Shirayuki “Clear Sky” Itami Morohaku Honjozo – IWC Trophy Honjozo 2020
Winning a Trophy at the International Wine Challenge is no mean feat, of 1499 entries in 2020, only 9 Trophies were awarded (0.6%).
‘Morohaku’ – the practice of using polished rice for both koji and kake-mai – is, of course, commonplace now but it was developed in the Muromachi Period (1338-1573) in Nara Prefecture during a period of time where many advances in sake brewing were innovated by monks in their monasteries. It only, however, became widespread in the early 17th century when The Itami Morohaku style of sake, hailing from Itami in Hyogo Prefecture, became famous and was revered for its low but refreshing acidity and clear (as opposed to cloudy) appearance.
Itami was a powerhouse of sake production before the now-famous Nada area in Hyogo Prefecture that continues to dominate sake production to this day. This evolution was partly to do with the fact that Nada’s many waterways could power waterwheels for milling and, since the morohaku style required much polishing, it was natural for Nada’s water-driven polishing abilities to win superiority.
Clear Sky has sumptuous banana, red apple, bread & sweet yogurt aromas with additional stewed plums and pineapple flavours. Medium-bodied with a round, full & buttery texture. Superb warmed at 35oC – where sweetness and umami are heightened – or 60oC – where stewed plums & cooked banana flavours emerge.
Clear Sky is a very good session sake: smooth sippin’, versatile, reasonably priced, with good shelf stability and moreish flavour. Food pairings include salty & fishy dishes, BBQ, mature cheese, pickles, tempura and oysters.
Another iconic sake from Konishi Shuzo, giving us a glimpse into sake styles of yesteryear.
Ingredients: water, rice, koji, yeast, brewer’s alcohol