Spring Nama! - Harushika Shiboritate Junmai Ginjo Nama
Please note, this product is not available for shipping. It is available for free pick-up or delivery in Portland, OR. Boilerplate intro on seasonal sake:Nam...
Please note, this product is not available for shipping. It is available for free pick-up or delivery in Portland, OR.
Boilerplate intro on seasonal sake:
Nama season is here! Every spring, sake breweries release fresh-brewed bottles of unpasteurized sake in super-limited amounts. We are super lucky to get access to these, and have gotten as much as we can for you! Spring Nama often disappears quickly, so grab them while you can.
About Harushika Junmai Ginjo Nama
Harushika's freshly-bottled, unpasteurized, and limited spring release is one of the mellower and restrained namas out of the bottles we've tried so far this year. That's not to say that it doesn't show characteristic unpasteurized-ness. It is still heady and aromatic and lively. Just in a more measured way. And we love it for that.
On the nose Harushika certainly diverges from the pack of the other namas we have here: rather than brazen ripe fruit notes, instead, we get an amount of intriguing melon rind and yeasty tones of rising bread dough. On the palate is more where the fruit shows. Behind notes of pine and walnuts lie cherries and apples. Following those, a little spicy-savoriness comes in, reminding me of banana bread via cinnamon, nutmeg, and star anise, with a little rare-steak meatiness too. Structurally, the Harushika is mellow in acidity, dry, and mineral-like in its astringency. There's definitely a process of awakening with this sake, as it opens up both in the bottle and in the glass.
The rice-polishing-level on this sake is 60% and it is 16% alcohol. The rice in this sake was harvested in 2020. Shiboritate means "freshly pressed".
More on Unpasteurized Sake
Unpasteurized sake is a special thing. It's often lively, bold and punchy, texturous, and packing heaps of heady aromatics. The vast majority of sake gets pasteurized twice to keep it stable and unspoiled so that it can rest easy on store shelves, or in our cupboards at home awaiting drinking. This is the industry norm. An amount far less than that sees one single pasteurization. A lot of the smaller breweries that Fulamingo carries follow the single, in-bottle pasteurization protocol. An even far lesser amount sees no pasteurization at all. These rare birds of sake are called NAMA, or NAMAZAKE. Nama basically means "raw" or unpasteurized.
If Nama is so special, then why don't more breweries make sake this way? For one, leaving sake unpasteurized risks spoilage. Namas need to be kept cool in order to guarantee that unintended microbiological processes don't set in. (Refrigeration is the best way to keep Namas safe from this. A cool cellar is second best, and room temperature or hotter for a prolonged time is asking for bad funk.) The second reason Nama isn't more widely produced and available is that the bold aromatics and lively textures can be downright overpowering for lots of sake fans. This is especially true when we consider the elegant, understated nature of delicately balanced sake. In Japan, for many, Nama is considered a novelty, albeit a novelty to be celebrated and enjoyed, but novel nonetheless. It's kind of like Beaujolais Nouveau for wine fans. Fresh wine is fun, but every winemaker who wants to show you what they can really do will have you wait until the wine ages an appropriate amount before it gets bottled. That being said, sake is absolutely not wine, and the Nouveau analogy although apt doesn't quite account for the broad deliciousness that Nama sake can provide for us, even year-round.
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