Watari Bune 55 Junmai Ginjo
Watari Bune 55 is lively, full bodied, fruity and and floral with both weight and depth. This sake has a generated itself a cult following, for both being de...
Watari Bune 55 is lively, full bodied, fruity and and floral with both weight and depth. This sake has a generated itself a cult following, for both being delicious and having an incredible story behind it. Also, Oregonians are the number one consumer of Watari Bune 55 outside of Japan!
On the nose, WB55 (what we call it, for short) gives heady aromas of rice and whole pineapple. When I say whole pineapple, I mean the pineapple's flesh, leaves, and skin alike, are all present. It's really cool. On the palate, this pineapple presence is borne by a lively zip of acidity that borders on effervescence. Behind the pineapple lies notes of baking spice and brown rice. In texture, 55 comes across silky and refreshing, while finishing dry and smooth.
55 is only pasteurized once, in bottle, and skips charcoal filtration, which surely help preserve that wonderful lively acidity and freshness.
Watari Bune's story is a resurrection story. The brewer, Taka Yamauchi-san was looking into his region's sake rice growing history and discovered that one of the long forgotten parents of the much prized Yamada Nishiki varietal was once grown there, in Ibaraki. This rice was called Watari Bune. Apparently, Watari Bune growing had fallen out of favor because of it challenging nature - it is slow ripening and difficult to grow - as well as because of the rising value of Ibaraki table rice (which is much easier to grow). Interested to see what sort of sake that this "mother of the king" could produce, and to connect with his region's sake history, Taka-san set out looking for someone still growing Watari Bune. He asked around and talked with everyone who might be a lead, all across Japan no less, but no one was growing this rice anymore, much less, had even heard of it. It appeared that his rice was long extinct. Just when he had about given up hope, he got word that a food research lab, not far from Ibaraki, actually had preserved some Watari Bune seeds. Taka-san managed to convince them to loan him 14 of their seeds. From these, over the course of three years, he was able to propagate and grow this rice into an amount sizable enough to brew sake with. Resurrected from near extinction, Watari Bune, it seems, is now an Ibaraki-exclusive. (It was recently cross bred by Hakutsuru to make the rice for their magnificent Hakutsuru Nishiki Junmai Daiginjo, however.)
We enjoy Watari Bune the most when it's chilled. It's a wonderful sake for pairing with a wide range of foods, including cheeses, pastas, seafood, game meats, and Thanksgiving dishes.
"55" in the name refers to the amount of rice left after the polishing process. The alcohol content is 15.5%
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