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Sake

Sake of the week #014: Yamatogawa

Yaemon shu aged for 9 years Yamatogawa, Kitakata, Fukushima

Yaemon from Yamatogawa aged for 9 years

Last night, we enjoyed a super sake tasting with our über sake otaku friends. Among the many many nihonshu we tried, two bottles from Yamatogawa Shuzo in Kitakata, Fukushima stood out.

The two bottles of Yamatogawa Yauemon from last night were full of surprises from beginning to end. These were produced for the very special occasion when the ninth generation of Yauemon succeeded to the name a couple of years ago. And, these bottles must have been custom-made to celebrate the event.

As soon as we opened the wooden jewel box, we were amazed by the look and colors of the two bottles inside.

Then, when I grabbed this thin, fragile, and very elegant carafe like vessel, it felt like looking at the label through a sepia color film. At the bottom of the carafe, there was an opening where the label was inserted. Also, the dimple made it easy to grasp and pour.

Finally, the taste! Considering the dark amber colors and that Sensei had stored them over 2 years in one of his many refrigerators, we were not sure how the flavor had actually developed. You never know with aging sake; it can come out like takuan pickles or have a lot of hineka. So, I waited sheepishly for someone else to take the plunge. “Very nice! Perfect for dessert sake!” Indeed, one of the two Yamatogawa was Honjozo aged for 9 years at the brewery. The other one was, fukkoku junmaishu, which I believe is junmai-shu brewed using an old method. Both had elegant deep umami and very pleasant sweetness. Perfect either for aperitif or as dessert sake!

If you plan to travel to Kitakata in Fukushima, go there hungry. This tiny town is known for the highest concentration of ramen shops per capita. And, don’t miss Yamatogawa’s beautiful sake museum! I really enjoyed their photos and old sake brewing tools from the last two hundred years.

Yamatogawa Sake Museum
4761 Teramachi, Kitakata, Fukushima
TEL:0241-22-2233

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