There’s a lot of stuff going on here: Kijoshu x Bodaimoto x Omachi x Namazake… …let’s look at what each of those mean.
Kijoshu – this is quite a rare (but increasingly popular) style where sake, in lieu of water, is added for the final addition (sake is generally made by building up the yeast starter, into the full volume of fermentable rice, by three additions over four days, check out our ‘how sake is made‘ page if you wish to know more). This works very much like the alcohol addition in fortified wines: it gives a big whack of alcohol to the yeast, weakening it and thereby allowing more of the sugars to remain unfermented until the end. What results is, therefore, a sweeter style of sake which – if not brewed with finesse – can be a tad cloying but don’t worry, Gozenshu are all finesse.
Bodaimoto – a medieval yeast starter technique that predates Kimoto, resulting in sake which has an extra oomph of lactic acidity. For Mountain Castle this acts as the perfect foil for the residual sweetness described above. For a deep dive in Bodaimoto, check this out.
Omachi – an heirloom rice strain (and a particular favourite of mine) which lends a balanced and mellow vibe to the sake.
Namazake – unpasteurised sake: fresh, zesty and vibrant in style.
With so much going on, couldn’t this be a case of over-egging the pudding? No! Mountain Castle does not disappoint. Sumptuous stewed and cooked fruit aromas such as red apple, plum, melon, jack fruit, gooseberry and blueberry great the drinker. A velvety texture, with sweet apple crumble, custard and stewed/baked fruit flavours; a medium-full body and a long, indulgent finish make this sake luxurious and exciting. Well-balanced acidity offsets the residual sugar, and ample umami combines to make a medium-full-bodied sake that pairs perfectly with mature cheeses, charcuterie, tapas, padron peppers, sweet BBQ sauces, steak and pretty much everything!
Heating a namazake may seem counter-intuitive but with Mountain Castle it pays off, big style. Creaminess is amplified, complexity increased: it comes alive!
Highly recommended. Pair it with everything and tell us how it goes!
NB – namazake must be kept cold; please refrigerate.
Ingredients: water, rice, koji, yeast