Overview of the Sake
Crystal clear, the BLACK junmai practically glows in the glass, before delicate aromas of apricot, white flowers, and white pepper unfold. Across the palate the sake is exhilarating, bouncing from vivacious citrus zest flavors to somber slate minerality notes that remind us of top Rieslings. A lengthy and soft umami finish begs for another sip. We've tasted Imayo BLACK with everything from takeout tacos to roasted chicken, grilled steaks, and lobster tails and its light- to medium-body makes it a chameleon-esque bottling that will wow on your table too.
In fact, we first discovered this sake alongside a range of foods at Sake Bar Yokohama. The bartender poured a splash of this BLACK into our glasses, and we immediately starting conspiring to bring it stateside.
It took several months, but we finally arranged a meeting with Imayo’s CEO Tanaka San at their headquarters in Niigata city, where Tanaka San and his team are fusing ancient techniques with modernity to create sakes that don’t just win awards for their packaging, but for the glistening, fresh junmai juice within the bottles.
The brewery is a classic, Feng shui space in the heart of the city, but that’s where the similarities to other breweries end. Inside, everything at Imayo is done in micro-batches, allowing the team to fine-tune each bottling and experiment with various koji to give each wine its indescribable edge. In this junmai, the team employs gohyakomangoku rice (the top-tier strain unique to the region) and trucks pristine spring water into the city from 30 miles away. Together, this makes for a wine that is as pure as mountain snow, yet has the complexity of a masterful mountain Cabernet.
Imayo Tsukasa Shuzo
Water: N/A ; Yeast: #9 ; No sulfites, no preservatives
(新潟県) Niigata Prefecture, Japan
Subtle hint of umami rich kombu dashi with slight pepperiness ending in warm aroma freshly cooked rice. Dry and bright acidity reminiscent of a Gruner Veltliner or Sancerre followed by rich savoriness with a slight hint of ripe banana in the finish.
Savory finish that cleanses the pallet for the next bite.
About The Category
The Junmai category is historically the “way sake was.” These brews can have their rice milled to many different levels from 80% with 20% removal to 65% with 45% removal as long as the milling percentages are on the label.
Product size: 720ml