Of the many enjoyable qualities of sake, versatility is at the top of the list. The huge range of styles means you can enjoy a drink for every occasion and truly tap into the Japanese phrase of ‘ban ryu,’ used to denote the ten thousand possible ways to make nihonshu.
A sake that looks to combine different styles is Kamoizumi ‘Red Maple’ nama genshu, a multi-layered kind of drink that’s produced by the Kamoizumi brewery.
Kamoizumi is based in the famed sake region of Saijo in Hiroshima Prefecture, the birthplace of ginjo sake, where nihonshu gods Kiyoshi Hashizume, Riichi Satake and Senzaburou Miura flexed their brewing muscles.
Founded in 1912, the brewery set out to be pioneers. In the 1960s, Kamoizumi caused a stir by focusing on junmai sake production at a time when sake with added distilled alcohol was the primary product on the market.
Another claim to fame is that the brewery traditionally produces alcohol that’s not carbon filtered. It gives its sake a faint straw colour.
Kamoizumi Red Maple is intriguing because of the way it’s been produced. It’s a nama (unpasteurised) genshu (undiluted) ginjo sake with a rice milling rate of 60% and that’s been aged for two years. It’s bottled at 18.6% and comes with a striking maple leaf label that wouldn’t feel out of place on the shelf of a bar in Toronto.
The Red Maple is a sake that builds in character from the first sip and keeps on surprising. Pine nut and pear, to begin with, undercut by strawberry yoghurt and vanilla ice cream.
The lactic notes are gorgeous, as if a supermodel has decided to use your tongue as a catwalk to sashay down and kept on strutting until the prints of her high heels have become forever embedded into your tastebuds.
A bright and floral finish caps off a sake that is recommended chilled to make the most of the delicate flavours.
For food pairings, I’d suggest Red Maple would go beautifully with pork sirloin and grilled vegetables, beef bourguignon and even New York cheesecake.
Category: Ginjo, nama, genshu
Seimaibuai/Rice Polishing Rate: 60%
Rice: Hattannishiki, Naketeshinsenbon
Get a bottle here and keep on kanpaiing!