjoy bubbly but would rather not deal with sparkling wine's typical high acidity should find Hakkaisan's "Awa" wonderfully agreeable. Low acidity, compared to wine, is a boon enjoyable across pretty much all sake, for that matter. No more heartburn! (I cannot guarantee this statement, especially if do something like pair this with extra-spicy Thai curry. Which would be a fantastic pairing, TBH.)
Hakkaian's Clear Sparkling "Awa" is bottle fermented from residual sugar present in the sake before bottling. This precise amount of sugar ends up fermenting to a wonderful medium-dry balance, in harmony with the soft nibble of its bubbles. In wine terms, this method would be Methode Ancestral aka Pet-nat. (Most sparkling sake out there is produced through a forced-carbonation method.)
This sake is a cool, low 13% Alcohol by volume. The rice used to make it is a blend of Yamada Nishiki, Miyama Nishiki, and Gohyakumangoku, polished to 50%.
Hakkaisan is located in Niigata, a place considered to be one of Japan's best sake growing regions for its pristine and abundant springwaters, ideal rice-farming climate, and extensive sake brewing history.
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