Yet again I’ve fallen to the trap of getting bogged down with other things and have unfortunately neglected my Sake Australia duties. The good news is I’ve been busy with things sake related. More on those another time. I’ve just returned from another stint in Japan where I drank plenty of amazing sake, ate lots of great food, met lots of interesting people and learned tons of new things. Always an adventure.
However I thought I’d come back with something a little local(ish) as in something related to sake available in Australia.
As I’ve mentioned before, Niigata is an amazing region for sake. A suitable climate, rich traditions and the highest sake consumption of anywhere in Japan has helped establish the region as probably the premiere sake destination. Similar to wine regions, Niigata is made up of a good cross-section of impossibly tiny producers whose product is virtually unseen except around the local vicinity and larger producers shipping sake all over Japan and even as far flung as humble old Australia. Yoshinogawa fits in the latter. Again similar to wine and beer producers, the common perception is that the bigger the producer the blander or more “commercial” the product. While in some cases that may be true, for the sake industry it definitely isn’t the rule. Many of the larger producers make great sake, it’s just that they augment their sales with production of cheaper lesser products which can become the thing they are better known for. Now all this is a bit off course because Yoshinogawa is not that big. Just relatively for Niigata breweries. Also as the oldest brewery in Niigata (est. 1548) they are one of the “faces” of Niigata sake.
So lets start at the top. I know I’ve tended to stay away from the dizzying heights of Daiginjo in favour of more approachable styles, but in this case I’ll cut to the chase. While I would never dare to be so blasé about Yoshinogawa as to describe their Daiginjo as “typical”, I will say if you like Daiginjo, you’re gonna love this. Matured for three years at minus 5 degrees celcius (the low temperature results in a slow maturation), plenty of complex floral aromas and tight pine and stone-fruits on the palate with plenty of plush fullness without being overbearing. A dry, clean, light, fleeting finish gives a settled and regal sake. Very cool and easy to like.
Yoshinogawa is available through several restaurants across Australia. Being a local to Queensland I can only vouch for sure of it’s availability at Ferry Rd Beer and Wine in Southport and Cru Bar Cellars in Brisbane. If you spot it, don’t be shy of giving it a try, Yoshinogawa is unlikely to disappoint even the most hesitant of new sake drinkers.