Sake

Brooklyn Kura Junmai Ginjo Nama #14 750ml

A new batch of the Junmai Ginjo Nama, and one I am particularly excited about. Since tasting some of the first releases from Brooklyn Kura in the beginning of this year, this particular release shows more nuance and depth, and a desire for constant improvement. Brandon extended the fermentation times for this batch, going for a 40 day fermentation as opposed to the more common 30-35 days. He also forwent a sterile filtration this time, leading to a brighter, fresher expression. This sake is aromatically very complex, with cantaloupe, cantaloupe rind, banana, citrus, lemon rind, yellow flowers, yogurt, and a slightly green, grassy quality all present on the nose. The palate is bright, with higher acidity than earlier batches, but still has the mouth-coating quality I've come to associate with Brooklyn Kura sake. It is drier than previous versions, but still comes in at a Sake Meter Value (Nihonshudo) of -1, making it just a tiny touch off-dry, though this is balanced fantastically by the vibrant acidity. This sake is perfect as an aperitif, or with light summer fare, salads, crudo, or creamy cheeses. Oskar Kostecki

  • Junmai
  • 6 in stock
  • $28.99

Brooklyn Kura Junmai Nama 750ml

Brooklyn Kura's Junmai Nama is made with rice polished to 70% as opposed to the 60% polishing ratio of the Junmai Ginjo, though the koji rice (what is used to start the saccharification and fermentation process) is polished to 60% for both styles. The Junmai Nama shows notes of honeydew melon, lemon, grapefruit, green apple, cucumber peel, lemon curd, yellow flowers and steamed rice. It is slightly earthier than the Junmai Ginjo, with less intense aromatics and a slightly more savory profile. Oskar Kostecki

  • Junmai
  • 2 in stock
  • $27.99

  • Junmai
  • 7 in stock
  • $36.99

Isojiman Tokubetsu Junmai

Isojiman Shuzo is located in Szikuoka Prefecture, on the coast of Suruga Bay, with Mount Fuji rising towards the east and the foothills of the Southern Japanese Alps to the north. Relatively young for such a heralded brewery, Isojiman was established in 1830. It wasn't until the 1970's that its fame became cemented, when Isojiman led the push towards what is considered high end sake today: a drier, cleaner, and more refined style. It is one of the only breweries in Japan that uses an almost completely stainless steel facility, apart from the koji room, which is still the traditional cedar interior. This Tobubetsu Junmai, made from heirloom Omachi rice, is a pearl of the category, and we are very happy to have a few bottles to offer. Deceptively rice and fruit-forward on the initial taste, the longer one spends with this bottle, to more layers emerge, revealing a savory core with a distinct saline, almost seaweed, character. It has the richness and broadness associated with a Tokubetsu Junmai, but there is also a depth and linearity running through it, like a shaft of sunlight striking through an underwater forest of kelp. The finish is long and engaging. This is a beautiful sake to savor with a wide range of foods, but I feel it would do best in a setting with seafood.

Isojiman continues to push the boundaries of sake brewing, recently bottling three sake from three separately designated rice fields, one of the first trials in "terroir." Though not available in the United States at the moment, we commend Isojiman for continuously exploring the potential of sake and hope to one day taste the fruits of their labor. Oskar Kostecki

  • Junmai
  • 2 in stock
  • $57.99

Marumoto Chikurin Karoyaka Junmai Ginjo 720ml

I met Niichiro Marumoto at a sake tasting hosted by Brooklyn Kura in June, and was immediately drawn to what he is doing at Marumoto Shuzo. Unlike about 99.9% of the industry, Niichiro-san farms all the rice that is used in the production of his sake. Since World War II, Japan has had a system where all rice production was controlled and distributed by the government. Only in the last few decades have sake producers been able to buy directly from rice farmers; but the rice market is still dominated by large regional co-ops with immense buying power. When Niichiro-san took over the family business at a young age, he quickly realized that a way for a small company like his to be not only sustainable going forward, but also to guarantee the best quality of raw material for their product was simply to grow everything himself. Thus far he has converted about 10% of his production to organic farming, and has a team at the brewery that does comparative analysis on each rice paddy to see how various agricultural practices have an impact on the finished product. I spent over 45 minutes chatting with Niichiro-san about rice farming, and feel like I left with more questions than I had at the start! This sake is wonderfully complex, effortlessly mixing the more fruit-forward elements of the classic Junmai Ginjo style with a savory undercurrent that resolves into a long and crisp finish. Notes of cucumber peel and melon rind, citrus, yellow flowers, acacia, nettles, and steamed rice dance across the palate, building in depth and intricacy. A sake I want to drink all the time. Oskar Kostecki

  • Junmai Ginjo
  • 9 in stock
  • $39.99

  • Shochu
  • 6 in stock
  • $59.99

Nanbu-Bijin Yuzo Special Junmai Miyama Nishiki 1.8 L

This is a sake brewed in the 2015 season from Miyama Nishiki rice milled to 60%. While many breweries will pride themselves on making sake with a very crisp and light, almost breezy finish, this one breaks that rule entirely. Yuzo Special is built on a framework of high acidity and mouth-coating viscosity, which leads to a long, quite robust finish. Not an overly aromatic sake, there are still some notes of melon, banana, citrus rind, and yellow flowers, but the three years of aging that this undergoes leads to beautiful savory notes of toasted sesame, cocoa nibs, hazelnut, walnut, and toasted cereal grains. A lovely sake to pair with heavier, winter fare, this is great with any dish containing soba noodles or similarly savory flavors. Drink with a slight chill, at room temperature, or gently warmed to unveil the heartier qualities of Yuzo Special. And don't let the bigger size deter you, this sake will keep for a few weeks in your fridge once opened without any loss of quality. Oskar Kostecki

  • Junmai
  • 12 in stock
  • $44.99

  • 2 in stock
  • $64.99

  • Junmai
  • 2 in stock
  • $37.99

  • Junmai Ginjo
  • 1 in stock
  • no discount
  • $31.99

  • Shochu
  • 5 in stock
  • $34.99