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Rashomon Junmai Ginjo

On a recent trip to Japan I stumbled across this little gem from Wakayama in a very small liquor store in Osaka. Oddly, on this occasion I wasn’t even looking for sake. I was a little peckish for some good beer snacks but when I saw what I figured was an homage to the great film director Akira Kurosawa in sake form, how could I resist. 

For those that aren’t familiar, Rashomon is the film that brought director Akira Kurosawa to the world’s attention as a serious contender in the international film industry. In particular the style of story telling in the film was something not seen before but has been imitated many times since. Now, I’m no movie critic so I won’t babble on too much about the film but let me just say, if you haven’t seen it – see it!

I wondered if it was just a coincidence but after checking out the website for Tabata Shuzo, the makers of this sake, it turns out the sake was indeed named after the film. Just as Akira Kurosawa reached a wide international audience with Rashomon, a former company president also hoped to break the boundaries with their sake. Well, with the rare honour of having a woman leading the brewing, boundaries are definitely being broken.
The good news is, this is no novelty sake. It pours with a clear, water-like consistency. The nose is led by aromas of pear and melon with a slightly funky background. There is a touch of pepperiness but overall it’s a fat, luscious mouthfeel with a moreish aftertaste. There’s some weight to the body which lends itself to its junmai pedigree but the overall balance is what makes this a very cool sake indeed. It has the weight to man-up to a variety of foods, especially umami-rich foods like scallops, but drinks great just on its own too.
Unfortunately, as far as I know, this sake is not available in Australia. However, it’s a fantastic sake with an interesting back-story I thought. So, in the words of Ferris Bueller, “if you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up”.
By the way, they also have a sake called Seven Samurai also named after another Akira Kurosawa classic.
Stats: Rashomon Junmai Ginjo Wakayama Prefecture
Seimai Buai: 59% Yamadanishiki Rice