Sake Tasting Note – Tosa Brewery “Keigetsu”

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Sake Spots Are All Over Japan

There are sake breweries in various regions of Japan. Each region has a different climate and water quality, so the sake brewing methods, rice and water used as ingredients, etc., differ from region to region.

Generally speaking, sake is made to suit the local cuisine.

Recently, I had the opportunity to drink sake made by the Tosa Sake Brewery in Kochi, Shikoku. Kochi is one of the regions in Japan that consumes the largest amount of sake.

The food culture is famous for its abundance of seafood and mountain produce, and sake is also said to be light and dry.

This time, we compared six different types of sake from the Tosa Sake Brewery, and here we introduce the characteristics and impressions of each sake.

佐酒造桂月

Tosa Brewery’s Sake | 6 Kinds of Sake Tasting

Keigetsu | Very Dry

Keigetsu -Very Dry

  • Rice type: Akitsuho, Gin-no-Yume
  • Rice polishing ratio: 60
  • Alcohol percentage: 15
  • Specific name: Tokubetsu Junmai
  • Sake meter: +11 
  • Acidity: 1.3
  • Amino acidity: 1.5

Tasting Notes
Full aroma of steamed rice with fruity aroma like peach and muscat. The taste is super dry, with a light rice flavor, although the sense of rice is still present. The gap between the fruity aroma and the rice flavor is interesting.
The aroma and taste change every time you drink it, and the more you drink, the more your impression changes. It is best paired with dishes such as grilled fish or simmered sea bream.

Keigetsu | Aikawahomare

Keigetsu – Aikawahomare

  •  Rice type: Gin-no-Yume
  •  Rice polishing ratio: 58
  •  Alcohol percentage: 15
  •  Category 1 (specific name): Tokubetsu Junmai
  •  Category 2 (Sake making etc.): Yamahai brewing
  •  Sake Degree: +4 
  •  Acidity: 1.8
  •  Amino Acidity: 1.2

Tasting Notes
Leafy, lightly grapey nose. Sourness is followed by a savory woody aftertaste. The aftertaste does not linger for very long, giving the impression that it can be easily paired with any dish.
Sushi with persimmon leaves seems to be a good match for the acidity that is felt at the beginning. Also, the savory aftertaste would be good with grilled dumplings.

Keigetsu | Sake Nature

Keigetsu – Sake Nature

  •  Rice type: Gin-no-Yume
  •  Rice polishing ratio: 45
  •  Alcohol content: 15
  •  Category 1 (specific name): Junmai Daiginjo
  •  Category 2 (Structure, etc.): Namo yeast
  •  Category 3 (Other special note): Organic
  •  Sake Degree: +3 
  •  Acidity: 1.4
  •  Amino Acid Content: 0.8

Tasting Notes
Transparent pale yellow color. Pale floral, floral and elegant fragrance. The taste of rice can be felt in the subtle acidity.
It seems to go well with meals.
When I hear the word “organic,” I sometimes get the impression that some of the flavors are too strong and natural, but this sake is not like that at all; it is refreshing and powerful, with just the right amount of naturalness. I would like to pair it with grilled white meat fish with sudachi or lemon.

keigetsu | CEL24

Keigetsu – CEL24

  •  Rice type: Gin-no-Yume
  •  Rice polishing ratio: 50
  •  Alcohol content: 15
  •  Category 1 (specific name): Junmai Daiginjo
  •  Category 2 (Structure etc.): Nama-shu
  •  Category 3 (Other special note): Kochi yeast CEL24 used
  •  Sake Degree: -4
  •  Acidity: 1.4
  •  Amino acidity: 1.0

Tasting Notes
Completely transparent. Aromas of apple and white mold. Fresh and fruity acidity, like yellow apples, raspberries. Natural aroma of fruits + vegetables like apple peel and groceries.
Juicy sweetness without the strong sharpness of raw sweet sake. I would like to pair it with vegetable sticks, apples, pickled cucumbers, and desserts.

Keigetsu | Nigori

Keigetsu – Nigori

  •  Rice type: Gin-no-Yume
  •  Rice polishing ratio: 50
  •  Alcohol content: 15
  •  Category 1 (specific name): Junmai Daiginjo
  •  Category 2 (Sake Type): Nigori
  •  Category 3 (Other special note): Kochi yeast CEL24
  •  Sake Degree: -2
  •  Acidity: 1.5
  •  Amino acidity: 1.0

Tasting Notes
This is a cloudy version of No. 4 Kaygetsu-CEL24.
The aroma was fruity and floral, with hints of apple peel, peach peel, and flowers.
Sweet and easy to drink when first sipped. After that, one senses bitterness and a touch of alcohol, which is balanced by the initial sweetness. It is like high quality sake lees dissolved in water.
I thought nigori sake (cloudy sake) was supposed to be enjoyed on its own, but this nigori sake seems to go well with food that matches the bitterness that comes afterwards. I felt it could be enjoyed with meals. I would like to try it with cheese, stir-fried vegetables with garlic, and Chinese jellyfish appetizers.

Yuzushu, Citrus Sake

⑥Citrus Sake

  •  Alcohol content: 8%.
  •  Type: Liqueur

Tasting Notes
Junmai sake made with sake rice from the Tosa-Reihoku region and a liqueur made with yuzu (a citrus fruit grown in Tosa). It has a light sweetness and aroma like fresh yuzu juice.
The refreshing sourness of the yuzu and the bitterness of the peel give it the feel of freshly squeezed yuzu rather than syrup.
Since junmai sake is used, the texture is smooth on the tongue, and the full, mellow flavor of junmai sake can be felt.
Both the sake and yuzu flavors can be felt in this liqueur.
We would like to pair this liqueur with fresh vegetables, white fish carpaccio, and desserts such as milk pudding, milk ice cream, and yogurt.

It’s Not Only about Light and Dry Sake!

Until this sake tasting, I had always imagined Kochi sake to be only light, dry sake that would go well with strong-flavored dishes such as bonito.

I myself am not a fan of dry sake, so I had avoided Kochi sake, but after trying six different types of sake from the Tosa Sake Brewery, I learned that there is more to Kochi sake than just light and dry.

There were fruity sake and sweet sake as well, and they were easy to pair with meals. I thought it would be a good gateway for first-time sake drinkers and those who are not good at drinking sake.

If you have a chance to see Tosa Sake Brewery’s sake, please give it a try.

KEIGETSUTosa Sake Brewery
Website : http://www.keigetsu.co.jp/en/
Address : 418 Tai, Tosa-cho, Tosa-gun, Kochi, JAPAN 781-3521

Who Wrote This Article
Rieko

A returnee international sake taster and mother of two, she enjoys cooking and baking using sake and amazake.
She is also a guide at the Kyoto Insider Sake Experience, which attracts many sake fans from all over the world.

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