i received a kind gift from the makers of nogne-o sake, the first european sake brewery located in grimstad, norway.
it is a yamahai shiboritate muroka nama genshu junmai. the brewery solely creates sake made with a yamahai yeast starter. this is one of the original, old school ways of creating a moto/shubo (yeast starter).
the rice is ginpu, imported from hokkaido.
after a long travel time with several delays, the sake held up incredibly well. the nama, or unpasteurized aspect of the sake was very present-a delightfully fresh and lively style of sake that’s done mostly during the springtime in japan.
yamahai sakes are typically more ‘gamey’, in that there’s an added layer of depth due to the process involved in making the moto. in my experience, north americans tend to like this style of sake. it pairs well with meats and can even benefit from serving at room temperature or slightly heated.
the nogne-o nama genshu (unpasteurized & cask strength-hitting at about 17% abv) had a nice kick due to the fact it’s genshu. typically most sake is blended with water to around 14%, but genshu means cask strength–undiluted, pure unadulterated full bodied sake.
a pleasant nose of fruit–bananas, ripe pears. the taste was reminiscent of fresh cut cantaloupe, a faint hint of brazil nuts and a sweet mellow tail that did not linger too long in the mouth. i was surprised how nicely balanced it was.
when left closer to room temperature, the sake tasted softer and opened up new layers of fruit and the nuttiness/acidity seemed to dissipate more.
very grateful to have had this sake hand-delivered by the brewer who made it. nogne-o is making great strides in their craft beers, but watch out for their sakes–they are one to watch in the burgeoning global sake brewing scene.