While a large majority of sake breweries are aiming for fruity/floral types, Philip Harper, maybe the only non-Japanese master brewer in Japan, is going for flavour and has created an umami bomb.
The Tamagawa 3U limited edition series 純米吟醸 無濾過生原酒 from Kinoshita Shuzo in Kyoto prefecture is a seasonal item sold between December and April.
The 3U stands for unpasteurised, unfiltered (no charcoal fining) and undiluted. The natural fermentation Yamahai starter method is used along with ambient yeast of the brewery which is especially vigorous, fermenting strongly. These pack a punch at 22 degrees alcohol available Omachi, Yamada-nishiki and Gohyaku-mangoku rice varieties.
On the nose, definitely an earthy and savoury character with spices, roasted nuts, soy sauce and dried fruits. It’s full bodied, off-dry with a generous acidity partly due to the natural starter method. A sake that can hold its own against heartier dishes such as oxtail stew (I’m particularly fond of the Italian style coda all vaccinara) and bbq meats. If you don’t know what umami is, you will after drinking this.
Kinoshita brewery in Kyoto prefecture has been brewing sake since 1842. Tamagawa meaning ‘Jewel River’ which flows near the brewery, is led by British-born Philip Harper who has been with the brewery since 2008.
Category – Junmai (rice, water, Koji and natural yeast)
Alcohol – 22%