Tokubetsu Junmai Southern Beauty
Nanbu Bijin Tokubetsu Junmai Southern Beauty (15-16% alcohol buy volume) is a Junmai (pure rice style) Sake made from koji, Ginotome rice and water. "Nanbu Bijin", the name of the brewery, means "southern beauty." Tokubetsu means special. Sake breweries sometime use "tokubetsu" when they have a similar sake of a higher grade and do not want to compete with an existing product. This sake uses rice milled to 55% remaining which puts it in between the Junmai Daigingo and Junmai Ginjo grades. It has a big fresh fruit aroma with some floral, clean alcohol, spice and grain. It is brilliant water clear with a light silver gold tint. It has a clear, well formed meniscus, excellent reflectance and a swirl of the glass shows off long, well formed legs. The Sake has big fruit flavors, some pear and melon, spice, grain, light earthiness, clean smooth alcohol and a crisp, dry finish. The complexity is medium and the tail is medium long. The brewer recommends the sake with a wide range of food and says it is excellent at any temperature. I am drinking it cold and have paired it with a pâté du champagne - a herby, rustic coarse ground pâté with a little whole grain mustard and some Deer Creek The Blue Jay Cheese - a juniper berry infused quintuple creme blue cheese. The spiciness of the cheese and sake play very well together and the piny juniper berry flavors evoke some fennel and anise like notes in the sake and create hints of gin. The pâté works well with the sake's fruit notes. The three make a very pleasurable pairing. I rate the sake 88.