Kozaemon Sakura Sake

I’ve been waiting to taste the Kozaemon Sakura Sake like an eager, giddy child on Christmas morning and today, finally, it happened. It’s a seasonal release and only available in Spring, right after it’s been pressed. We were able to scoop up a mere 10 cases for the entire province but what a treat it is to be able to have a nama nama sake outside of Japan!

In a way, it’s akin to Beaujolais Nouveau but minus the crazy, cheesy marketing it is unfortunately subjected to. Only available once a year, right out of the tank, the Kozaemon Sakura Sake is completely unpasteurized and fresh as Spring. As you can see in the glass, it has some ‘ori’ lees left in, adding a layer of bright fruit and texture.

Specs:

Rice: Shinano (Nagano) Miyamanishiki

Rice Polish Ratio: 50%

Alcohol: 16.5%

Acidity: 1.6

Tasting Notes: Right out of the fridge, there’s notes of melon and pineapple on the nose but it’s DEFINITELY nama, with a gamey, wildness. As Kozaemon sakes are, it’s bold and unapologetic about expressing it’s personality. There’s also a slight grapefruit pith bitterness on the nose and that’s more prevalent on the palate. A good amount of weight and richness but not overwhelming. As it warms up, the elements come together and become more cohesive. The aromatics are bold but I always enjoy Kozaemon’s sakes as the weight and acidity support it. No perfume-y nonsense that doesn’t match the palate – we’ve all had sake like that, right? Acidity is key; refreshes the palate and makes you want to drink more.

Miyamanishiki rice tends to give a little bit of smokiness as it warms up (learned that from Kozaemon himself!) and it adds a nice element to the sake. What to have it with? How about BC Spot Prawns? The heads deep fried with a bit of ground pepper (white or black) would do nicely. Or Thai green curry? This would stand up to it. A fun, dangerously easy sake. If you’re lucky enough to find it, enjoy it, as it won’t be around for long! But don’t worry, there’s always next year.

Where to find this sake:

Shuraku Sake BarMinamiMikuZen Japanese RestaurantViti Wine and Lager